Falcons stun Mavericks|South Central able to press past Miller

Published 11:33 am Sunday, December 20, 2009

By By BRIAN HAINES, Sports Writer
YEATESVILLE — Somebody forget to tell James Carlton that he wasn’t supposed to be the star of the show.
On the same court as hometown hero and future Maryland Terrapin Mychal Parker and his teammate, and Memphis signee, Hippolyte Tsafack, it was Carlton, the College of Charleston recruit, whose star shined the brightest on Saturday.
The 6-8 Carlton showed no fear banging against the bulkier 6-8 Tsafack and his 6-7 teammate Brice Kofane in the paint and seemed to energize his entire team with every rebound, blocked shot and bucket.
When the dust settled it was Carlton who scored a game-high 20 points to lead South Central to a 62-49 victory over The Miller School in the final showcase game of the Washington Daily News/PotashCorp Aurora Holiday Tournament on Saturday.
The game was a farewell to Parker, a Washington native who played at Emmanuel Christian, Southside and Terra Ceia before transferring to The Miller School (Charlottesville, Va.) last season where he helped the Mavericks win a Div. II state title.
“I’m a little down about how the game ended, but overall I was really excited that I got the chance to play again in front of everybody,” Parker said. “I’m just thankful that I got the opportunity to come back and play.”
Parker netted a team-high 18 points and helped his team hold a 30-22 advantage at halftime. However, the Falcons, led by the trio of Carlton, Donta Harper (15 points) and Anthony Hilliard smothered the Mavericks with a suffocating press to out-score The Miller School 40-19 in the second half.
With a little over five minutes left in the fourth the Mavericks held a 46-44 lead, but South Central was able to create turnovers and score transition points. None where more influential than when Carlton received a pass off of a steal at midcourt and, with no one in sight, threw down a tremendous one-handed windmill dunk that gave his team a 51-46 lead and a ton of momentum.
The South Central win not only showed coach Chris Cherry that his team can step up to the challenge of a big stage, but also improved the Falcons’ record to a perfect 9-0.
“We played with a lot of tenacity at the defensive end, and that is really what this program is about,” Cherry said. “We did a good job with our press. We mixed it up a lot on them. Sometimes we trapped the first pass and sometimes we trapped off the dribble … We just had to do something to keep them off balance.”
Mavericks’ coach Scott Willard said that the tempo of the game took its toll on his players.
“At one point we were tied at 42 all. At some point (South Central) made a run, but we came back and evened it up, but in the end we just didn’t have our legs,” Willard said. “In the end we lost our composure and they had some momentum.”
Though Willard would not use it as an excuse, fatigue was definitely a factor for the Mavericks (5-2) who took exams on Friday during the day, traveled in a bus from Charlottesville to Yeatesville only to arrive 20 minutes before its 9 p.m. tip-off with Stevens Prep.
After the game the team’s bus ran out of gas on the way back to its hotel Greenville, and on Saturday the squad spent the day visiting the Childrens Hospital at Pitt County Memorial Hospital.
Some tired legs looked even slower as The Miller School struggled mightily against the press.
“It was the first time we have seen pressure all year,” Willard said. “We haven’t spent too much time on it in practice, but obviously it is going to be a teaching point.”
The Washington Daily News/PotashCorp Aurora Holiday Tournament will resume Monday at 3 p.m. when Creswell battles Southside.
Showcase game
The Miller School 18 12 9 10 — 49
South Central 16 6 20 20 — 62
Mavericks (49)
Hippolyte Tsafack 14, Mychal Parker 18, Kofane 5, Corbin 7, Terrell 5.
Falcons (62)
James Carlton 20, Taylor 2, Anthony Hilliard 11, Donta Harper 15, Tatum 9, Garrison 6.