While Friday’s battle with Newnan was nowhere near its sharpest performance, the Carrollton High School girls’ basketball team still managed to claim a spot in the Carrollton Christmas Tournament championship game with a 41-33 victory.
Lady Trojan head coach Shon Thomaston expressed his displeasure with his team delivering a second straight effort deemed below their standards, even on the winning side of the scoreboard.
“It was a carryover. All of the things that had me frustrated in winning by 30 points (Thursday) carried over into (Friday) and still had me frustrated in an eight-point win,” Thomaston said. “We’ve got some things we have to clean up.”
Carrollton (9-2) started the second-round tournament matchup firing from downtown with De'Mauri Flournoy and Rachel Herrera burying a pair of quick 3s to boost it to an early advantage. The senior Herrera would nail one at the buzzer to give her team a 15-6 lead to end the first.
The shots from beyond the arc continued to rain down at the start of the second with treys from Flournoy and Kehinde Obasuyi extending their lead out even further. The Lady Trojans ended up taking a comfortable 25-14 lead into halftime.
Things started coming out of sorts for the Lady Trojans in the second half.
The normally efficient CHS offense went completely cold in the third quarter, allowing for Newnan (5-8) to pull to within five to end the period.
Struggling to score inside the paint and from the perimeter, Carrollton found itself holding onto a 32-29 lead after Lady Cougar forward Ashira Brown drained a 3-pointer to bring the visitors to within a score.
Briefly sidelined in the third with an ankle injury, the sophomore Flournoy immediately made an impact upon her return by hitting Herrera in the corner for a much-needed bomb from downtown and later completing an ‘And 1’ play at the line to put the Lady Trojans back up by eight.
Carrollton clung onto the lead to secure the win and a trip to the title round.
Thomaston detailed what caused things to look out of whack for his team on Friday.
“This was one of the nights where we struggled to shoot the ball and we haven’t really done that at any point in time this season. We struggled to make perimeter shots, which is typically the thing that gets us going,” Thomaston said. “Once the perimeter shots stopped falling, we kind of struggled to find a rhythm. From there, it kind of started to snowball. Nothing good was happening for us and we were letting it affect us mentally. I guess it does say something about your team when you can play as bad as I felt like we played and still win.”
He also outlined a particular area that they’ve been lacking in as of late.
“Rebounding is probably the biggest thing that concerns me right now. We’re not doing the things we need to do to rebound the ball. We gave Newnan too many second chances. They were the team getting on the floor for loose balls while we were standing around watching,” Thomaston said. “Those are things we’ve been harping on and I guess older coaches will tell you that’s to be expected of a young team trying to find their way. We’re just hitting a lull right now and we have to figure out a way to get out of it.”
The Lady Trojans will have a chance to hoist their own tournament trophy on Saturday upon hosting Pebblebrook in the championship game at 6 p.m. The Lady Falcons took down Harrison on Friday to advance.
“We still have an opportunity to suit up and play for a championship, but we’ll have to play much better than this because Pebblebrook is a really good team,” said Thomaston.
Carrollton Boys 50, Heard County 31: The Trojans (7-4) bounced back from Thursday’s loss to Therrell with a solid 19-point victory over the Braves (0-7) on Friday.
Heard County will wrap up its run in the Carrollton Christmas Tournament at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday. Carrollton will take the floor at 4:30 p.m.