POST GAME THOUGHTS
I hate to see one of these teams lose, they both showed incredible heart for the full 32 minutes. For Carrollton, Velicia Bell was absolutely fantastic. She's one of the best leaders I've seen in any classification or gender this season. She lead her team to take the runner-up trophy, and was already consoling her teammates. That's a true leader right there.
Meanwhile, the Lady Cherokees are finally state champions. It's been a long time coming for this senior class. They've come so close in season's past, it's hard not to feel good for them after their victory. Mukia Myrick just wouldn't let her squad lose tonight. She's my player of the game with Bell a close second.
Overall, I felt it was a decent game. Both teams made too many mistakes but KHS didn't make any when it mattered most. The senior leadership of Janae McKinney, Ashlee Barley, Myrick, Keondra Barnes, and Lacee Hollis was definetely on display as they took over the game in the second half. That group would leaves left quite a legacy at Kendrick, now they can add a state title to that legacy as well.
GAME OVER. Final score Kendrick 79-67 Carrollton. Congratulations to Kendrick, the Class AAA Girls Champs.
Bell consoles her teammate Janyce Ealey at mid-court as Kendrick empty their bench. Just 4 seconds to play now with High at the line.
Barley is tearing up at mid-court, she can feel a state title. Carrollton are still fouling, Myrick to the line now with the Lady Cherokees holding a 76-67 lead.
Barley with two more clutch FT's, I hear a fat lady singing somewhere.
Bell air balls a three pointer, that should do it.
Barley hits both FT's
Timeout CHS as they will try to ice Barley, :49 to play
Wiley gets to the line for two shots with a nice drive. Both FT's are good at it's down to 7 with Barley headed the line again for KHS.
Barley misses both. CHS aren't done yet
Bell is back into the game with her best Willis Reed imitation. You've gotta love the heart this girl has. She drives the lane for the layup after to Myrick FT's. Now Barley heads to the line with 1:02 to go, KHS lead by 9.
Carrollton trail by 9 with 1:13 to play and Myrick on the line. This could be a very long 1:13.
Bell is in a lot of pain on the bench, they're stretching out her leg so it could just be a cramp.
The trainers had to carry Bell to the bench, looks like she's done for the night. I'll keep you guys posted if I hear anything about her injury.
I didn't see what happened, but Velicia Bell is in a lot of pain on the floor. Looks like it is an ankle injury but I don't know for sure.
Myrick with another nice drive and layup, Kendrick now lead by 68-56 with 1:46 to play. Looks like the Lady Cherokees are finally headed for a state title win.
Kendrick aren't going to shoot. And Bell has to foul Myrick with 2:18 to play. She makes both and KHS are up 10.
Bell is trying to will her team back. She just hit a three to close within 64-56. Under 3 minutes to go
Kendrick are trying to slow things down here, but McKinney just turned it over with a travel. The Kendrick fans dont like it, but it appeared to be the correct call.
Bell splits a pair of FT's and Carrollton now trail 64-53 with 3:43 remaining
Bell isn't controlling the ball like she was earlier in the game, another sign that she is fatigued.
It's going to take a monumental effort for the Lady Trojans tto get back in this thing. Wiley hopes to start a comeback with a basketb to make it 64-52.
Carrollton bringing the half court trap now on defense. It didn't stop Merrick from driving to the bucket and scoring, 64-50 Kendrick lead. Timeout Carrolton with under 5 minutes to go.
CHS within 9 after a nice post up from Prothro. 5:40 to play
KHS are on the board first with a layup from Barnes, but Bell storms back down the floor and finds the open Trojan for the layup. 58-47 is the score
And the fouth quarter is underway...
Bell looks a little gassed for CHS. She sat for the last minute of the third quarter and is already back on the floor. If fatigue is a factor for her, that is BIG trouble for the Lady Trojans.
Three quarters played now, and it's KHS holding a 56-45 lead. Sterling Hicks' team slowly took control of the game in that quarter. Carrollton need to slow the game down if they want to get back into it, and Bell will probably have to take over.
ANOTHER "and 1" for Myrick as she drives to the hoop and makes the basket before missing the free throws. It's 56-43 now, but Carrollton are at the line now as KHS have 8 team fouls.
