Raiders cruise past Carbon Hill for second straight 3A title
Sat. March 03, 2012 at 1:59 p.m. | By Andrew Carroll
Greensboro's Donald King dribbles past Carbon Hill's Blaine Eads during the AHSAA Class 3A state championship game. (Photo by T.G. Paschal)
BIRMINGHAM | TaKendrick Britford and Craig Williams received promotions after last season, and the result was another championship for the Greensboro Raiders.
Britford, a senior who became a starting guard, scored 19 points Saturday and was the most valuable player as the Raiders defeated Carbon Hill 65-50 in the Class 3A final.
Britford, listed a 5-foot-6, scored Greensboro’s last four points, all on free throws.
"My teammates pushed me every day to go hard," said Britford, who made two 3-pointers and went 9 for 12 from the foul line. "They told me I would be a shooter, so that’s how I got my starting position.
"It means a lot to me and my teammates. I did this for them. They’re very happy."
Williams was an assistant coach last season when the Raiders won their first championship with a victory over Clarke County. He took over as head coach after the departure of Earlando Courtney.
"We’re just happy to be here right now," Williams said. "Glad it’s over with. Carbon Hill started pressing us right there at the end, started making some free throws. We were missing all of ours. The boys pulled together, and we got it done."
Greensboro did it with an 18-0 surge that produced a 20-7 lead by the end of the first quarter. Kavoris Owens hit a jumper early in the second quarter, giving the Raiders 20 unanswered points. Carbon Hill went 7:43 without scoring before Tylor Owens made a shot with 6:45 left in the second quarter.
"We knew we couldn’t let up, but that made it a lot easier for us to go out and play our game," Britford said. "We come out and press, get some steals, knock down some shots and make a run. That’s how Greensboro plays."
The run didn’t guarantee a victory, and Williams said he was upset with what he called "sloppy" decision-making. But the Raiders maintained a double-digit lead the rest of the way.
"I liked that we played hard," Williams said. "We kept the intensity up, and that was a big key.
"Donald King is the captain on the floor. When stuff’s not going right, that’s who I go to."
King, a junior point guard, started it with a basket that cut Carbon Hill’s lead to 7-4. Britford tied it with a 3-pointer, and Jimmie Taylor gave the Raiders the lead on a free throw.
Five different players scored during the run.
"Really, we started sharing the ball more and everything," said Taylor, a 6-9 junior who was the MVP in last year’s tournament. "Our point guard, he started driving and dishing and that got everybody into the game. Takendrick started knocking down 3s, and everyone started feeding off the energy."
Britford’s 3-pointer boosted the lead to 17-7, and the Raiders closed the quarter with a free throw and a layup by senior guard Karron Tabb.
Kavoris Owens, a junior forward, had 12 points and 10 rebounds and made the All-Tournament team along with Taylor.
"I don’t feel like I’m unsung because we’ve got a team, shooters or whatever," Owens said. "I just do the dirty work. That’s my role on the team. I’m cool with it. They do all the scoring. We can’t be beat if we play as a team."
Taylor had 10 points, 11 rebounds and four blocks before fouling out with 3:38 left. Tabb had eight points. King, who was a shooting guard last year, had eight points, six rebounds and three assists.
"It was worth it," King said. "I was willing to sacrifice my scoring to get other people involved to get back to the Final Four.
"I was picking my spots on the floor and getting the ball to my open shooters, and they were finishing at the basket."
Carbon Hill’s Tylor Owens and Gerald Smith made the All-Tournament team. Tylor Owens had 20 points, five rebounds four assists and two steals. Smith had 12 points and seven rebounds. Jacob Davis had 11 points.
Greensboro (28-6) 65, Carbon Hill (27-8) 50
All-Tournament: MVP TaKendrick Britford, Greensboro; Jimmie Taylor, Greensboro; Kavoris Owens, Greensboro; Gerald Smith, Carbon Hill; Tylor Owens, Carbon Hill; Kerryon Johnson, Madison Academy; Joshua Thomas, Montgomery Academy
Reach Andrew Carroll at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 205-722-0223.