Even when the Carbondale Terriers boys basketball team doesn't play up to snuff for Hall of Fame coach Jim Miller, it plays pretty well. So even though the boys were beaten by Graves County, Ky., 60-56 last Saturday in the title game of the Superman Classic in Metropolis, the Terriers came within a completed in-bound pass of winning.
A pretty good Graves County team (15-5) led for all but the first few minutes in last Saturday's win over our Terriers, but in the last few frantic seconds, Carbondale came within two points of winning it all.
Sophomore Clayton Greer's three-pointer with 13 seconds remaining edged the Terriers close, but mistakes after that prevented Carbondale from closing the deal. First, CCHS' Davaris Macklin could not get the ball in bounds, so Graves County got the ball.
But then Graves got a traveling call to turn it back over to the Terriers, but with six seconds left in the game, the Terriers, amazingly, again could not in-bound the rock and got another five-second call.
Those two Carbondale mistakes led to the Terriers having to foul, and Graves sank two more free-throws to ice the game with no time left. Needless to say, Carbondale coach Jim Miller was not a happy camper.
"Mistakes hurt us at key times in this game," Miller said. "And there is no excuse for not getting the ball in bounds."
Also, the difference in score basically came because Carbondale fouls sent Graves to the line seven more times than the Terriers, and they made six more. But it wasn't just bad defense that did the Terriers in. Carbondale only hit 37 percent of its field goals to Graves' 50 percent. And Graves hit two more three-pointers. Nevertheless, the Terriers only trailed by seven points at the beginning of the fourth quarter because CCHS star Darius Beane had a fabulous 19-point second half, ultimately garnering a game-high 30.
"Even against our zone, Graves was penetrating to the basket," Miller said.
The Terriers played much better last Friday when they eliminated Paducah Tilghman 59-41 in the semifinals.
Carbondale put on a defensive clinic against one of the top teams in Kentucky. Tilghman was averaging more than 70 points per game and was 15-3. But the Terriers held them to 29 points under that average by coming out with verve from the tip-off.
"All our guys were cut in on defense," Miller said of the win against Tilghman. "We followed the game plan, and they had to work for everything they got."
Paducah had to work because Miller kept changing his defensive looks from man-to-man to various manifestations of zone, and when the Terriers got the ball, they converted.
"We switched defenses all game," Miller said. "And when we got the ball back with an offensive rebound or turnover, we got downcourt and made them pay."
Beane again led scoring with 19 points. But Zee Johnson, Macklin and Clayton Greer had 10 points each.
Now it's showdown time this Friday. The Centralia Orphans lead the South Seven Conference one game ahead of second-place Carbondale. A home win Friday for Carbondale will tie the Terriers with Centralia for the conference lead.