Valley Preps

Carver girls notch wire-to-wire blowout in first round of playoffs

David Mitchell

Alexis Burns drives to the basket during Carver's 59-30 win over Morrow on Tuesday at home in the first round of the Class 5A playoffs.
Alexis Burns drives to the basket during Carver's 59-30 win over Morrow on Tuesday at home in the first round of the Class 5A playoffs.

Over the course of just 10 seconds of action in Carver’s first-round playoff game at home against Morrow, the Lady Tigers put on a clinic.

Mariah Igus knocked down a three-pointer with 4:10 remaining in the third quarter, her second from beyond the arc in less than two minutes. Five seconds later, Alexis Burns picked an opponent’s pocket and laid the ball off the glass. Five seconds after that, Igus took the ball away, put the ball through the net and connected on a free throw after a foul on the play.

If you blinked, you missed the 8-0 run that put Carver ahead by 29 points. And if there was any doubt left in the game, it was gone.

The Lady Tigers cruised to a 59-30 victory to advance to the second round of the Class 5A playoffs, where they will meet Winder-Barrow on Friday at home. Winder-Barrow was the 4-seed out of Region 8-5A, but finished the season with a 23-6 record and defeated 1-seed Villa Rica by 21 points in the first round.

Carver coach Anson Hundley couldn’t remember the potential second-round opponents, though. He hadn’t yet offered it any thought.

“We’re just taking it one game a time,” he said. “We’ve still got a lot of work today. We’re just trying to live in the moment right now.”

And there were plenty of good moments on Tuesday night.

Carver jumped out to an 8-0 lead in the game and led 19-4 after one. Two of those four points came via free throw, and many of Carver’s 19 points came on fast breaks following a turnover. That lead was 31-8 by halftime, at which point Morrow had only converted two field goals.

Burns scored 16 of her game-high 18 points in the first two quarters eight in a span of just over a minute in the second quarter.

Igus, a sophomore, made her presence felt, scoring 15 points in the game, including nine points in the span of two minutes in the third quarter.

“We’ve had a lot of young girls stepping up,” Hundley said. “It makes it a lot easier on the seniors, and we’ve been able to tell a difference.”

The 29-point victory could have been even more, but Carver was outscored 14-6 in the final quarter once the game had already been decided.

Now, Carver will turn its attention to Friday night, when it will host Winder-Barrow in the second round of the state playoffs. It is the Lady Tigers first trip to the second round of the state playoffs in at least a decade, having lost in the first round in 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2015 during that span.

This year, Carver is 24-4, but will face a team that is not a typical 4-seed in the second round. Winder-Barrow won 23 games in the regular season, but played in a region with one of the state’s best teams, Flowery Branch.

Regardless of what Winder-Barrow has on the court, though, Hundley knows what has gotten his team here and what he’ll continue to do going forward.

“We’re a small team,” he said. “We’re going to try to continue to pressure people, try to continue to great turnovers. That’s our bread and butter. That’s what got us here.”

Tuesday at Carver

Morrow 4 4 8 14—30

Carver 19 12 22 6—59

Morrow (30)

Green 9, Irving 8, Kenny 6, Hopkins 4, Scott 2, Beecham 1.

Carver (59)

Alexis Burns 18, Mariah Igus 15, Smith 7, Love-Hill 7, Archie 4, Givens 2, Reese 2, Holloway 2, Shaw 2.

Records: Morrow 16-12, Carver, 24-4; Next: Morrow, season over; Carver, Friday vs. Winder-Barrow at home.