Carrboro bumps Red Wolves, faces Northwood for title Friday
Riding a wave of accurate shooting, Carrboro pulled away in the second half to dump Cedar Ridge 69-41 Wednesday and move to the finals in the Carolina 12 Conference Tournament.
The Jaguars will travel to Pittsboro on Friday to play Northwood, which beat South Granville 42-39 in Wednesday’s other semifinal, in the championship game.
The Red Wolves, already on the endangered species list heading into Wednesday’s game, having to win the conference title to qualify for the state tournament, ended their season with the loss.
“We kind of got flat and didn’t hit too many shots,” Cedar Ridge coach Fred Blanks said. “They didn’t miss too many shots the second half. They really got rolling in the second half. I was telling our guys this was just a better basketball team. They just beat us tonight.”
James Scott led all scorers with 19 for the Jaguars, while Jaylin Grady paced the Red Wolves with nine.
“We’re just looking for a deep state tournament run,” said Scott, a 6-5 junior center. “Of course our goal is to win the states, but we’ve got to take this one step at a time. The conference championship is Friday, so we’ve got to win that to get a good seed.”
Scott dominated the first and third quarters, getting fed with precision passes under the basket and overpowering the Cedar Ridge defense.
“Our conference is a little bit shorter this year,” Scott said. “Last year, I had a lot of guys around my size, and this year it’s a lot smaller so it’s a lot easier going to the basket. I just felt really good out there; I felt comfortable.
“They just found me when I was open, and I’ve got to thank my teammates for that. That’s what I like about our team. Like on any night, pretty much anybody can get 15 points.”
Cedar Ridge trailed by 30-24 at the half, tightening the score with a series of drives in the closing minutes. When they came out in the third period and 6-2 junior center Ray Carter pumped in a basket to bring Cedar Ridge within four points to start the third quarter, it looked like a tough game was developing.
But then 5-9 senior guard McLean Phipps began marching his Jaguars down the court, finding Scott open repeatedly and hitting him with laser-like passes under the rim. Phipps hit a 3-pointer from the corner and another basket, and Carrboro took a 49-30 cushion at the end of the third period.
“You’ve got to have your hands ready and our guys will find you,” Carrboro coach John Alcox said. “They’ll put you in a position where you can score a bucket, you just have to be ready.
“We try to spread the floor and take advantage of things we do well. We’ve got guys who can handle the ball in open space and then look for one another. I’ve been on teams where everybody’s trying to get theirs.”
Carrboro 69, Cedar Ridge 41
CEDAR RIDGE — Jaylin Grady 9, Peyton Pappas 7, Kyle Jones 6, Bryan McPherson 6, Dwyne Watkins 4, Ray Carter 2, Chris McKoy 2, Rayquan Villines 2.
CARRBORO — James Scott 19, Marlin Johnson 12, Trai Sharp 10, McLean Phipps 9, Matt McKinnon 5, Ameer Edwards 4, Martin Alcox 2, Gerald Atwater 2, Ezavian Dunn 2, Jack Nanney 2, Peter Rathmell 2.
Cedar Ridge 14 10 6 11—41
Carrboro 23 7 19 20—69
Records— Cedar Ridge 9-17; Carboro 21-3.