Sixth-ranked Carbon Hill earned its spot at the Class 3A, State Basketball Tournament after claiming the Northwest Regional Tournament championship Saturday, beating 4th-ranked Lauderdale County 48-38 at Wallace State-Hanceville’s Tom Drake Colesium.
The Bulldogs are the first county team other then Dora, which has been four times, to reach the Final Four.
Carbon Hill win its seventh straight game and improved to 30-1 this year.
Lauderdale County had won five of its last six before closing its season at 27-6.
Carbon Hill jumped out to a 10-6 lead after the first quarter, a 20-12 lead at the half and a 36-29 advantage after the third quarter.
Despite leading for much of the game, Carbon Hill head coach Robert Epps wasn’t going to allow his team let up.
“We played Lauderdale County in the sub-region last year. We were up by 15 at one point and got beat by nine,” recalled Epps. “I told our guys, no matter what the score is, Lauderdale County isn’t going to quit. I knew this team had a lot of resiliency.”
Carbon Hill also had plenty of resiliency, including Kolton Nichols, who played the entire tournament with a fractured shooting hand.
Against Lauderdale County, Connor Young led the way, scoring 18 points on 3-of-5 shooting from the field and 4-of-4 from the three-point line, while also grabbing six rebounds.
Tylor Owens added 14 points and five assists, Nichols managed six points and Gerald Smith had seven rebounds and three blocks.
For Lauderdale County, both Trey Nance and Rory White scored 10 points each.
Owens was named as the Tournament’s MVP while Young was named to the All-Regional team.
Next up for Carbon Hill is a 7:30 p.m. meeting with No. 2 Greensboro (26-6) set for Wednesday at the BJCC. Greensboro won the Central Regional Tournament title 77-75 over Sumter County in overtime. In the other semifinal, Piedmont (27-8) takes on Clarke County (24-3).
Wednesday’s winners advance to the state championship game set for 11 a.m. Saturday.
NOTES: Carbon Hill scored 11 points off turnovers compared to Lauderdale County’s 4. Carbon Hill shot 42 percent from the field (10-of-24) and 54 percent from three’s (7-of-13), while Lauderdale County shot 50 percent from the field (12-of-24) and 22 percent from three’s (4-of-18). Both teams finished with 25 rebounds each. Carbon Hill is now 2-3 all time in regional tournament play.