Published: Jan 26, 2013 06:00 PM
Modified: Jan 25, 2013 04:40 PM
Anyone who has seen Vigo Morgenstern’s 2009 film “The Road” has a good idea how many basketball coaches view playing games away from home.
The road is a cold, bleak place that you just try to survive.
Success is just coming back alive.
But Carrboro has blown away that cliché image.
“In the end, it’s just a basketball. Wherever it is, you play within the lines and you have to put points on the board,” Jaguar coach John Alcox said recently.
“It’s great to get a win at home, but we want to approach every game as if there is no difference whether we are at home or on the road,” he said.
Carrboro has defied the old truism that all you usually need to do to a conference championship is win all of your home games and half of your games on the road.
The Jaguars (13-3 overall, 9-0 in Carolina-12 games) simply have won all of their league games so far. Their winning streak has included five conference victories on the road; they played only four games at home. Not too surprisingly, Carrboro has moved back into the News & Observer’s area rankings ( www.newsobserver.com
) at No. 15.
“Our coaches are always talking about how we need to take over gyms,” said senior point guard McLean Phipps. “We have been underestimated pretty much for the entire time of our existence as a school. We just want to make sure that people know that we can play basketball.”
With a three-game lead on Northwood and Durham School of the Arts in the Carolina-12 standings, Carrboro has been averaging 72 points a game and outscoring opponents by 20 points a contest. They average 73 points a game on the road.
Carrboro certainly helped its scoring average with last Wednesday’s 86-47 win at Granville Central. The Jaguars traditionally have gotten tough competition from the Panthers, but this year’s game was mostly a laugher for Carrboro.
“Our coaches really stress that we need to come out and prove right away that we can play,” said Carrboro’s Peter Rathmell. “It’s definitely harder to win on the road, but if you come out with the right mindset and take over the gym, it’s not that bad.”
The Panthers hit some outside shots early and even led 16-12 after a 3-pointer by Nyquan Worthen midway through the first half, but James Scott hit back to back baskets just 26 seconds apart to spark a 12-0 Carrboro run that put the Jaguars ahead for good.
Scott scored seven more points in the first 4:06 of the second half to help Carrboro take a 44-21 lead which grew to as much as 37 points in the fourth quarter before Alcox pulled all of his starters.
Scott ended up with a game-high 16 points. Alex McVeigh came off the bench to hit three three-pointers in the fourth quarter and ended up with 14 points.
“It speaks well for us as a team that we can still go out there – an hour away from home, no fans at all – and still get the job done and win by more than 30,” McVeigh said. “That says a lot about our coaches and our team.”
McVeigh, who hit all five of his shots in the fourth quarter in Stem, proved the truth of former UNC basketball coach Dean Smith’s statement that the best sound a player would ever hear is the dead stillness in an opponent’s gym after hitting a big shot.
“It’s just a good feeling when you get into a rhythm and start heating up a little bit and silence that gym,” McVeigh said. Carrboro’s usual backcourt starters also did well: Trai Sharp added 11 points and Phipps 10 as every Jaguar scored in the rout.Girls basketballGranville Central 71, Carrboro 54STEM
Carrboro’s girls had more trouble handling Granville Central’s aggressive defense then did their male counterparts, giving up some big turnovers that led to easy transition baskets in the Panthers’ 17 point win.
“We played pretty well for a lot of the game except for the one stretch in the first half where they pulled away a little bit,” Carrboro coach Sheremy Clanton said. “No one quit. Everyone kept playing hard, and everyone contributed. That’s what you want to see is a coach.”
Diamond Tyson scored 15 points, and three other Jaguars scored 10 apiece – Camille Gallagher, Haley Davis and Lynette Mason.
Granville Central’s Tamara Crews scored 21 points – 10 in the fourth quarter to help fend off a Jaguar rally – as she led four Panthers in double figures. Briona Blair had 18 points, 14 in the second half. Alexis Bailey scored 15 and Keena Evans 12.