Coach Martin Woods guided Corona Centennial to its best season ever

Corona Centennial girls' basketball coach Martin Woods poses for a photo.
Coach Martin Woods guided Corona Centennial to the best girls’ basketball season in school history.
(Eric Sondheimer / Los Angeles Times)

Martin Woods was devastated, if not speechless. His unbeaten Corona Centennial team had fought, hustled and battled every possession of a memorable Southern Section Open Division girls’ basketball championship game, only to lose to Santa Ana Mater Dei 83-80 on a three-point basket with one second left.

Afterward, the coach tried to blame himself even though it was a game between two magnificent teams in which, from beginning to end, the winner would be decided by whichever team had the ball last.

A week later, Woods celebrated a Southern California regional championship after going to Mater Dei and avenging the defeat with a 66-51 victory, leaving the Huskies at 25-1 and the best season in program history.

For that accomplishment, Woods has been selected The Times’ girls’ basketball coach of the year.

He was able to put together one of the most explosive teams in the state, combining the guard skills of Jayda Curry and Londynn Jones. The Huskies were entertaining with their three-point scoring and full-court game.

Only Mater Dei was able to find a way to beat the Huskies, but in the rematch, Centennial had learned its lesson and never let the Monarchs in position to have a final shot to win.