Carver boys basketball coach Warren Beaulah looked at his point guard in the locker room at halftime, and noticed something missing: points.
Kimiun Woods responded by shooting darts instantly to start the second half, and properly rewarded the rest of his offense from there in Carver's 69-54 romp over Peach County Thursday night in a Georgia Region 2-AAA semifinal.
"I said, Kimiun, I don't think you scored in the first half," Beaulah said, accurately. "Our game plan was to try to get him more (involved) offensively for us, scoring. We know he can distribute -- sometimes he kind of forgets he can score too."
The victory assured the Tigers of hosting a first-round state tournament game, and allowed Carver to face Henry County in tonight's regional championship. Beaulah loved the way his players responded to the challenge of protecting not only home court, but its No. 1 regional seed.
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"That would be my best Valentine's gift," Beaulah said. "That victory, tomorrow. We worked so hard to get that No. 1 seed, but if you lose, you're going to travel. Hopefully, we'll stay at home for two or three more games."
Four Tigers reached double figures, led by Woods' 15 points -- all in the second half. With Carver nursing a 24-22 edge at intermission, Woods drained a three-pointer on the opening possession, and added another trey and a jumper as part of a 13-3 run to open
up the lead and keep the Trojans at arm's length.
Brothers Jawon Pass (13 points) and Khane Pass (10), along with Torrance McGee's 11 points, highlighted a balanced scoring effort.
"I like it out there, when everybody's getting into the game and getting involved," Woods said.
The Tigers crushed their guests in transition, creating turnovers with a feisty press and converting on their fast-break opportunities.
"We know if we can get in transition, we've got to get up and down," Woods said, "because that's going to help our offense."
Taking advantage of attacking the rim, Carver was 18-for-27 from the free-throw line.
Sw MACON 41, CARVER 38
The undersized Tigers remained gritty until the final buzzer, but will have to settle for a lower seed when they begin the Georgia state tournament next week.
The Patriots survived a comeback bid in Thursday's Region 2AAA semifinal, advancing to the championship game and clinching a home state tournament date by barely closing out the host Tigers.
Southwest utilized its decided height advantage to the tune of eight putback baskets, but Carver's defense clamped down in the second half.
"We just tried to put a little more pressure on the ball at the top, causing some problems with turnovers," Carver coach Anson Hundley said. "Our biggest problem is we just don't score well. We put it up, but we can't get it to go in a lot of times."
Taquanna Walton had 12 points and Kendra Weeks had 8 for the Tigers, including consecutive 3-pointers as part of a quick 9-0 third-quarter run to cut an 18-point deficit in half.
Top scorer Dymon Brown, battling through a left hand injury, chipped in 11 points.
After Carver trailed 10-7 at the end of the first quarter, Southwest outscored the Tigers 12-2 in the second period. Carver clawed back slowly, though it was never a 1-possession game until Walton's 3 at the final buzzer.
SOUTHWEST MACON 41, CARVER 38
Carver 7 2 11 18-38
Southwest 10 12 11 8-41
Double digits: Taquanna Walton 12, Dymon Brown 11.
Next: Carver (11-13) vs. Peach County, Region 2AAA third-place game, Friday
CARVER 69, PEACH COUNTY 54
Peach 9 13 12 20-54
Carver 13 11 20 25-69
Double digits: Kimiun Woods 15, Jawon Pass 13, Torrance McGee 11, Khane Pass 10
Next: Carver (14-10) vs. Henry County, Region 2AAA championship, Friday