The Lady Cherokee fans are really starting to make some noise now. Carrollton are slowly losing control of this game.
McKinney gets the lays it in, then steals the inbounds pass and makes another layup. Just like that, Kendrick lead 54-42 with 40 seconds to play in the quarter.
Myrick with the steal on the ensuing play, her steal sets up two FT's for Simone High and KHS lead by 8.
Myrick with another fantastic play as she drives to the hoop, gets fouled, and hits the reverse layup. She has been unreal tonight. 48-42 KHS lead
Carrollton hit yet another three from the corner as Wiley pulls them with three.
2:20 to go in the quarter and KHS have a 45-39 lead. The next 2 minutes will be crucial, as KHS can stretch the lead to double-digits, or we could see a cose game heading into the fourth.
Bell with a three pointer and its 43-39 with 320 to go.
Tierra Prothro is hobbling for CHS. But it looks like she's going to play through it. These Lady Trojans have shown a lot of guts.
A couple of FT's for Bell make it 42-36. Then Stamps throws it away on the next play, the Lady Trojans just won't go away.
Velicia Bell has been the best player on the court, but Kendrick's bigs are starting to take control in the paint. Carrollton need to be careful or they will be looking at an uphill battle in the final quarter.
Janae McKinney with the bucket and the foul. Kendrick are really starting to dominate inside.
Looks like the timeout worked for the time being. Wiley just scored on a put-back to make it 40-34.
BIG TROUBLE for Carrollton. Kendrick just nailed a three and they lead 40-32. Shon Thomaston wants to talk it over as the Lady Trojans call time out.
Bell draws the 2nd team foul on Kendrick, fouls could be a problem again for the Lady Cherokees. That was third foul on Bonita Harris.
Much like the first half, the second half opens up very sloppy. Velicia Bell has already had an impact as she just stole the ball on her own end and drew the foul on the other. Both FT's are pure and it's 33-32 KHS leading early on in the 3rd.
Third quarter is underway from the Macon Centreplex with Carrollton inbounding at mid-court.
HALFTIME- Kendrick 33-30 Carrollton.
Carrollton really missed some opportunities from the charity stripe late in the quarter. Bell got KHS into trouble with team fouls with some fantastic moves to beat the full court press, and the Lady Cherokees looked a little shocked that she was beating their D so easily. If Carrolton made their free throws they are leading right now. Neither team looked very poised, a lot of wide open shots missed and turnovers.
Overall, it was a wide open half with both teams running up and down the floor. Even I'm a little out of breath right now, usually that only happens after I've ran at least 50 yards.
Props to the soundtrack people here at the Centreplex for coming through with "Ms. Jackson" by Outkast. If you've been keeping up with our coverage all day, I'm sure you've read Alex's comments on some of the music that's been played. I was starting to think I was in 7th grade for a moment there.
I'll be back with more updates in the second half.
It's halftime with Kendrick holding a 33-30 lead after closing the half on a 6-0 run.
CHS are really struggling from the line, Boykin just missed two more.
Great pump fake by Myrick to get her defender up in the air, then she drives to the cup for the easy basket. But once again, KHS foul on the press sending Boykin to the line again.
McKinney gives Kendrick the 31-30 lead. But once again the press is coming back to haunt the Lady Cherokees as they foul Boykin in the backcourt and CHS are in the double-bonus.
Kymberli STamps misss a layup for Kendrick. They have missed wayyy too many easy shots early. Carrolton leading 30-29 with 1 minute to go.
If you aren't keeping count back home, Carrollton are now in the bonus. IT seems to be be compromising the Lady Cherokees' press, they just fouled Wiley in the backcourt but she missed the 1-and-1.
Ealey just got fouled HARD (but clean), she showed some real guts by sinking both FT's to give Carrollton the 30-27 lead.
Barnes just had a wide open lay up for Kendrick, but travelled before the shot.
Wiley is back in, and immediately nails a 3 to make to bring the Lady Trojans within 27-26
So much for that press not working. It's forced a few turnovers in this quarter and just forced Bell to waste a timeout. Kendrick have the lead 27-23 after a nice jumper from Myrick.
