Raiders charge into title game
Wed. February 29, 2012 at 5:20 p.m. | By Andrew Carroll
Donald King (4) scored 17 points in Greensboro's 60-56 semifinal win over Madison Academy on Wednesday. (Photo by Michelle Lepianka Carter)
BIRMINGHAM | Jimmie Taylor and Takendrick Britford, the tallest and smallest players on the court, made the biggest plays Wednesday to put defending champion Greensboro back in the AHSAA Class 3A final.
Taylor, a 6-foot-9 junior, blocked a shot to protect a two-point lead. The Raiders gained possession, and Britford got fouled with 21.4 seconds left. The 5-6 senior guard made two free throws to seal a 60-56 victory over Madison Academy (21-12).
Greensboro plays Carbon Hill in the championship game at 7:30 p.m. Friday.
"Right now we’re just lucky to make it out of here alive," said Greensboro coach Craig Williams, who was an assistant last season when the Raiders won the title. "They have some pretty good players. They hurt us the whole game. We were fortunate enough to pull ourselves together and come through."
Britford went 7 for 9 from the foul line and led the Raiders with 18 points. He missed a one-and-one foul shot with 35.8 seconds left.
"I missed the first one, so I had to make these two and let the team win," he said.
Point guard Donald King had 17 points, seven rebounds, two assists and two steals. Willie Parker had nine points and five rebounds. Kavoris Owens had six points and nine rebounds. Karron Tabb had six points.
Taylor was limited to four points, four rebounds, two assists and the one block. He had to leave the game momentarily in the fourth quarter when he caught an elbow that left him with a bloody lip.
"I got a little bit frustrated," said Taylor, who threw in a half-hook, half-jumper from the left baseline to boost the lead to 58-54. "I still thought we would win because I’ve got faith in my team."
Only two players scored in double figures for Madison Academy. Joshua Langford, a 6-4 eighth-grader, had 24 points and nine rebounds. Langford banked in a basket to cut Greensboro’s lead to 58-56 with 48 seconds left. Kerryon Johnson, a 6-foot freshman, had 22 points and 11 rebounds.
"(Langford) wanted the ball in his hands," Williams said. "He attacked the goal or he took the shot. He was relentless.
"What we noticed was that (Langford) started getting tired and (Johnson) started carrying them. We started doubling (Johnson) in hopes that someone else would have to knock down the shot. We ended up leaving a couple of their guys open and were just fortunate that none of those shots went down."
Reach Andrew Carroll at email@example.com or at 205-722-0223.