Greensboro boys back in Class 3A semifinals
Sat. February 23, 2013 at 12:00 a.m. | By Andrew Carroll
Greensboro's Jimmie Taylor dunks against Leeds in the AHSAA Regional Basketball Tournament at Alabama State University in Montgomery. (Photo by Mickey Welsh | Montgomery Advertiser)
MONTGOMERY | The Greensboro Raiders built a double-digit lead in the fourth quarter Saturday, held off a Leeds rally and earned a return trip to Birmingham, where they will seek their third straight AHSAA Class 3A championship.
Led by 6-foot-9 senior center Jimmie Taylor, Greensboro defeated Leeds 54-44 to win the Central Regional championship. Taylor was named the most valuable player, and teammates Donald King and Kavoris Owens were named to the All-Tournament team.
"It feels great," Taylor said. "The first championship we won, 10th grade, it was the first in school history in basketball. Then to go out with a three-peat like this, it would be like a legacy leaving Greensboro."
The Raiders (28-2) will play Madison Academy (22-12) in the semifinal round at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday in the Birmingham Jefferson Convention Complex. Madison Academy beat Mars Hill Bible in the Northwest Regional.
Taylor, a University of Alabama signee, had 13 points, 12 rebounds and five blocked shots. Greensboro’s defense limited the Green Wave to 27.5 percent shooting (14 of 51).
Senior guard Kiemondre Turner led Greensboro with 15 points. King had 14 points, five assists, three rebounds and two steals. Owens had nine points and nine rebounds.
"I think the real key was our size and really being able to get the ball down inside because we were horrible from the free-throw line again and we were horrible from shooting the ball from outside the paint," said Greensboro coach Marty Everett.
Greensboro shot 44.4 percent (16 of 36) from the field but was just 2 of 7 on 3-point attempts and 20 of 40 on foul shots. Greensboro was 11 of 21 on free throws in the fourth quarter.
Turner’s layup gave Greensboro a 39-33 lead, and the Raiders ran off seven straight points in the fourth quarter. Taylor made two free throws, and Turner drove for a layup. After Owens scored with an offensive rebound, King made a foul shot for a 46-33 lead with 4:54 left. Leeds went almost four minutes without scoring before Michael Chatman made two free throws.
The Green Wave cut it to 48-44 on two free throws by DeAndric Thomas with 1:07 left, but Greensboro made 6 of 10 free throws in the final minute.
"We wanted nothing but free throws and layups, and we told them to really just buckle down on the defensive end," Everett said. "We built that little lead, but there were never a comfort zone because we knew they had several players that can really shoot the ball."
Thomas, a 5-8 guard, scored 13 points and grabbed 10 rebounds for Leeds (21-10). Thomas made the All-Tournament team.
Isaac Vacheresse and Chatman scored eight points each with Chatman getting five rebounds. Anthony McMillan had seven points, four assists, three rebounds and three steals.
Other members of the All-Tournament team were Devonta Jenkins from Holt and Antoine Davis from Midfield.
Reach Andrew Carroll at email@example.com or at 205-722-0223.