6A boys central regional final -- G.W. Carver 59, Thompson 45: After winning Central Regional, Carver Wolverines want bigger, better dance next week

6A boys central regional final -- G.W. Carver 59, Thompson 45: After winning Central Regional, Carver Wolverines want bigger, better dance next week

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6A boys central regional final -- G.W. Carver 59, Thompson 45: After winning Central Regional, Carver Wolverines want bigger, better dance next week

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Brandon Murphy rolled his eyes and turned up his nose. Demetrius Houston shook his head.

The disappointment was obvious when the two G.W. Carver boys basketball players gave their reviews of what’s become a Central Regional tradition for the Wolverines.

Jeremy Johnson’s post-championship on-court dance left a lot to be desired.

“I thought you were going to get down,” Murphy said to Johnson. “It was weak.”

The Wolverines, after Friday’s 59-45 victory over Thompson gave them a fourth straight regional championship, expected so much more.

Johnson performed admirably last year, well enough that was no question that he’d do it again if Carver won Friday.

Johnson, who scored a game-high 22 points, first had to fight off laughter before strutting his stuff. His personal version of the “South Dallas Swag” lasted less than 10 seconds before the Wolverines had seen enough.

They closed in to close the curtain on Johnson.

“That’s a dance I do all the time,” Johnson said. “I really didn’t do it today. I was too tired.”

He vowed a vigorous effort — and several Wolverines said they’ll join him — if Carver wins a second straight state championship.

“I’m going to dance, too,” Houston said.

The top-ranked Wolverines (26-1) play Sparkman in the semifinals at 1:30 p.m. Thursday at the Birmingham-Jefferson Civic Center.

“Getting to Birmingham, at one point in time, they were just happy to be there,” Carver coach James “J.J.” Jackson said. “Now, we want to come away winning the whole thing.

“It’s not greed or cockiness. We just want to win.”

Jackson started the regional-championship dance tradition when Carver won in 2010. That year, the Wolverines lost to Lee-Huntsville in the 5A title game.

In 2011, nobody stepped up. Carver lost to Hillcrest-Tuscaloosa in the 6A semifinals. Last year, Johnson showed out and the Wolverines celebrated a state title a week later.

“We’ve had the bull’s-eye on our backs all year,” Johnson said. “We know how to get to Birmingham, and we know how to win and how to lose once we get there.

“Now, we’re back and we want to defend our championship.”

Houston, a first-year Carver player, added 10 points. The junior had two fourth-quarter dunks that greatly exceeded Johnson’s postgame effort.

Both came after off-the-backboard alley-oop passes.

Chequan Burkett threw the first one — he claimed with a straight face that it was on purpose, though his teammates scoffed. The second was from Johnson and gave Carver a 20-point lead.

“We practice that every day,” Johnson said. “We do the tip drill when we first come out of the locker room.”

Caleb Johnson had 17 points, Marcus Lewis 13 and Duke Thomas 10 for Thompson (29-5), which has never won a regional.

Carver, making its 16th regional appearance in 20 years, now has five regional titles, including four in a row.

“Every night all season, the pressure has been on these guys,” Jackson said. “Wherever we played, the gym was always packed to see these guys play, so much that we joked that we made everybody some money this year.

“These guys know they have to be ready to play every night.”

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6A boys central regional final -- G.W. Carver 59, Thompson 45: After winning Central Regional, Carver Wolverines want bigger, better dance next week
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