The Carrollton High School boys' basketball team has been on fire for the past three weeks and its huge victory over region rival Villa Rica on Tuesday night was a perfect illustration of that.
With a raucous, packed house on hand for the Region 7-AAAAA matchup, the Trojans extended their winning streak to seven straight by outpacing the Wildcats in a 60-36 decision.
Right from the start, Carrollton's starting five played with a high level of energy and caught the visiting Wildcats off guard. With excellent perimeter passing from Trevon Reddish, rebounding from Tim Green and shooting from Carson Culverhouse, the Trojans (13-7, 9-2 Region 7-AAAAA) already had an 18-2 lead midway through the first quarter, instantly putting VR (14-6, 8-5) into hot water.
The effort would extend into the second quarter as Carrollton would continue its full-court, man-to-man pressure to short circuit the Wildcat offense and prevent them from properly getting setup at certain points. Despite the floor general efforts of Javonte Hart, VR would enter the half down 34-14 with the game getting out of reach.
The second half brought more of the same as Jeffrey Johnson, Marcellious Lockett and the rest of the Carrollton starters continued to dominate. They would ultimately send the home fans satisfied with a 24-point victory that was never in doubt.
Trojan head coach Tim Criswell has noticed his team's current winning streak can be attributed to its fast starts. For him, it's a sign of a young team figuring it out and getting better.
"We just get off to a good start and get after folks early," Criswell said. "We were able to make some shots and fortunately for us, they missed some that they make most nights. That first half was really good. I thought we could've shot the ball better in the second half, but the effort was outstanding all night. Villa Rica is a really good team and they'll bounce back. Sometimes it's your night and [Tuesday] was our night."
Tuesday certainly wasn't Villa Rica's night as it now sits in fourth place in the region standings.
Wildcat head coach Jason Robinson liked the energy that his team brought in the road contest, but it just couldn't match Carrollton's play.
"We took one on the chin," Robinson said afterwards. "All the credit to coach Criswell and his squad, they did what they needed to do. They took every option and advantage that we had and turned it into an advantage for themselves. They just outplayed us straight up on both ends of the court. We put in effort and played hard, we just could not match their intensity."
Carrollton looks like a completely different team than it was one month ago as the Trojans remain in first place in the region. The young Trojans aren't done building yet, however, as Criswell knows there's always room for improvement.
"Because we have so many young guys making their first round of varsity experience, we have to continue to get better," Criswell said. "We have areas that we can still make progress and that's going to make us a better team. We've said all along the more games we have under our belt against good competition, the better we're going to get and with this run that we're on, it's held true."
Story by Nick Simon
Reprinted from Times-Georgian