Smith went for 28 points on the night as Carbon Hill built a double-digit lead in the third quarter and made it stand eliminating the Eagles from the playoffs in the process.
“I thought it showed a lot of character for our kids to come over and win,” Carbon Hill coach Robert Epps said. “Any win is a good win at this time of year.”
Next up for the Bulldogs is a game against Handley (24-7) set for 7 p.m. Wednesday in the Central Regional Tournament at Alabama State University. Carbon Hill (22-9) is just two wins away from a return visit to the Final Four in Birmingham. The Bulldogs finished runner-up to Greensboro in the Class 3A title game last year.
Against Calera (11-18), Carbon Hill began to pull away from the Eagles in the second quarter. The Bulldogs led 14-12 after the opening quarter and 30-21 at the half after a Garrett Kirkland basket at the buzzer. Carbon Hill pushed its lead to 48-35 after three quarters.
“I felt like it would be a game where they would try to outscore us. Instead, they came out with the press. They tried to press us, but we were able to handle the pressure and get some easy shots,” Epps said. “A couple of times we would get up by 14 points and the next thing you know, here they come.”
Carbon Hill entered the game fresh off a loss to Dora in the Class 4A, Area 8 Tournament final. Due to the loss, Carbon Hill avoided top-ranked Dallas County in the regional opener. Instead, the Bulldogs face a Handley team
Carbon Hill got 13 points from Kirkland, nine points from both Chandler Gann and Stevie Simerly and eight from Jon Bray.