The Carrollton High School boys’ basketball team dropped its third and final game in the Carrollton Christmas Tournament to Gainesville, 63-55, on Criswell Court on Saturday.
“We played a really good team. They played for the state championship last year in 7A, and they still got some of the kids that played in that,” Carrollton head coach Tim Criswell said. “The only thing that was difficult tonight was that we just didn’t shoot the ball real well, especially in the first half. We gave up a few too many offensive rebounds that they got and stuck it back in there. They guard you good, and they shoot the ball real well.”
The Red Elephants jumped out to an early lead in the contest, using a 12-2 run midway through the opening quarter to pull ahead to 18-10 at the end of the first quarter.
Gainesville kept Carrollton at an arm’s distance throughout most of the second quarter before Trojan senior Jeff Hodges — who finished with 10 points in the loss — knocked down a layup inside the final 90 seconds before hitting a fadeaway 3-pointer in the left corner at the buzzer to trim his club’s deficit to 30-27 at the break.
The Red Elephants remained relentless in the third quarter, opening the third with a trey to spark a run that saw them pull ahead 37-30 with six minutes to go.
But Carrollton immediately shifted momentum by closing the period with a 9-0 lead to hold a two-point advantage going into the fourth quarter following a jumper from junior Marcellious Lockett with two seconds to go.
Gainesville managed to pull back ahead in the final quarter, however, and won the battle on the glass as rebounding directly led to the eight-point victory.
“I told my kids, ‘Look, all that does is make you better.’ Winning and losing right now in the year is not that important,” Criswell said. “What matters is winning and losing in February. We’ve got good teams in this tournament and we lost two games to two really good teams. I’m proud of my kids’ effort, and they’ll keep fighting, we’ll keep grinding and try to get ready for the end of the season.”
The Trojans will continue tournament play on Thursday, Dec. 27, when they take on Mays High School in the Campbell Holiday Tournament at 11:30 a.m. ET.