While Saturday's regular-season finale versus Rome went south quickly for the Carrollton High School boys' basketball team, nothing changed as far as the squad's standing in this week's upcoming Region 7-AAAAA Tournament.
Just 10 days after notching a four-point victory at Rome, the Trojans struggled offensively in what ended up being a decisive 66-46 triumph for the visiting Wolves.
Only trailing 15-8 after the first quarter, things started to snowball on Carrollton (15-10, 8-8 Region 7-AAAAA) in the second as Rome (9-13, 6-10) began the period on a 7-0 run to build a double-digit lead. Sophomore guard Caleb Byrd found his touch from beyond the arc, while senior center and multi-sport star Adam Anderson physically imposed his will inside. The Trojans would trail 36-15 at halftime.
The second half brought more of the same as the likes of Xavier Roberts and Kamen Brown helped extend the Rome lead to as much as 22 to end the third. Even trailing by a significant amount, Carrollton continued to hustle up and down the court with Jeffrey Hodges crashing the glass, Ricky Rodriguez diving after loose balls and Marcellious Lockett battling for every point scored. He would finish the game with 29 points and our rebounds.
Afterwards, Carrollton interim head coach Paul Fitz-Simons described what went wrong for his guys early while commending them for their fight even when facing a large deficit.
"We let our lack of offense in the first half dictate our energy. We missed some shots that we normally hit and let it get away from us. However, I'm proud of our guys regrouping in the second half because they played a lot harder and a lot better," Fitz-Simons said.
"We were missing some weapons with three guys out with the flu and one out with a concussion. Even with only one senior out on the court, our guys still played really hard and I'm proud of them for that.
Saturday's result didn't alter anything for the now fifth-seeded Trojans heading into the region tournament as they will still prepare for a first-round matchup versus fourth-seeded Cass on Tuesday at 5 p.m. at Villa Rica. CHS will be keeping a short memory in regard to Saturday's loss versus Rome as its state playoff hopes rest on a showdown versus a team it split the season series with this winter.
"I told our guys that we're not even going to think about (Saturday's) game for one more second," Fitz-Simons said. "Everybody is 0-0 right now, from the one seed through the nine seed. All that matters is the next one. We're going to try to win Tuesday and see what happens."
Carrollton boys 92, East Paulding 74: The Trojans put up 50 points in the first half and cruised to the 18-point win on Friday night over the Raiders.