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Gray Collegiate captures boys’ AA state title with 58-45 victory against Carvers Bay (with photo gallery)

COLUMBIA—For three quarters, Gray Collegiate Academy and Carvers Bay went back and forth in the Class AA boys’ championship game.  But in the final period, GCA locked down on the defensive end and outlasted the Bears, 58-45, for its first state title in school history.

Lee Central pushed us in the playoffs, and Keenan as well, but Carvers Bay has a great group that played hard,” said Gray Collegiate head coach Dion Bethea.  “They gave us their all, and our guys responded.  That’s what you’re supposed to do.  The game of basketball is about runs, and we just ended up making the last run at the end.”

“I’m really proud of the kids.  They fought.  A lot of people didn’t even give them a chance to be in this game,” Carvers Bay head coach Jeff Mezzatesta said.  “That’s just a testament to these kids.  Nothing is going to take away from this season.  They made history…We don’t have anything to hang our heads about at all.  That’s a great Gray Collegiate team and we gave them everything they could handle today.”

Tommy Bruner led the War Eagles with 20 points while Juwan Gary scored 13 points and grabbed eight rebounds.  Ty Rivers added 10 and Micheal Marsh pulled down a game-high 15 rebounds for the Upper state champions.

Carvers Bay got 17 points from Dijon Goss, and Stephon Greene recorded a double-double with 12 points and 12 rebounds.

Trailing 41-35 late in the third quarter, the Bears got consecutive layups from Goss and Greene before Tyrek Reed drilled a three-pointer in the final minute to give Carvers Bay its first lead since it was 22-20.  However, Bruner was true on a jumper with two seconds remaining to put GCA back in front, 43-42, heading into the fourth.

Gary scored four straight points to begin the final period, and Goss converted 1-of-2 at the free throw line to close the deficit to 47-43.  The War Eagles followed with an 8-0 run, including six points from the charity stripe, to put the game out of reach.

A steal and dunk by Goss with 1:17 to play was Carvers Bay’s only field goal in the fourth quarter.  The Bears were held to just three points over the final eight minutes.

“The 3-2 (zone) has been good to us all year,” Bethea said.  “The guys locked in.  We had a long, athletic group out there.  Those guys know how to play, so they rotated, got deflections, and did everything possible for us to win the game.”

“We were trying to get over that last hump and we just couldn’t get over it,” said Mezzatesta.  “We couldn’t find the bucket we needed to turn the corner again.  We found that bucket all throughout the game, but we couldn’t get a bounce.  Guys had good looks, but we couldn’t knock one down to boost our confidence back up again.”

Carvers Bay jumped out to a 6-0 lead to open the game, but Gray Collegiate answered with eight straight points.  The Bears held a 17-14 advantage after one quarter, and went up 22-20 on a bank shot by Quevon Dickerson.  However, the War Eagles closed the period on a 9-2 run to take a 29-24 lead into the locker room.



Gray Collegiate    14           15           14           15—58

Carvers Bay         17           7              18           3—45

Gray Collegiate (58): Tommy Bruner 20, Juwan Gary 13, Ty Rivers 10, Marsh 6, J. Robinson 6, Corbitt 3.

Carvers Bay (45): Dijon Goss 17, Stephon Greene 12, T. Reed 9, Dickerson 2, Epps 2, J. Reed 2, Sumpter 1.

© 2017 High School Sports Report

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