Montgomery area boys basketball teams advance to AHSAA regional finals

Nick Alvarez
Montgomery Advertiser

Across the state on Thursday, the Alabama High School Athletic Association held its boys basketball regional matchups. 

BEST OF:6 Montgomery-area boys and girls players to watch in the AHSAA basketball playoffs

PLAYOFF SCHEDULE:AHSAA area boys and girls basketball tournament results from across Alabama

Multiple River Region teams were featured with a few reaching next week’s regional finals at Garrett Coliseum. Here are takeaways from the playoff action: 

Carver's Juwon Gaston (3) takes a jump shot during a sub-regional game in Montgomery, Ala., on Wednesday, Feb. 17, 2021. Carver defeated Opelika 82-77.

Carver has the pieces for a Class 6A title run 

G.W. Carver coach Keith Patton dotted across the gymnasium. He dapped up players, waved to fans and pointed at the DJ at the scorer's table and mouthed "Keep it going." When the final buzzer sounded, and Carver inched closer to its first AHSAA Class 6A title win since 2004, Patton wanted the gym to be loud. And it was. 

Playing in a regional semifinal on its home court — a side effect of COVID-19 scheduling adjustments — the Wolverines (7-4, 3-3 Class 6A, Area 3) defeated Hueytown 66-50. Carver blew a fourth-quarter lead but then went on a 19-5 run in the final minutes to secure the victory. 

Senior Ali McMillian scored a game-high 25 points with seven 3s. Juwon Gaston created looks and RayQuan Taylor overcame turnover issues to stave off the Golden Gophers. Only four Carver players had a field goal, as Patton went to his veterans after a pandemic-shortened season limited Carver's roster development. 

The Wolverines had to shut down team operations thrice due to quarantines and positive testing, and Patton mentioned he was worried that the team chemistry isn't where it has been in years prior. But Friday night showed the Wolverines are a threat with McMillian and Gaston working along the perimeter and Taylor anchoring the paint. 

HOW THEY GOT HERE:Lee and Carver basketball navigated a regular-season gauntlet before the playoffs

Carver will play Eufaula in the Southwest Regional Final in Garrett Coliseum on Feb. 25 at 3 p.m. 

Montgomery Catholic keeps outshooting teams in Class 3A 

In its last two playoff games, Montgomery Catholic (18-5, 7-0 Class 3A, Area 6) has connected on 16 combined 3-pointers, defeating Reeltown and Wicksburg en route to the Elite Eight. 

Sophomore guard LJ Green scored a team-best 24 points against Wicksburg, winning 71-61. He connected on half of his eight field goals as the Knights took 20 more shots than their opponent. Matthew Reardon added a trio of 3-pointers and Daniel Jamerson posted a double-double (13 points, 15 rebounds). 

INSIDER:6 Montgomery-area boys and girls players to watch in the AHSAA basketball playoffs

Catholic coach Michael Curry said earlier this season that the Knights need to develop into a consistent shooting team to allow room for Jamerson and Green inside. Of late they have been, and teams have yet to find an answer. 

"I thought we came out focused," Curry said. "... You gotta pick your poison. We're just spreading (the scoring) out around." 

Montgomery Catholic faces Dadeville next at 3 p.m. on Feb. 23.

Calhoun's roster is primed for a repeat

On Feb. 12, facing Highland Home for the third time in three weeks, Joshua Curtis recognized why the 2020-21 Calhoun Tigers may be better than their 2019-20 counterpart that won the Class 2A state title. Highland Home and Calhoun had split their previous two matchups. But playing in the area playoffs, the Tigers pulled away 67-56, showcasing the depth that has them eyeing a repeat.

Curtis and the Tigers bench have complimented JD Davison, who's shouldering most of the offensive duties with nearly 35 points a game. But two other Tigers are capable 3-point shooters and Curtis is averaging a double-double per game (12.9 points, 12.3 rebounds) to diversify the attack. 

The trend continued against Clarke County, with the Tigers (15-7, 4-1 Area 5) winning 58-51. The Tigers will face Thorsby on Feb. 26 at 3 p.m. for a spot in the Final Four.