Carver’s comeback falls short in closing minutes

Carver’s comeback falls short in closing minutes
January 21
00:00 2016
Photo by Craig T. Greenlee
De’Angelo McMillian of Carver attacks the press by dribbling past Lance Kennedy of Forbush.



Carver’s junior varsity basketball team is learning some hard lessons these days. In recent weeks, the Yellow Jackets have struggled at the start of games.

As a result they’ve had to play catch-up. Unfortunately, they haven’t been able to make complete comebacks, which is a key reason why this team was 5-6 after its first 11 games.

In a 61-56 loss to Forbush last Friday, Carver fell behind early, but regrouped nicely to push the Falcons to their limit. In final minutes, however, the Yellow Jackets had trouble scoring, mostly because of unforced turnovers.

“What really hurt us was the slow start,” said coach Roderick Fluellen of Carver, whose team is 1-2 in the Western Piedmont 2-A Conference. “For some reason, our guys were sluggish. Before we knew it, we were down by double digits.”

The first half belonged to Forbush. The Falcons full-court defense stymied the Yellow Jackets who had problems advancing the ball past mid-court in several instances. Down by 37-24 at intermission, it appeared that Carver was doomed to suffer a blow-out loss on its home floor.

Instead, the Yellow Jackets bounced back and outscored Forbush 22-11 in the third quarter to force a 46-46 tie by the end of that quarter. Carver’s full-court pressure forced multiple turnovers, which led to fast-break baskets. Taiwan Walker, who led Carver with 17 points, did most of his damage in the third quarter with four 3-pointers.

The Yellow Jackets closed the quarter with a quick flurry when Jordan Smith-Jessup scored on back-to-back possessions to tie the game. In the final quarter, however, it was Forbush that made the timely plays to maintain its cushion.

Midway through the fourth quarter, Smith-Jessup was fouled as he scored on a put-back. He converted the free throw to produce a 51-51 tie with 4:47 to go. It was the last time the game would be tied.

In the final minute, Ruffin scored on a short jumper to trim the deficit (57-56) with 45 seconds left to play in the game. The Yellow Jackets had an opportunity to take the lead, but an errant pass which resulted in a turnover, proved costly. Jarrett Hall and Lance Kennedy hit two free throws apiece to settle the issue for the visiting team.

“If I can get these guys to play with the same intensity for a full game, we’ll be all right,” said Fluellen. “I’m very pleased with our overall effort in the second half. They showed the will to win. At the beginning of the game, I really didn’t know if our guys really wanted to compete.”

Walker was the top scorer for Carver with 17 points, followed by Milan Ruffin, who finished with 12. Phillip Legette and Colin Baker chipped in with nine and eight points respectively.

For the Falcons (11-3 overall, 2-1 conference), Kennedy was the leading scorer with 17 points. Hall contributed 15 points to the cause and Tony Douglas added 10 points.

“All season long, it’s been hard to tell which Carver JV team is going to show up,” said Fluellen. “But I still believe we can win our conference. If we can just play the rest of our games like we did the second half (against Forbush), there’s no doubt that we can win (the conference).”


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Craig Greenlee

Craig Greenlee

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