The G.W. Carver and St. Jude boys basketball teams, their seven-year estrangement finally at an end, hope to get together again in about six weeks.
Carver’s 60-53 win over the Pirates on Monday marked the first time the two powerhouses — whose campuses are separated by mere green grass and Fairview Avenue — played in seven years.
In between, they combined for four state championships (three by Jude), eight state semifinal appearances (four each), two Mr. Basketballs (one each) and one Parade All-American (Jude’s JaMychal Green).
And they hope to add to that in next month’s playoffs.
“We want to keep it all on Fairview,” Carver coach James “J.J.” Jackson said. “We hope, this year, we can parade together.”
Both teams are — again — positioned for long postseason runs.
The Wolverines (15-3) are the top-ranked team in Class 6A and have made the state tournament in each of the last four years. The Pirates (13-5) are No. 1 in 1A and have one loss to an in-class team over the last three seasons. It was in the 2012 state semifinals.
“I’m praying that St. Jude wins it again, and I’m pulling for Carver, too,” St. Jude star Andrew Rogers said. “Let the state of Alabama know that the basketball is great on Fairview.”
But how long until they play again?
The last meeting was in January 2007, aka Green’s junior year, and St. Jude beat Carver for a second time that season.
Jackson and Pirates coach Earl Taylor were hopeful to play again as soon as next season.
“We should, but I’ll have to look at the personnel,” Taylor said. “I can’t answer that right now. Me and Coach Jackson will discuss that over the summer, but this was an entertaining game for the fans.”
Carver, up just 51-47, drained nine straight free throws in the final minute to hold off St. Jude.
Demetrius Houston scored 18 of his 24 points in the second half for the Wolverines. Rogers had 15 of his 19 after halftime, while LaDarius Brinson added 11 for the Pirates.
“It’s kind of crazy that this is the first time we’ve played them in so many years,” Houston said. “I don’t know the rivalry, but it’s good that we got the victory.
“They’ve got a great team this year, and we always want to play the best.”