The Carrollton High School girls’ basketball team locked up the No. 2 seed for the upcoming Region 7-AAAAA tournament with a 49-33 win over visiting Kell High School on Criswell Court on Friday night.
Despite the final margin of victory being 16 points, the Lady Trojans (17-6, 12-2) allowed the Lady Longhorns (10-13, 6-8) to stick around for the majority of the first three quarters. Carrollton held a one-point lead midway through the third quarter before outscoring its opponent 23-8 over the final 10 minutes of game play.
“[Kell] makes you play an ugly game, and I’m just glad we were able to pull it out,” Carrollton head coach Shon Thomaston said. “Even though the scoreboard was 16 points, the game really never felt like that to me. We hit a couple of clutch threes at the end to extend it out a little bit, but it was closer than what the scoreboard says.”
Among the Lady Trojans to knock down a 3-pointer late in the contest was freshman Kehinde Obasuyi, who was one of two Carrollton girls to finish in double figures with 12 points. She was joined in double-digit scoring by sophomore De’Mauri Flournoy, who finished the night with 21 points.
With only two regular season games remaining and tie-breaking wins over the region’s current No. 3 team, Rome, and No. 4 team, Cass, Carrollton has essentially secured its spot to go into February’s region tournament as the No. 2 seed behind No. 1 Villa Rica.
“I guess I need to be happy with a region win and just about solidifying our second-place standing in the region for the region tournament,” Thomaston said. “Hopefully we’ll come back next week and play the way we need to play going into the region tournament, because we want to be playing a lot better than what we displayed [Friday.]”
Neither club managed to establish much of an offensive rhythm early on in the game on Friday.
The opening quarter featured five lead changes, the last of which came on a Kell layup that gave the Lady Longhorns an 11-10 lead with 2:10 left to play. Both teams went quiet from the field over the final two minutes of the first quarter, and the Lady Trojans took the one-point deficit into the second.
“We were just kind of lethargic,” Thomaston said of the Lady Trojans’ start to the game. “It felt kind of like we were running in mud.”
The Lady Trojans appeared to come to life in the second, opening the quarter with a 9-0 run that began and ended with buckets from Flournoy. But Carrollton’s eight-point advantage quickly dwindled down as Kell continued to battle back into the game and trimmed its deficit to 21-20 going into the locker room at the break.
Kell scored the first points coming out of halftime and retook its lead at 22-21 with 6:25 left in the third quarter, but a Flournoy 3-pointer and layup followed by senior Dyimond Watkins’ put the Trojans up 30-25 with 1:30 left in the third.
The Lady Trojans would take the five-point advantage into the fourth quarter and continue to build on it thanks to three 3-pointers and a plethora of stops on the defensive end.
“Luckily we found a way to put the ball in the hole a little bit better in the second half — in particular, the fourth quarter — and get out of here with what I guess you can call a comfortable win,” Thomaston said.
Carrollton will be back in action on Tuesday, Jan. 29, when it hosts Woodland before closing out the regular season at home against East Paulding on Friday, Feb. 1. Both games are scheduled to begin at 6 p.m.
Carrollton Boys 80, Kell Boys 70: In a meeting between the top two teams in Region 7-AAAAA, the No. 2 Trojans (14-8, 11-3) handed the top-ranked Longhorns (18-5, 13-1) their first region loss of the season on Friday night.
“Our kids played hard. We made some mistakes early, didn’t shoot the ball as well as I was hoping we would in the first half, but that always happens in games. You’ve got to find ways to win,” Carrollton head coach Tim Criswell said. “They just kept scraping, we changed our defense a little bit, and then we made some threes in the second half and we just held on.
“For Kell to be a team that was 13-0 in this region, and for us to be able to win the game tonight, it was a good win.”
Carrollton was led offensively by junior Melvin Edwards, who finished the night with a game-high 22 points. Edwards was one of five Trojans in double figures, as he was joined by junior Marcellious Lockett, who had 16, seniors Isaiah Lancaster and Jeffrey Hodges, who each had 13, and senior Ricky Rodriguez, who finished with 10.
“We tried to get Marcellious shots — he’s our leading scorer — but they were just going to double him when had the ball,” Criswell said. “ So, we talked about it half time and tried to change a few things to get the ball out of his hands because somebody was going to open. For the most part, we did a pretty good job of that. I’m just proud of the effort they gave.”
The Trojans will hit the floor once again on Tuesday when they welcome Woodland to Criswell Court at 7:30 p.m.