Day Two: The Finals match-ups are set

Day Two: The Finals match-ups are set
January 04
05:00 2018

Day Two of the Lash/Chronicle Tournament was one where the contenders separated themselves from the pretenders.  The championship and consolation games were all decided on Friday afternoon and there were some surprises along with some compelling action on the court.

The opening game between Carver and Atkins was a battle of teams who were defeated on Day One of the tournament.  Carver was soundly beaten by West Forsyth while Atkins was overwhelmed by Mount Tabor.

Both squads were seeking to rebound on Day Two, but as the host school, Carver seemed to play with more to lose.  From the jump ball Carver’s full court press appeared to give the Camels fits.  Atkins, on the other hand, used their 2-3 zone to slow the Yellowjackets fast-paced offense.

Scoring was hard to come by in the first half for both teams as Carver held a slim 25-18 lead at the half.  Carver came out of the locker room with much more intensity.  They immediately turned it up another notch on both ends of the floor, which turned into an 18-point lead after three quarters.

The Camels continued to fight hard throughout the fourth but Carver stood strong and held on to a 61-43 victory.

“The biggest difference tonight was our defense,” said Carver head coach Johnathan Stowe.  “We were able to stop Atkins in what they like to do, for the most part.  The first half was a little shaky but in the second half we were able to turn up our defensive pressure and get some easy buckets off of the turnovers we created.”

Coming into the game, Atkins head coach Desmon Baldwin says he wanted to use a zone defense because Carver was an adequate jump shooting team.  He feels his team fared well in the first half but the size of the Yellowjackets allowed them second chance opportunities in the second half, which was the difference in the game.

“The size advantage may help but it doesn’t always mean rebounds but hard work does,” Baldwin said.  “You can be a team of all guards and still get rebounds if you work hard.  I think on the boards is where we lost the game.”

Parkland was riding into their game against Number One seed Walkertown on a high following their opening day win against Winston-Salem Prep.  This game turned out to be one of, if not the best game of the entire tournament.

Both squads came out of the gates playing at a frenetic pace.  The offensive efficiency was on full display the entire first quarter.  The second was no different as the teams continued to execute very well leading to a tight game at the half of 27-26 with Walkertown leading.

The second half was a mirror image of the first as it was still a close game.  It wasn’t until the fourth quarter where Parkland out executed Walkertown down the stretch to squeak out a 71-62 victory.

“We played hard, but we had a lot of turnovers and we didn’t rebound the ball well,” said Walkertown head coach Rodney White.  “Parkland played great and we played terrible, it’s just one of those games but my guys fought hard.”

“Even though we lost we showed we had some fight in us and people in the area now know we have some kids at Walkertown that can play basketball.”

Cory Baker, Parkland head coach, says he knew this was going to be a game that came down to the last minute and was glad his team came out on top.

“I saw two teams that didn’t want to lose,” he said.  “It was a back and forth game all day. I don’t think anyone had a lead larger than five until the last minutes.  It was a battle of who could finish the strongest.”

Closing out Friday’s games was Mt. Tabor versus West Forsyth.  Initially this game looked to be a complete blowout due to West leading 22-3 after the first quarter.  The Spartans got on track in the second but still trailed 35-22 at the half.

West Forsyth maintained their lead throughout the third quarter while the Spartans continued to chip away at their lead.  In the fourth the Titan lead ballooned back up to 20, which finally woke the Spartans up.  They went on a run and closed the gap to six at 64-58 with less than two minutes left in the game.  Down two as time expired, Mt. Tabor missed a potential game-tying shot and lost 69-71.

“We stopped played defense, offense and we stopped rebounding and we stopped sharing the ball,” said West Forsyth head coach Brian Lytton.  “We played the way we wanted to in the first quarter and then we lost our momentum, which led to playing individual basketball.”

Saturday’s championship game featured the West Forsyth Titans versus the Parkland Mustangs.  The consolation games preceded the final.

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Timothy Ramsey

Timothy Ramsey

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