Herald Super 6er and Deerfield star Ramello Carter, right, drives past Sherwood’s Seth King during Saturday’s second meeting between the two rival Albany private schools. Carter, who scored 41 on Friday to tie the school record, dropped 31 points in Saturday’s win. (email@example.com)
ALBANY — Ramello Carter couldn’t help but crack a smile.
And who could blame the Deerfield-Windsor senior after Saturday’s 102-61 victory against Sherwood?
“It was pretty fun,” Carter, a Herald Super 6er, said as he flashed a grin. “(Sherwood) tries to claim this as a rivalry, but we know what we have to do every time.”
Sherwood coach Karmalos Jackson wasn’t calling it a rivalry after the 41-point setback.
Not after the visiting Knights ran out to an 80-38 lead after two-and-a-half quarters and then cruised past the Eagles to eclipse 100 points for the second time this month, handing Sherwood its first loss at home this season.
“To me, it’s not a rivalry until one team starts winning,” said the first-year coach, whose Eagles also lost to Deerfield in early December, 78-47. “Deerfield is one of the better teams in AAA, and we are who we are in AA.”
The Knights looked like the team to beat in Class AAA, scoring 63 points in the first half, shooting above 50 percent from the field for the game and never taking their feet of the pedal against a Sherwood team that hasn’t beaten Deerfield in nine seasons.
Carter made sure history wasn’t made Saturday.
The speedy guard made some history of his own on Friday night, tying Andre Young’s single-game scoring record of 41 points in a blowout win against Calvary Christian.
Carter was on pace to surpass the record against Sherwood but was taken out of the game with the rest of the starters midway through the third quarter.
He still finished with a game-high 31 points, and he looked as unstoppable as ever.
“It’s hard to guard him 1-on-1,” Deerfield coach Gordy Gruhl said. “What is happening is if they stop him — of course, they really didn’t — but if they do, he does a good job of kicking it out to shooters.”
Carter, who was 12-for-17 from the floor Friday and knocked down 6-of-10 3-pointers, said he felt blessed to tie the record set by Young, the former DWS star and Clemson grad who is now playing professionally overseas.
“I am blessed to be able to do that and thankful for my teammates who got me open,” Carter said. “Once I got hot, I was just on fire from there.”
He didn’t cool off on Saturday, connecting on 13-for-18 from the field and 3-for-3 from 3-point range.
“I am in that mode right now where I am attacking everything,” he said. “These past two nights I have been feeling like myself. Hopefully we can keep this going as a team and keep these wins coming.”
The Knights (12-3) have won seven in a row and took all the air out of Sherwood’s gym in the opening minutes, jumping out to a 10-0 lead and forcing the Eagles into six straight turnovers to start the game.
Jackson, whose Eagles (10-7) were coming off a grueling loss against Class AAA Mount de Sales the night before, expected Deerfield to come out strong.
“I figured they would come out fast and furious,” Jackson said. “I knew it would be to their benefit to speed up the tempo and try to wear our legs out. I definitely expected them to come out and apply pressure on us and try to speed up the game.”
Thanks to eight first-quarter points from Patrick Stanford — who led the Eagles with 25 points — Sherwood stayed with Deerfield for the first eight minutes, trailing 24-17 at the end of the first quarter.
But then Carter and the Knights exploded for 39 points in the second quarter, hitting 16-of-22 field goals and turning the ball over just once.
“When we get it rolling, that’s what we are capable of doing,” Gruhl said. “It’s pretty obvious we got it rolling in that second quarter.”
The Knights have come a long way from the team that started the season with a 5-3 record and scored over 65 points only once in those first eight games.
“At Christmas time we were shooting 19 percent from the 3-point line, but I knew we had some guys who worked way too hard over the summer to get to where they could shoot the basketball,” Gruhl said. “I knew it would come, and it has.”
It came in bunches Saturday night.
Six Knights scored at least eight points in the game, including Jason Battle (15 points), Christian Wallace (10), Jay Barber (9), Dee Barber (9) and Pete Langstaff (8).
“We have one goal at the end of the goal, and that’s to get that big prize,” Gruhl said. “We are starting to play like we have a shot to do that. We still have a long way to go and a lot of room for improvement, but we have made tremendous strides since Christmas time.”
The Knights led 63-32 at halftime and jumped ahead by as many as 44 points in the second half before Carter and the rest of the starters took a seat on the bench with 4:07 left in the third quarter. Deerfield finally hit the 100 mark on a John Germany 3-pointer from the top of the key with 2:17 left.
Sherwood, which plays again Tuesday at Terrell Academy, also got 18 points from T.J. Clay, while no other Eagle scored more than six.
Deerfield travels to Brookwood on Tuesday before coming back to Albany for a three-game homestand with contests against Tiftarea, Southland and Terrell Academy.