DOUGLASVILLE, GA -- There are some things in life that just don't make sense. The last play in Alexander's 63-61 win over Carrollton is one of those things.
With time ticking away on the clock and down by three, Alexander junior guard Mikell Lands-Davis threw up a corner three-pointer only to have it sail a foot and a half short of the rim. Thinking his team won, Carrollton junior center Montae Glenn grabbed the ball on the way down and began to celebrate.
Carrollton was in the process of storming the court with the upset win that advanced the team to the Region 5-AAAA championship game on Monday.
But the referees thought otherwise. After a brief huddle, the officials ruled the shot was interfered by goal-tending and awarded Lands the three-point bucket, Alexander the win and home court advantage for the opening round of the state tournament (or possibly longer).
Welcome to the playoffs, where some things just don't make any sense.
Alexander head coach Jason Slate emerged from his team's locker room after the wild win and there was no ounce of joy written on his face. Despite his team's 22nd win of the season, he knew the Cougars snatched the game from the jaws of the basketball gods.
"I thought we were in a fog. It looked like we were snowed in for two weeks," Slate said. "I thought we were lethargic all night. We didn't know what we were in. Offensively, we were lost. We couldn't finish our plays. I thought we were outplayed tonight."
Alexander took a questionable shot with less than 30 seconds to play and missed. Carrollton took advantage and scored what they believed was the go-ahead basket with 3.5 seconds left to play. Carrollton had a foul to give and did so, giving Alexander less than 1.8 seconds left to get up a shot. They did and the questionable goal-tending call was made.
Slate was almost beside himself at his team's decision-making down the stretch.
"The last four minutes we decided that we were going to turn the heat up. For those four minutes, we were pretty darn good," Slate said. "But then we get to the end and you don't realize time, score, possession. All we had to do was dribble the ball out. That's all we had to do. We just weren't thinking and it almost cost us."
Jarel Rowe came alive in the second half for Carrollton. The sophomore scored 19 of his team-high 23 points in the second half and rallied his team in the final 16 minutes of action. Glenn was great all game, finishing with 20 points, 12 rebounds and seven blocks. He's been one of the most productive big men in Georgia this season.
Alexander was without leading scorer Hassani Gravett for the second straight game due to a hand injury suffered in a win over Fayette Country prior to the winter storms. The Cougars had good production from junior Artavius Love, who scored 18 points in the win.
"I thought Carrollton played really hard and it's a terrible way for them to lose," Slate said. "There were also a lot of other calls that could have gone our way, too."
Alexander will now play host to Sandy Creek for the championship and No. 1 seed out of Region 5-AAAA while Carrollton will play Fayette County for the third and fourth place seeds on Monday.