MLK Holiday Classic: Thomasville beats Carver for first time at annual event
Third time’s the charm? It was for the Thomasville boys Monday in the Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday Classic.
In the first two years of the MLK Classic, the Carver Yellow Jackets have kept the Bulldogs from victory, including last season’s win at the buzzer. There was no need for a final shot at Thomasville’s gym this time around. THS swatted the Yellow Jackets 59-35 to move its record one step closer to the .500 line at 6-8. MVP Demoris Payne pocketed 16 points while Traquan Ray and Cedric Green each added eight.
“After getting beat at the buzzer last year we feel pretty good,” said THS head man Tony Clark. “At this time a year ago we were 0-11, so we feel extremely good about where we are right now.”
Reggie Gray made a thunderous statement for Carver by throwing down a one-handed jam in the first quarter, but the Bulldogs made all the noise after that. Payne had a layup and Ike Marsh scored five points to allow the Bulldogs to jump on top, 15-6.
The response to the Gray jam continued in the second quarter. Payne slipped away from the defense for a layup on the break before two Carver free throws. Payne dialed in a 3-pointer next time down and sank it, then Dwain Purvis battled for a bucket in the lane. B.J. McElveen and Payne ended a stretch of nine unanswered points as THS was dominating in every phase of the game up 26-8. Thomasville continued to lead by 18 at intermission and held its largest lead of 57-29 late in the fourth quarter.
“We were able to rebound and get our transition game going,” said Clark. “I am really happy with how things turned out today. Everybody got minutes.”
Though excited about the victory, the highlight of the day for Clark was showing appreciation for Dr. King. It was Clark who came up with the idea to have the Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday Classic. With the help of the Rev. Dr. George Jackson, the two completed their third year working together on the event.
“One of the highlights of coaching is this Martin Luther King game for me,” said Clark. “It was my baby when I came here a couple years ago to get this thing started. To be able to play on such a great day is an honor for me. To be able to represent everything Dr. King stood for is what I am most proud of today.”
Sports Editor Zach Kepley can be reached at 888-3631, or firstname.lastname@example.org.