The Carver Tigers won their first region championship since 2008 Friday night, beating Henry County, 61-60, in the Region 2-AAA Tournament championship game at Carver High.
"It feels good to win a region championship, period," said Carver coach Warren Beaulah. "It's been a while since we won one. I'm especially happy for our seniors."
Carver (15-10) will host the fourth-place team from Region 3 in the first round of the Class AAA state tournament Wednesday at 6:30 p.m.
Henry County led 10-5 midway through the first quarter before Carver's bench ignited a 10-0 run that gave the Tigers a 15-10 advantage after the opening eight minutes. Torrence McGee scored four points during the burst and Jawon Pass added a bucket as well for the Tigers.
Carver led for most of the second quarter as well, until the Warhawks scored the final seven points of the first half to take a 26-24 lead into halftime. The big blow came on the final play of the half, as Sheldon Williams drained a 3-pointer from about 30 feet out to send the Warhawks into the locker room with all of the momentum. Williams had 11 first-half points and Dray Souder added 10 for Henry County, while Kimiun Woods led a balanced Carver scoring attack with seven points of his own.
The second half was a back-and-forth affair, with neither team leading by more than six points. Carver took the lead for good at 58-57 on a free throw by Khane Pass with 1:39 to go, but the Tigers had to sweat out a pair of missed free throws
by the Warhawks with 24 seconds remaining that would've given Henry County the lead. Pass made two more free throws with 21 seconds left to put Carver up 60-57 and the Tigers forced a turnover to seal the victory.
"My hat's off to Henry County," said Beaulah. "I knew they were a good team even though we beat them twice. It's a cliche about how hard it is to beat a team three times in a season, but it's true. I told my guys at halftime it was going to be a long, tough game and it was. We just came out and stayed with it and made free throws when we needed to."
Marqui Hawkins led Carver with 14 points and Woods finished with 12. Souder had a game-high 24 for the Warhawks and Williams pitched in 16 in the loss.
Peach County girls 56, Carver 41
Carver (11-14) stayed with Peach County for three quarters, but the Lady Trojans used a big final eight minutes to take home third place.
Carver led 9-6 after the first period. but Peach County outscored the Lady Tigers 17-8 in the second period to take a 23-17 lead into halftime. Carver rebounded in the third period and pulled to within 35-33 going into the fourth period and seemingly set up a close final eight minutes. However, the Lady Trojans held Carver to eight points while scoring 21 of their own to pull away and cruise to the win.
Nausia Woolfolk led Peach County with 17 points, followed by Jordan Davis (15) and Alexis Green (12). Alexis Burns was the high scorer for Carver with 13 points and Dymon Brown added 10.
Carver will be the No. 4 seed from Region 2-AAA and be on the road for the opening round of the state tournament next week, traveling to the Region 3-AAA champion for the first round, which will be played Tuesday.
Friday at Carver High
Region 2-AAA Girls Tournament Consolation Game
Peach County 6 17 12 21--56
Carver 9 8 16 8--41
Peach County (56)
Jordan Davis 15, Nausia Woolfolk 17, Alexis Green 12, Tucker 3, Everett 9.
Walton 5, Weeks 3, Norris 6, Dymon Brown 10, Alexis Burns 13, Tanner 4.
Records: Carver 11-14. Next: Carver at Region 3-AAA Champion (Class AAA State Tournament First Round), Tuesday
Region 2-AAA Boys Tournament Final
Henry County 10 16 13 21--60
Carver 15 9 18 19--61
Henry County (60)
Brown 2, Jones 4, T. Johnson 9, D. Johnson 5, Dray Souder 24, Sheldon Williams 16.
Colon 9, K. Pass 8, McGee 5, Marqui Hawkins 14, Kimiun Woods 12, J. Pass 7, Brown 3, Reese 3.
Records: Carver 15-10; Next: Carver vs. Region 3-AAA Fourth Place Finisher (Class AAA State Tournament First Round), Wednesday 6:30 p.m.