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BOYS' BASKETBALL: Host Carlson wins second-straight district title (PHOTO)
The Kennedy defense got the better of Carlson’s Kaylyn Erwin on this play, but Erwin and his mates got the better of the Eagles, winning Friday night to wrap up a Class A district championship. The Marauders will next play Huron League champ Milan at Roosevelt High School at 5:30 Monday.
“It’s just as good as it was last year,” Carlson Coach Rob Raymond said. “I’m really happy for our kids. It’s great for our school and we’ve never had back-to-back championships.”
Kennedy took a 14-12 lead into the second after a close opening quarter ended with a buzzer-beating three-pointer from sophomore Andia Marsh.
Carlson’s Larnell Tidwell took matters, and seemingly every rebound, into his own hands in the second quarter. The senior’s strong post play resulted in eight points and six rebounds in the quarter and gave the Marauders a 25-20 lead entering the half.
“When you go into a zone, generally you get out of position a lot and I don’t think we weren’t doing a good enough job of getting to the opposite side to rebound the ball,” Kennedy Coach Rich Lannon said. “The big thing we say is that you have to hit bodies first and rebound second. We tried to jump with them and that burned us on a few key possessions.”
The Eagles remained within four points – 31-27 – four minutes into the second half, but the Marauders drastically slowed the pace of the game with a stalling offense that forced Kennedy to either pressure or sit back in a zone and watch the clock tick.
“It’s not necessarily a stall; we want them to guard us,” Raymond said. “No one is going to be able to guard Daton (Aaron) one-on-one. We only stalled really is because we were up six and we wanted them to come out so that if Daton got by, he could find someone down low.”
The strategy paid off for the hosts as Carlson scored five points on its final two possessions and held the Eagles scoreless for a 36-27 advantage entering the fourth.
“I would have been comfortable going into the fourth down four, but the thing that hurt us is that they made two shots on two possessions and we didn’t score on two possessions, so we went in down nine,” Lannon said.
Carlson held a double-digit lead for much of the fourth quarter thanks to the efforts of its other big man, Kaylyn Erwin, who stepped up with six points and five rebounds in the final eight minutes.
When the final buzzer sounded, a throng of Carlson fans stormed the court to celebrate with the team.
“It means a lot more,” Raymond said of winning in front of a home crowd. “Between last year and this year, it just means a lot more.”
“They did a great job,” Lannon said. “It wasn’t pretty, I don’t think on either side, but Rob does a good job and good for them.
Tidwell (14 points, 11 rebounds) and Erwin (12 points, 12 rebounds) each recorded double-doubles and Aaron was a point shy of a double-double with nine points and 10 assists.
Raymond attributes this season’s post-season run to the amount of work put in between games throughout the season.
“Our kids practice two hours a day, six days a week,” Raymond said. “We’re a six-day-a-week program and the only way we’re going to be successful is to work on it like we do in practice.”
Kareth O’Neil led Kennedy with 12 points while Matt Woloszyk scored 10 and Marsh added nine.
With a young core of players, Lannon was pleased with by his team’s ability to exceed postseason expectations.
“It was definitely a great fight,” Lannon said. “I don’t think anyone expected us to be here and I don’t think our players honestly expected us to be here.
Carlson (17-5) will travel to Roosevelt on Monday to take on Huron League champion Milan (21-1) in the regional semifinals.
Last Updated: 3/8/2013 9:31:50 PM EST