A week ago, C.A. Johnson went 0-3 at the elite Chick-fil-A Classic basketball tournament. Monday night at the Taco Bell Holiday Tournament, the Green Hornets advanced to the championship game with a 47-40 semifinal win over archrival Keenan.
CAJ led from start to finish, but was never very comfortable against the ice-cold Raiders. Keenan, in fact, pulled within 42-40 with 44 seconds remaining on a 3-point field goal by Ryan Norris. The Hornets, however, didn’t allow another point the rest of the way. A free throw by Terell Magazine with 37 seconds to go upped the Johnson lead to 43-40, and a press-busting lay-up by Dayton Whitmore off a feed from Antonio Brown with 21 seconds to go made the outcome academic.
Whitmore’s 3-pointer 14 seconds into the game gave C.A. Johnson a lead it would never relinquish. The Green Hornets were nursing a 33-32 lead entering the fourth quarter after Keenan put together its best end-to-end stretch in the third quarter when it out-scored CAJ 16-9.
But, in the final analysis, too many missed shots and turnovers doomed the Raiders, who fell to 6-5.
Whitmore and Davon Dash shared scoring honors for the Hornets with 13 points apiece. Magazine added 10 in support. Dash was critical to Johnson’s success in the fourth quarter – scoring seven points (5-for-6 at the free-throw line) with four rebounds and two steals. Five of the points came in the final 1:19 of the game.
The Green Hornets (6-5) made things more difficult by converting only eight of its 17 free throws in the four quarter.
Marvin Poole led the frosty Raiders with 12 points. Keenan did just about everything right in the third quarter, including going turnover free and hitting 50% of its shots from the field. That changed in the final frame when the Raiders turned the ball over six times and went 3-for-14 from the floor.
C.A. Johnson takes on Washington County (Ga.) in the championship game tonight at 8:30 p.m. The host Raiders take on city rival Dreher in the third-place final at 5:30 p.m.