There's a vicious collison between to CHS players and we've got a Lady Trojan in pain. It's Brittany Wiley, but she appears to be okay as she walks to the bench.
So much for KHS having momentum, Janyce Ealey with a nice lay-in and the foul for CHS. She makes the FT and its tied at 23.
Three pointer form the corner for Myrick and Kendrick lead by three. Carrolton throw it away thanks to the full court press soon after. Looks like the Lady Cherokees are getting the momentum back.
Just over a minute played in the quarter and we're tied at 20.
McKinney scraps for an offensive board and makes it 20-18. But once again Bell draws another foul on Kendrick as they bring the press. That's 6 team fouls already on Kendrick.
Second quarter is underway and it's Kendrick ball.
In between quarters here, and in my opinion Kendrick are lucky to be down just 4. Bell has been plowing through their press and finding the open girl for three's and layups. If I'm KHS coach Sterling Hicks I might consider scrapping the full court press.
Kendrick close out the quarter with a lay up from Barley. Carrollton lead 20-16 after one.
Bonita Garris came off the bench and couldn't stop Bell, she's out of the game with two fouls.
Under a minute to go in the first now. No change in the score.
Once again Carrollton break the press and hit a three. Then Bell gets a steal but turns it over on the break. CHS are dominating the pace of this game and lead 20-12.
Velicia Bell breaks the press and finds Prothro for the easy bucket. 17-12 Carrollton leads.
Merrick with a great hustle play as she dives for a loose ball in her own end and gets the timeout. Bell is back in for Carrollton.
Velicia Bell has not had much trouble breaking this Kendrick press. But she just came out of the game here to get a rest. It will be interesting to see how Carrolton handle the pressure D without her.
This game is fast and furious, a lot of turnovers from both sides. It's 12-8 after a trey from Kendrick with 3:05 to go.
BEAUTIFUL spin move on the breakaway from Velicia Bell for the layup. She has easily been the best player on the floor thus far. 9-5, CHS.
Nice pull-up J from Janae McKinney and the Lady Cherokees are on the board.
Three team fouls on Kendrick already with 6 minutes to go. That could be a prolem for them later in the half. Score is still 4-0.
Kendrick look a little nervous here early. They've missed a couple of easy shots. Timeout with 6:23 to go in the first and a 4-0 lead for the Lady Trojans.
It's a little sloppy here early. With four turnovers in under a minute of play. CHS has the 2-0 lead on a layup from Tierra Prothro.
Carrolton wins the etip and we're underway..
Both student sections are getting it done. This building has been electric all day.
Starting lineups have been announced. It's Bell, Riley, Ealey, Boykin and Prothro for Carrolton.
For Kendrick: Stamps, Matthews, Myrick, Barley, and Barnes
More great basketball to come here this evening with the girls and boys Class AAA Finals. I'm Josh Bagriansky, your man on the scene for the remainder of the evening. We open it up with Kendrick and Carrollton in what figures to be an interesting matchup. The Lady Cherokees are looking to get the "monkey off of their back" as they have been deep in the state tourney in year's past, but never winning the title. Don't count out the Lady Trojans, as they were defeated by East Hall (last year's state champs) in the quarters last season. Tip off is just over 10 minutes away now, I'll do my best to keep you all up to date.
In an effort to suck every ounce of energy possible out of the building, the Centreplex is continuing with their assortment of awful 90's music. Wesleyan took their championship photos with Britney Spears blaring in the background, which was followed by everyone's favorite Backstreet Boys song, "Show Me the Meaning of Being Lonely." I learned one thing from all of this, Wesleyan's Tanner Smith knows most of the words to "Oops I Did it Again" as he sang it with great enthusiasm as he celebrated the Wolves' state title win. I guess we can let it slide after his unreal performance.
One more thing, if you have any questions about what's going on here feel free to drop me a line at JoshB914@gmail.com. I'll answer some of the questions right here, or just email you back.
The Trojans fans have been the most vocal thus far. I've already heard a couple of "Lets go Trojans" chants. Seems they may be the louder of the two cheering sections, as Kendrick's fans have been less noisy.
Two minutes to tip now, are you ready for some basketball?