ALPHARETTA, Ga. – The Alpharetta Raiders were unable to recapture the magic of their 2012 state playoff run, losing to Berkmar 56-48 at home last Saturday, Feb. 23, in the second round of the state Class AAAAAA playoffs.
The Raiders defeated Berkmar 80-70 in the quarterfinals last year, but the Patriots avenged that loss thanks to an outstanding defensive effort in the rematch.
Ty Toney and Carlos Burse combined for 50 points in last year’s Alpharetta playoff victory over Berkmar, but the Patriots limited the duo to 28 points Saturday.
Berkmar (18-12) was particularly effective containing Toney, who managed just five points in the first three quarters and scored seven of his 15 in the final minute.
The Raiders trailed by as many as 13 points in the fourth quarter, getting as close as 48-41 with 1:06 to play on a three-pointer by Toney. But the Patriots put the game away with four straight free throws, hitting 11 of 16 in the final period.
Alpharetta connected on a trio of three-pointers in the opening period to take a 14-11 lead, but Berkmar limited the Raiders to six points in the second period and eight in third quarter.
Primarily a perimeter offensive team, Alpharetta did not score a point from outside in either the second or third periods and trailed 38-28 going to the fourth quarter. Berkmar’s tight, hard defense kept Toney from getting to the basket, and the Patriots also forced the Raiders into launching contested three-pointers from longer distances.
Burse finished with 13 points, including a last-second three-pointer. Center Bjorn Walker, who had some nice baskets inside against Berkmar’s 6-foot-11 Tim Rowe, added 11 points.
The Region 6-AAAAAA champion Raiders (20-10) graduate all five of their starters plus two key reserves.
The Raiders opened the playoffs with a hard-earned 73-69 victory at home over Collins Hill. The Eagles (17-13) scored the game’s first basket, but that was their only lead of the game.
Toney and Burse accounted for every Alpharetta point in the opening period with either a field goal or assist, as the Raiders jumped out to a 17-12 lead. Alpharetta led 34-26 at the half and 51-44 after three quarters before the Eagles tied the game 58-58 with 3:30 to play.
But the Raiders made 17 of 20 free throws in the final period, maintaining a narrow lead after going ahead with 3:18 to play. Toney hit eight straight at the line in the final 48 seconds and Burse was four of six down the stretch, with the Raiders connecting on 30 of 37 free throws in the game.
Toney scored 18 of his 29 points in the first half, but was quiet offensively for most of the final two quarters due to foul trouble. Burse connected on four three-pointers and added 19 points, with Connor Ramsey contributing 13 points, including six straight in the third quarter with Toney sitting out due to his foul situation.