As the final buzzer sounded on the Lakeview Academy girls team’s 51-40 win over Franklin (N.C.) — the 800th victory of head coach John Carrick’s 45-year career — there were many emotions running through Carrick’s head. None were quite so prominent as relief.
“It’s good to get it out of the way,” he said. “Especially on the first try.”
Over the last five decades, Carrick’s name has become synonymous with success when it comes to Georgia women’s basketball, both at the high school and collegiate level.
His accolades have come to include an undefeated state championship with Putnam County in the 80s, 20 winning seasons over 27 years at the helm of Georgia College & State and an active streak of nine consecutive years with a winning record leading the Lady Lions.
“I’ve been coaching a long time,” he said following his most recent win. “I’ve been very, very lucky to have good players, and bad players, great assistant coaches.”
The win came despite less than ideal circumstances for Lakeview Academy. With a few players dealing with injuries and one away on vacation, Carrick’s squad was reduced to six — with only one sub available throughout the night.
Franklin made a run early in the game to take a lead halfway through the first quarter, but two 3-pointers each from Jackie Allen and Eliza Snyder helped the Lady Lions to tie things up eight minutes in.
Lakeview Academy took a two-point lead halfway through the contest off a couple of free throws from Allen late in the second quarter, but an inspired halftime speech from Carrick had the team at its very best immediately out of the break.
“I just told them this is your house,” Carrick said. “You don’t want anybody coming in your house and taking something that’s yours. I think some of them got a little fired up.”
The Lady Lions began the third frame with a quick 9-0 run that gave them their first double-digit advantage of the night. Lakeview Academy held Franklin County to only five points in the quarter, shutting the visiting team out over its final five minutes. Back-to-back 3s from Joelle Snyder and Maddy Towles late in the period put the Lady Lions on top by 13 going into the four quarter — their biggest lead of the night.
Franklin made a couple of late runs, cutting the deficit to single digits on two occasions, but Lakeview Academy was never really threatened for the remainder of the game.
“To win against a team like that with six kids, that’s pretty special,” Carrick said.
FRANKLIN (N.C.) BOYS 65, LAKEVIEW ACADEMY 64: The Lions connected on 12 3-pointers on the night, but it wasn’t enough to push them to the win.
Trailing by a point with only six seconds to go, Lakeview Academy’s Conley Millwood banked in a layup that put the Lions in the lead and appeared to be a game winner. But Franklin Griffin Green managed to get free just behind the free throw line on the ensuing possession and beat the buzzer with a jumper to take the Lions down in a heartbreaker.
Sam Stewart led the way for Lakeview Academy with 13 points, while Declan Weidner added 12 off of four mades 3s.