Maurice Dixon

@WriturRece |

COLLEGE PARK (GA) – Banneker wasn’t just battling Carrollton for the title of ‘Superior Trojan’ but to keep its 2019 season going.

In the first half, Banneker was on course to accomplish this goal but Carrollton proved itself as the better team during the final 16 minutes of a 65-61 road win over the Banneker Trojans in the opening round of the GHSA Class AAAAA playoffs on February 16.

Jalen Henderson and DreQuan Eason both scored 13 points and fellow senior Jasharie Anderson added nine for Banneker, which held the lead for majority of the first three quarters.

Juniors Marcellious Lockett (nine rebounds) and Melvin Edwards, who were both perfect from the foul line, scored 23 points apiece for Carrollton (18-10).

“Banneker played real tough in the first half,” Carrollton coach Tim Criswell said. “We knew we were going to have to find ways to score better. We got some transition buckets. They didn’t shoot it as good in the second half as they did in the first half which helped us. We still gave up too many rebounds that they got and stuck back in there but it was a good win. Anytime you go on the road in the state tournament it is tough to win.”

After not seeing many lead changes for three quarters, this contest was a back-and-forth battle during the final eight minutes. There were a plethora of impressive finishes in the lane, including Ricky Rodriguez’s (10 points) layup to give Carrollton a 54-53 edge and the Trojans the lead for good with less than three minutes to play.

“Ricky made some buckets for us in transition that we needed bad,” Criswell said.

Both teams continued to exchange baskets until Banneker had to try for a quick steal or foul with 29 seconds remaining. But Banneker didn’t get either since Jamisen Winters threw a long inbounds’ pass to a wide-open Edwards, who finished the play with a breakaway dunk for a 61-57 score.

“I told them they are going to try to pressure us probably deny us so show one way and go the other way,” Criswell said. “Melvin is our best athlete. He was open and got that run-out dunk which was a big bucket for us.”

Lockett sank four free throws to keep the margin the same and seal Carrollton’s matchup in the Sweet 16 against Southwest DeKalb.

Before halftime, Henderson led Banneker with 11 points due to his ability to penetrate and finish at the rim plus knock down step-back 3-pointers.

” They got a lot of quickness and a lot of speed,” said Criswell of Banneker’s guards. “They broke us down a lot on the dribble.”

The third quarter belonged to Lockett, who also used his impressive 1-on-1 moves to score in the lane and help Carrollton reduce its deficit.