Class 4A girls final: Carver-Columbus 70, Cairo 54

Carver-Columbus coach Anson Hundley (left) applauds his team's effort after the Tigers defeated Cairo 70-54 in the Class 4A championship game Wednesday, March 10, 2021, at the Macon Coliseum.
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Carver-Columbus coach Anson Hundley (left) applauds his team's effort after the Tigers defeated Cairo 70-54 in the Class 4A championship game Wednesday, March 10, 2021, at the Macon Coliseum.

Credit: Chip Saye

Credit: Chip Saye

The Carver-Columbus girls basketball team didn’t have the opportunity to play a full schedule this season because of a couple of long pauses related to COVID-19, but it played enough to finish where it wanted to be.

The sixth-ranked Tigers (15-2), whose 17 games were the fewest of any of this year’s state finalists, rolled to their second championship in three seasons with a 70-54 victory over No. 10 Cairo in the Class 4A final Wednesday at the Macon Coliseum.

The Tigers went almost a month without playing at one point, returned for two games in four days, then had another three weeks off. When they finally got things going again, they beat Columbus 88-13 on Feb. 9 and were off and running.

“The girls just made sure that they stayed in shape, as we had to sit out at different times, and they continued to work,” Carver coach Anson Hundley said. “And when we came in, it was business as usual. They didn’t take any time off once we got back. And we knew what our end goal was, and that was to win the state championship. And today they came out and did it.”

Carver took control of the game midway through the first half with a 21-4 run that gave the Tigers a 39-27 lead with less than three minutes remaining in the half.

The final seven points of the run came on three layups and a free throw by Kionna Gaines. The Clemson signee finished with a game-high 24 points, including at least five in every quarter, along with nine rebounds and four steals.

“Hey, she’s an ACC player, and she played like one today,” Hundley said. “She really stepped up big for us, and we got a state championship this year. It was a team effort, but she definitely led the way.”

The Tigers then scored the first nine points of the third quarter to build their biggest lead at 50-32 on a layup by Makiyah Webb with 5:50 remaining in the third quarter. Cairo answered with an 11-0 run to cut the deficit to seven points, but that was as close as the Syrupmakers would get.

Cairo (18-2) was able to beat Carver down the floor early, taking advantage of eight points off turnovers and 10 second-chance points to build its biggest lead at 23-18 on a layup by Jy’nijah Cooper with 26 seconds remaining in the first quarter. Carver’s D’Miya Beacham answered with two free throws six seconds later, starting the Tigers’ decisive scoring run.

Beacham finished with 16 points for Carver, and Enyshuan Jones added 10.

Ambria Vicks had 19 points and 14 rebounds to lead Cairo, and Leah Perry had 12 points and 11 rebounds.

*

Carver - 20-21-16-13 - 70

Cairo - 23-9-13-9 - 54

Carver (70)

Kionna Gaines 24, D’Miya Beacham 16, Enyshuan Jones 10, Akirya Robinson 7, Makiyah Webb 7, Caylee Simpson 4, Celeste Scott 2, Ashlyn Mesidor, Takiya Ligon, Aubree Wilkins, Jasmine Chaney.

Cairo (54)

Ambria Vicks 19, Leah Perry 12, Chambria Vicks 9, Jy’nijah Cooper 6, Christy James 4, Chassitti Butler 2, Ta’Kyah Bradshaw 2, Anija Reid.