3A Men’s State Championship Recap: Jay M. Robinson knocks off Terry Sanford 59-55

Jay M. Robinson storms back to claim 3A Boys crown

By: Evan Moesta

Those in Carmichael Gym witnessed an old fashioned shootout in the 3A Boys State Championship Game. Through one quarter, the Bulldogs of Terry Sanford held a 23- 19 advantage behind a pair of three pointers, and 13 first quarter points from 6’5 Isaiah Stallings. He received help from Telligence Johnson who opened the scoring with a dunk. On the Robinson side, Lavar Batts Jr. scored five of the last seven baskets in the first quarter but it was Daniel Spencer who ignited the offense with the first seven points for the Western Regional Champions.

Stallings remained a force offensively for Terry Sanford in the next frame. He scored four more of the team’s first half points at the start of the second quarter, but the story would be the come back attempt from Jay M. Robinson. Behind the play of two Jordan McKenzie baskets and a pair of tip backs from Daniel Spencer, Robinson was able to retake the lead before losing it with 18 seconds left in the half on a Justin King three ball that sent his Terry Sanford team into the locker room leading 36-31.

The back and forth, firework-filled first half was just a precursor of things to come. Terry Sanford began the second half on a 6-0 run, two of the baskets coming from Isaiah Stallings to put the Bulldogs up by eleven with 6:33 left in the third. Spencer, and Batts Jr. exchanged baskets with Stallings, and Shamon Elliott. The Robinson makes did cut into the lead as they came from beyond the arc near the halfway mark of the third stanza.

For the next 2:17, both teams would go cold from the field, turning the ball over a combined eight times, and missing a combined eight shots. Rashon Gray hauled in a defense board with 1:42 left in the third, and pitched ahead to Spencer for the score. That basket would kick off a 6-0 Robinson run over the span of the following 61 seconds. Spencer had another fastbreak layup with 38 seconds left in the quarter to cut Terry Sanford’s lead to only one point at 45-44. Will Boyette responded on the other end of the court with a three at the buzzer to increase Terry Sanford’s lead to four going into the final eight minutes.

Those final eight minutes would see Jay M. Robinson out of Concord, NC outscore Fayetteville Terry Sanford 15-7 to clinch their first 3A crown in their only state championship appearance. The fourth quarter was a free throw-filled one as the two teams combined to down ten shots from the charity stripe in the final five minutes of play. Terry Sanford managed to maintain a 1-4 point lead between the 4:34 mark and ten second mark of the fourth quarter. With Terry Sanford up by one following a pair of Jordan McKenzie free throws with 37 seconds left, senior Coleman Trammell who entered the night averaging 4.1 PPG scored the biggest basket of his life, a layup with ten seconds to play (his only points of the game) to give Jay M. Robinson a 56- 55 lead. The Robinson Bulldogs would hit three more free throws before the buzzer sounded, to clinch the victory.

Daniel Spencer led Robinson with 6 rebounds, and all scorers with 24 points. He was named the game's Most Valuable Player. Lavar Batts Jr. was the only other player to score in double figures as he registered 16 in the win (7-10 FT) on the way to being named Robinson's Most Outstanding Player. Isaiah Stallings hauled in 10 rebounds, and potted 22 points for the double-double that led Terry Sanford. Stallings was named Terry Sanford's Most Outstanding Player.