Centers standing 6-foot-10 aren't generally looked upon as great jump shooters.
Don't tell that to Wendell Carter Jr.
The All-American junior from Pace Academy (21-10) took 14 shots from the floor and made 13 of them, including a perfect 3-of-3 from the 3-point line, in a 65-43 victory over Manchester (25-6) in the GHSA Class AA Boys Tournament championship on Friday at the Macon Coliseum.
He also made a physical Manchester defense pay for its over-aggressiveness by knocking down 7-of-10 free-throw attempts.
Despite Carter's performance and a quick 12-0 run to start the game, Manchester hung around, trailing by just 13 at the end of the third quarter.
Forced to attempt shots from long range and not just trade buckets, a cold-shooting Blue Devil team finished just 2-of-19 from three point range as the Knights pulled away.
THREE WHO MATTERED
Wendell Carter Jr: To go along with his memorable night shooting, to the tune of 30 points, the Team USA member also added 20 rebounds, three blocks, and a steal.
Barrett Baker: The smallest player on the floor knocked down a pair of 3-point shots to begin the game and killed a run of Manchester momentum late in the fourth quarter with another crucial 3-pointer that gave Pace an insurmountable 14-point lead.
Demarcus Addie: Manchester's leading scorer had 13 points in the first half, but just one more after the break after picking up his fourth foul with 3:25 left in the third quarter.
THEY SAID IT
Pace Academy head coach Demetrius Smith on Manchester's physical defensive approach against Carter Jr: "I expect it every night because that's the only way you can stop him. He still had 30 (points) and 20 (rebounds). Oops."
Carter Jr. on his hot night shooting: "I think it was the rims. They looked great and they were taking my balls."
Smith on his philosophy of playing a tough national schedule: "I did a little research going back and looking at all of the teams who have won state championships in Georgia, and they all played the tough teams. You have to go out and play out-of-state teams because they'll be the ones that help you out when you play those South Georgia teams in the playoffs. They're going to press and play physical, so I think that whole process helped us out tremendously."
ALSO FRIDAY NIGHT
After missing three consecutive free throws with under one second remaining that would have won the game in regulation, Holy Innocents' regrouped in overtime and escaped as 66-64 winners over Wesleyan in the GHSA Girls Class AA finale.
In the Class AAAAA girls final, Southwest DeKalb came away a 49-48 winner over a Winder-Barrow program making its first state playoff appearance since 1994. The championship is the fifth since 2008 for the Panthers.