Written by Kyle Valdez
The Carver Rams are 14-0 & currently ranked No. 1 in 4A along with a No. 12 nationall ranking according to Max Preps. Their last three games have all been on the road versus St. Augustine, Slidell, & Ellender who is ranked No.5 in 4A.
Carver's formula for success this season has been the highly-touted junior duo of Dorian Finister and Solomon Washington. However, Deion Ware caused the most problems for Ellender with 24 points. The sophomore wing torched the Patriots with five 3-pointers and 16 points in the first half. Finister played his part: chipping in 11 points and playing excellent defense in the half-court. Fredrick Price added 8 points.
Despite an abundance of early giveaways from Ellender, their energy was unmatched. Thomas let his presence be felt from the opening jump: scoring 7 points in the first frame to help Ellender take an early 15-14 lead.
In the second quarter, Carver found their rhythm and took off for a 9-0 run to take a 23-15 lead with 6:02 left in the half. Ware led the Rams in the frame with 10 points and 2 shots from beyond the arc. Both teams kept pace to enter intermission with a 36-31 Carver edge.
Ellender trimmed the lead to 1 multiple times in the third quarter but was denied from ever taking the lead. Carver took control with a 15-3 run to begin the final quarter to take the victory.
Both teams had the opportunity to win. Ellender's turnovers were hard to overcome, considering the talent in the open floor for Carver. However, the real problem was the substandard free-throw shooting by both teams. Both teams successfully attacked the paint, but neither team could hit free throws. Carver shot 27% from the charity stripe, going 11-41. Ellender slightly outdid the Rams, going 12-31 (39%). But the Rams would hold on to win 68-62.
Dionjahe Thomas totaled 26 points, 13 boards, and four blocks to lead the Patriots. Preston Bourda added 10 points.
Despite the gritty game, Carver continues to prove themselves as Louisiana's composite No. 1. Playing in games similar to this game will prepare both teams for those chippy playoff games down the road. The ability to grind it out and have others contribute shows how well-built Coach Nate Roche's squad is this season.
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