The Trojans (13-8, 5-6 Region 5-AAAA) took their first lead of the night with exactly 1:00 left in the game when Malik Sheppard made a backdoor cut and received a spot-on pass from Javarious Jackson to score a bucket with an opportunity for an old-fashioned three-point play. After Sheppard missed the free throw, Carrollton was still up 52-51 heading into the final minute, where there were some calls that both benches didn’t necessarily care for during the last 60 seconds.
The first was a hand-check from 25 feet out that went against the Trojans, putting Ramon Turner at the line for the Raiders (15-6, 9-2) with 39.7 seconds remaining. Shaw’s sharp-shooter delivered a pair of clutch free throws to put his squad back on top at 53-52.
On the ensuing in-bounds, the Trojans got the ball up the court and called a timeout deep in their own corner. Coming out of the break, Carrollton got the ball in the post to sophomore forward Montae Glenn, who got two shots off in heavy traffic. The Trojan bench was adamant that Glenn got fouled — if not once, perhaps twice — but both shots rimmed out.
Off the last miss, Shaw’s Deionte Corprew corralled the rebound and was quickly whistled for an offensive foul, turning it back over to the Trojans with 4.8 ticks remaining, much to the chagrin of the Raider bench.
Carrollton’s last-second play saw guard Marcus Henderson’s off-balanced 3-point attempt from the far right corner miss as time expired.
And through a frantic finish, Trojan coach Tim Criswell said what stands out more than anything following the heartbreaker was how hard his team fought on Friday.
“There’s always some tough calls. I felt like we had two hand-checks called late in the game and then we had some plays under the bucket that could have very easily been called that didn’t get called. But, you know, that’s part of it. You can always go back and look at the calls that can make a difference in a game. But there’s a few things that we’ve got to clean up. Just some unforced errors that we’re still making that we’ve got to get better on,” Criswell said.
“But my kids, they’re giving me everything they’ve got. We had to change our whole strategy, our whole game plan when Riley [Criswell] got hurt. They’ve just given me their heart. I hurt for them not being able to pull that one out [Friday].”
The Trojans had to weather the early storm from Turner, who scored 18 of his game-high 22 points in the first half on five 3-pointers and three free throws. All four of Turner’s points in the second half came from the charity stripe. Criswell said the Raiders’ senior guard proved to be the scouting report buster on Friday.
“It’s funny. I’ve watched film on them and he didn’t shoot the ball that well in the two films that I saw. We really didn’t have an alert on him that he could hurt us. But he made everything in the first half. If he doesn’t make a whole bunch of shots in the first half, the game’s totally different, too,” Criswell said.
Carrollton was led by the inside attack of senior forward Byron McCall and Glenn, with McCall scoring a team-high 14 points, while Glenn posted 11 points with eight boards. Jackson added 10 points and six rebounds out of the backcourt.
Carrollton girls 46, Shaw 17: The Lady Trojans (16-6, 7-4) didn’t have their sharpest showing of the season, but it was more than enough to dispose of a struggling Lady Raider squad that fell to 0-20 overall and 0-11 in region play.
Carrollton coach Shon Thomaston got a bit frustrated that his team didn’t convert several of its scoring opportunities under the bucket — especially early in the game — but he also understood how tough it can be to play in games like these against an undermanned opposition.
“Being a former player, I’ve been on the floor in games like that. So I can’t really fault those kids for that, being that we played them already one time. Honestly, we didn’t play well that time, either,” Thomaston said. “They just don’t have the talent and athletes to compete with the teams in the upper part of our region.”
Carrollton got out to a 20-0 lead before the Lady Raiders got on the board courtesy of a Taylee Hammond 3-pointer at the 4:09 mark of the second quarter, as the Lady Trojans led 32-7 at the half. From there, Carrollton built a 40-11 lead going into the final quarter and got the reserves some court action down the stretch.
Brooklyn Emory was the only Carrollton player to reach double-figures offensively with 10 points and nine rebounds, with Tatyana Jackson scoring nine points with five rebounds and three steals and Kenyata Hendrix adding eight points and four steals. Tasmine Boykin posted six points, six rebounds and three steals and Malariah Ranson added six points and four steals. Freshman Emily Waters grabbed five boards with four blocked shots. Hammond led all scorers with 11 points for Shaw.
Carrollton JV boys 71, Shaw 59: T.J. Cochran scored 11 of his team-high 19 points in the fourth quarter to lead the Trojans (14-3), while Willie Byrd posted 15 points and Dante Bonner added 13.