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Carolina Wildcats runners-up in USBA state championship

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By The Staff

The Carolina Wildcats finished as the state runner-up in the recent United States Basketball Association (USBA) tournament in Myrtle Beach.The Wildcats, a Lancaster area 16-under AAU boys basketball team, went 3-1, with their only loss coming in a 67-63 title game setback to TOPPS.TOPPS includes the top players from high school teams across the state.In the championship game, the Wildcats found themselves down 15-1 after five minutes.The Wildcats were somewhat “star struck,” looking at the much bigger TOPPS players.The Wildcats’ Garrett Thompson then put the team on his back.Thompson, who hit 18 points, scored six straight points and “called out” his teammates, saying they were playing like they were “scared” of TOPPS.Thompson’s words motivated the Wildcats and sparked a key run. The Wildcats, who outscored TOPPS 31-15 after the slow start, gained a 32-30 edge just before half.In the second half, TOPPS exploded for a 12-point lead midway through the half only to see the Wildcats fight back. Nazarius Blackmon’s defense keyed the Wildcats, who pulled within 65-63. TOPPS hit two key free throws to seal the 67-63 win.In the loss, the Wildcats were led by Trey Erby’s 21 points.Xavier Holloway hit 12, Qua Duncan added six. Marciano Hough, Carlos White and Blackmon had two points each.The Wildcats won the tournament’s opening game, downing Beach Ball Coast 65-62.Wildcats were led in scoring by Erby’s 21. Hough hit 13, while Duncan had 11. Thompson had nine. Holloway finished with eight. Carlos White hit two and Jamar James added one. James re-aggravated an injury in this game which kept him out most of the tournament.The Wildcats rolled in their second tournament game, downing Team DAE of  Charleston, 81-65.The Wildcats were sparked in the second half by a crowd-pleasing performance by Xavier Holloway, who hit 25 points. Holloway scored 12 straight points after halftime and was 5-6 from behind the arc, and scored all of his points in the second half.Erby hit 19 points and Garrett Thompson had 12. Marciano Hough followed with 10 points and Duncan tallied nine. White and Blackmon had four points each.Game three pitted the Wildcats against the Beach Ball Coast for a chance to play in championship game.The Wildcats started quick and built an early 10-point lead, but the Beach Ball team wouldn’t wilt as it answered every Wildcats’ basket and kept the game at 10 points through the half.After the break, the Wildcats began to pull away and eventually won the game 75-55.Duncan led all scorers with 16 points and Xavier Holloway and Carlos White followed with 15 points each.Erby hit 12 and Hough finished with 10. Thompson had three points. Blackmon and Jamar James rounded out the scoring with two points apiece.The Wildcats players are Marciano Hough, Quavis Duncan, Jamar James, Garrett Thompson, Carlos White, Xavier Holloway, Nazarius Blackmon and coach Kyle Gaither.The Wildcats will break for June so the players will be able to participate in high school team workouts and camp. The Wildcats’ next tournament will be June 28-30 in Hickory, N.C.