Published: Nov 27, 2011 02:00 AM
Modified: Nov 27, 2011 10:44 AM
CHAPEL HILL - One week into its 2011-12 basketball season, Carrboro High School's senior class already can check one goal off their "to-do" list.
The Jaguars produced what may be the defining moment for the school's still-developing 2-A program with a 54-51, come-from-behind win last Tuesday at 4-A East Chapel Hill.
"Just to get the season started like this ... this is an amazing night," Carrboro center James Scott said as he made his way through a sea of celebrating Jaguar fans at mid-court in Wildcat Gym. "I can't describe the feeling."
Scott scored a team-high 16 points to lead Carrboro (1-0) to its first win ever over East Chapel Hill in men's basketball. Jake Mendys added 10 points, while Tykeem Woodard had 9 and McLean Phipps 8 in a balanced effort by the Jaguars.
Carrboro head coach John Alcox said he was especially pleased for the CHS seniors like Mendys and Jacob Junker. Their freshman year, Carrboro's JVs managed just one win; coming off a 15-12 finish by the varsity last year, they've already matched that solo win this season with their victory over their 4-A rivals.
"To go from where they were to what we're doing now is great," Alcox said. "Every program that is starting out is looking for that marquee win. Tonight was that marquee win for us."
The Jaguars' situation looked doubtful after two periods Tuesday in Wildcat Gym. East's Justen Best hit two 3-pointers and 10 points in the game's first 6 minutes, helping the 'Cats grab an early 18-11 lead. Michael Newton then scored 12 in the half's last nine minutes, including 10 straight Wildcat points that helped East hold a 30-24 lead at halftime.
"I'm pleased with the poise and resiliency they showed as team when they were down," Alcox said.
Reversing a string of eight turnovers they committed late in the first half, the Jaguars stepped up their defense in the third quarter and scored six points on three straight Wildcat miscues. That opened the way for a 10-0 run that Carrboro used to take the lead for good.
Tabius Sales capped the run with a put-back of a Scott miss, putting Carrboro up 40-35 with 9:55 left in the game.
East (0-1) went 11:05 without a field goal midway through the second half and tried to survive on a diet of 8-for-15 free-throw shooting. But the 'Cats never got any closer than 44-43 on Louis Levin's shot from the paint with 4:22 to go.
Baskets by Smith and Newton helped East stay within a possession.
Woodard kept Carrboro in front by scoring or assisting on the Jaguars' last four baskets. After back-to-back floaters from the lane, Woodard fed a wide-open Mendys for a backdoor layup and a 54-49 lead with 30 seconds left in the game.
Newton hit a trey for East with 17.7 seconds left to make it 54-51, but, with a final possession after a missed Carrboro one-and-one, the 'Cats came up empty on a 3-point try at the horn.
East coach Ray Hartsfield said he couldn't be too disappointed by what he called "a great ball game to start the season.
"Whenever you can mirror the intensity of conference play, when you play a local team and get a crowd into it and your kids into it, that's what you want," Hartsfield said.