Ellwood wins state championship

Published 1:58 pm Thursday, February 17, 2011

The Ellwood Eagles celebrate their AISA Class 1A state title at Huntingdon College on Thursday. Ellwood defeated Crenshaw Christian 37-25 to capture the school's first state championship. -- Chris Wasson

Despite losing twice to Crenshaw Christian Academy in the regular season, the Eagles felt they were the better team and, in the most important game of the year, they were.

Ellwood took down the Cougars 37-25 to claim their first AISA Class 1A state basketball championship.

“You know, when a team beats you it makes you feel like they have something better than you,” senior point guard and tournament MVP Glentravious Olds said. “But the third time is the charm. We got here and showed up in the first quarter and did our thing. We just kept our heads up and knocked shots down when they came to us and that was it. We just wanted it more than them.”

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The game started off slow for both sides, with missed opportunities and solid defense playing the biggest role in a first half that only saw 21 points between the two. Crenshaw would take a 13-8 lead into halftime.

“It was a good defensive battle,” Ellwood head coach Carl Rawls said. “We just couldn’t find the flow.

“At halftime I told our kids we are not out of the game yet. Look at the score from the last two times we played them, we were down fifteen points at halftime,” Rawls said. “We said keep your head up in the third quarter and we are going to find our rhythm and play good defense.”

Rawls was right, Ellwood began to spread the floor with the Cougars and their offensive game came to life.

When Travoris Sheppard made his free throw with 4:02 left in the third quarter, the Eagles fans erupted and the team never looked back.

The fourth quarter, the Eagles took full advantage of free throws as they began to slowly pull away from the Cougars.

“We worked all year,” Olds said. “Coach told us nobody would work harder than us. He said ‘I work y’all harder than anyone in the league,’ and it came out to be the truth.”

Rawls said it was a big win not only for his team, but also for Selma as a community.

“I’m just so proud of these kids,” Rawls said. “I’m happy for them, they played hard for themselves and they deserve it.”

FACEBOOK GALLERY: Log on to www.facebook.com/selmatimesjournal to see a photo gallery marking the Eagles’ championship.