The 4A Wildcats and 2A Jaguars went at it from the first minute with chest-bumping defense countering up-tempo offense, all the way to East Chapel Hill’s one-and-one free throw shooting to seal a 54-50 win.CHAPEL HILL
If last week’s season-opener between East Chapel Hill and Carrboro is any indication of how high school basketball will run this year, local fans are in for a wild ride.
The 4A Wildcats and 2A Jaguars went at it from the first minute with chest-bumping defense countering up-tempo offense, all the way to East Chapel Hill’s one-and-one free throw shooting to seal a 54-50 win.
And even then the score fails to reveal how close a game it was.
"That was one heck of a high school basketball game to start the season," East Chapel Hill coach Ray Hartsfield said as his players filed out of the Carrboro High gym.
"I liked the tempo. We kept the score in the 50s, which is where we like it."
Despite the loss, Carrboro fans had to find some solace in the play of its underclassmen — Martin Alcox, Matt MacKinnon, Andrew Montross and Jackson Overbeck — who helped the Jaguars rally from a 35-25 deficit in the third quarter to make it a one-possession game down the stretch.
The blue-blooded pedigree of his players, sons of coaches and University of North Carolina all-Americans, also presented Carrboro coach John Alcox with a problem.
"We still have one cut to go," he said, noting that at least three more lettermen have yet to report for basketball. Guard Alex McVeigh, forward Marlin Johnson and center James Scott were all still paying football last week with Carrboro’s state 2A semifinalist football team.
East Chapel Hill likewise has been adjusting its roster in the preseason. The Wildcats already had one addition with the transfer of Tykeem Woodard from Carrboro to East and Jake Hilkey joined the team late after his stint at starting goalie for the East Chapel Hill soccer team that won the PAC-6 championship and reached the state 4A playoff semifinals.
The flame-fanning potential of Woodard’s transfer to East was belied by the reaction of Carrboro’s staff outside the locker rooms, where they greeted the 6-2 junior warmly and wished him well — even after he had scored 16 points for the Wildcats.
"I just wanted to come here and get a win for my team," Woodard said. "It was really fun, a good game for everybody."
Arkavius Parks had 17 to lead the scoring for East (1-0). MacKinnon and Alcox each had 10 to lead Carrboro (0-1).
Carrboro took an initial lead off a 3-pointer by Alcox, but East Chapel Hill used a smothering defense and seven points from Woodard to trigger a 10-0 run and an 18-6 lead by end of the first period.
Woodard finished the first half with 13 points and popped in a jumped early in the second half to boost East’s lead to 10 points. But didn’t score again until the final 17 seconds, when he converted a one-and-one to help seal the win.
Carrboro’s freshmen-sophomore contingent came off the bench shortly after Woodard’s last made jumper and helped the Jaguars reel off a 15-5 run. Martin Alcox and Overbeck each hit a trey, followed by a MacKinnon runner that cut East’s lead to 40-39.
East picked up its defense in the fourth period. Down just 51-50 after Mclean Phipps hit a running one-hander with 3:56 to play, Carrboro then missed its last seven shots from the field.
East hit three of four free throws in the last 17 seconds to ice it.Girls basketball:Carrboro 49, East 42CARRBORO
Diamond Tyson can remove the drama out of a lot of games, like she did with her game-high 23 points Tuesday against East Chapel Hill.
Nonetheless, East Chapel Hill managed to stay close in what easily could have been a blowout. Sarah Towne, with just three days of basketball practice since playing with East Chapel Hill’s state champion field hockey team, led the Wildcats with 15 points.
Towne, a sophomore, is one of just fur returning players for East, joined by junior Riley Foster, 6-1 sophomore and point guard Adrienne Davis, the team’s lone returning senior.
Tyson, a 5-5 bundle of energy, is the undisputed leader on a Carrboro team with several veterans back from last year’s playoff team. She cracked 1,000 points last year and is expected to add early and often this year to her legacy as the Jaguars’ all-time leading scorer.
Tyson did a lot of her scoring early Tuesday to help Carrboro lead the whole way. The Wildcats didn’t help themselves by missing 11 free throws.
"If we had made our free throws, we would have been up by seven at the half instead of down by four," East coach Michelle Wood noted. "Down the stretch in the second half, we just missed a lot of open shots, and they made theirs."
Three-pointers by ninth-grader point guard Allie Cyr-Scully and sophomore Sarah Towne helped East Chapel Hill cut a double-digit Carrboro lead to 47-40 with 3:22 left to play. Consecutive steals by Cyr-Scully helped get it down to 47-42 with 1:45 to go, but she then fouled out with a fourth personal and an ensuing technical with 1:32 remaining.
Carrboro missed the technical free throws by retained possession and hit 2-of-6 in the last minute to hold on for the win.
"We were a little rusty in the beginning," Carrboro coach Sheremy Dillard-Clanton said. "But I’m proud of them for the way they hung in there when it got tough at the end."
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