Trailing Dora by an 11-point deficit going into the fourth period, Carbon Hill mounted a 33-point rally to earn a thrilling 62-54 victory to secure a spot in the county tournament title game on Friday night in Carbon Hill.
Next up for Carbon Hill is a matchup with top-seed Parrish for the Walker County Tournament title scheduled for 7 p.m. today.
Gerald Smith had an outstanding performance for Carbon Hill, recording a double-double with 17 points, 21 rebounds and five blocked shots to lead the team. The matchup between the two Class 4A, Area 8 rivals proved to be an intense battle that would also be marred by four Dora second-half technical fouls.
Dora held a 40-29 lead going into the fourth quarter, but the lead didn’t last.
Carbon Hill cut the gap to 43-37 with 6:15 left after a Daniel Woodard basket. The score sparked a 17-4 run.
Following a Dora technical foul that resulted in a pair of free throws, Carbon Hill finally drew even at the five-minute mark when Gerald Smith went in strong for a layup that notched the score at 43-43. From there, Carbon Hill took control. Ryan Simerly knocked down a 3-pointer and John Bray knocked down a pair of free throws. Dora didn’t get closer than four points the rest of the game.
Carbon Hill (16-7) led by as many 10 points at 61-51 after a pair of Gerald Smith free throws in the closing minute.
“I’m very proud of our kids’ ability to keep their composure — I think that was the biggest key in the game,” Carbon Hill coach Robert Epps said. “Dora had momentum going their way and lost their focus a bit, which led to a few plays that ended up costing them the game. They’re a well-coached team — I think it was just one of those incidents that occur in the heat of battle. Dora’s a great opponent and it was a great win for us and our team.”
Dora held a one-point lead in the first period, 9-8, before extending their edge to 27-21 going into the half after outscoring Carbon Hill 18-13 in the second period.
Dora stayed on top in the third period, outscoring Carbon Hill 13-8 for the 40-29 lead.
The fourth period, however, would belong to the host team.
Carbon Hill forced 18 turnovers in the final period and held Dora to 14 points to clinch the 62-54 come-from-behind win and advance to the championship game.
For Carbon Hill, John Bray contributed with 12 points, while Daniel Woodard had 11 points and Stevie Simerly scored 10 points.
Keliel James scored 15 points to lead Dora (14-7), with Devonta Gosha recording an 11-point night. Deionte Smith had 10 points.
Dora takes on Oakman at 2 p.m. today in the third-place game.
Parrish 68, Oakman 27
The top-seed Parrish Tornadoes (21-1) locked up a spot in the Walker County Tournament championship game on Friday, defeating the Oakman Wildcats 68-27 at Carbon Hill.
Jermichael Harris had a great night on offense for the Tornadoes, scoring 28 points to lead the team. Desmond Brown recorded his second-consecutive double-double with 13 points and 12 rebounds. Barry Hill contributed to the Parrish defense with five blocks.
“Our guys did a great job of taking quick control of the game and really putting pressure on Oakman. Each one of our players played a key role in forcing turnovers and getting the ball to open guys for good shots,” Parrish coach Heath Burns said. “Our kids have played hard to earn a spot in the championship game and we expect to have a great game against Carbon Hill — we know they’ll come into the game ready to give us everything they have.”
Parrish opened the game on a 14-0 run before ultimately settling on a 17-4 lead in the first period. The Tornadoes offense continued to put up good numbers, scoring 20 points while the defense held the Wildcats to just 8 second period points to take a 37-12 edge into halftime.
Parrish outscored Oakman 19-10 in the third period to remain on top 56-22, before holding a 12-5 scoring edge in the fourth period for the 68-27 victory.
Parrish takes on the Carbon Hill Bulldogs at 7 p.m. tonight for the Walker County Tournament title. Oakman will face Dora in the third-place game at 2 p.m.
Parrish has split two regular-season games with Carbon Hill. The Tornadoes won at Carbon Hill early in the season. The Bulldogs got even with a win at Parrish earlier this month.