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The Journal Gazette

Saturday, February 03, 2018 10:40 pm

Carroll 81, Northrop 66

Carroll wins 2nd straight girls basketball sectional title

AUBREE REICHEL | The Journal Gazette

Carroll gauged its progress in a 81-66 win over Northrop in the Class 4A sectional championship game on Saturday.

The teams faced each other on Nov. 17 in a 68-58 Bruins' win. The Chargers (19-6) made some adjustments and learned from that loss.

"I think it shows our experience over the course of the year," Carroll's Kelli Damman said. "We weren't really playing well the first time. We just kind of chucked up 3s most of the time. This showed us that we slowed it down, calmed down, passed the ball, cut, made them foul us and we drove to the basket.

"I think our defensive standpoint changed like who was guarding who and how we were going to guard them, and we just attacked a lot more rather than focusing on shooting 3s; we started attacking and getting them in foul trouble."

Carroll used a 14-4 run to close the first quarter to go up 20-12 and kept the lead close to double figures for most of the second quarter, but Northrop (20-4) closed the gap to get within 38-33 at halftime.

"We started out shooting really well but we didn't want to get complacent with the 3-point shot," Carroll's Laney Steckler said. "Once we noticed it wasn't falling as much, we had to get to them and get them in foul trouble, and it helped out at the end of the game because they were forced to foul and a lot of them fouled out.

"I kind of think it all went together. It wasn't just one thing. We had to identify the shooters. We did that better in the first half; second half we kind of let that up a little bit. Ultimately, we ended up winning and hit free throws at the end."

The title is Carroll's second consecutive sectional championship.

"I told them at the beginning of the game that we have an advantage because we've been here before, and I said we had to use that experience," Carroll coach Mark Redding said. "I thought the girls held their composure, especially when Northrop made that run and I thought that came from tournament experience and that's something you can't teach.

"We just wanted to make sure we taught them, 'we've been here before so act like it.' I thought the girls did a nice job of holding their emotions. This is an emotional game and Northrop did an excellent job of coming back, and I thought our girls held their composure and I thought the girls were more patient the second half to put the game away."

Damman led all scorers with 25 points. Steckler added 19, while Macy Miller and Alyssa Kimes each added 11.

Arielle Thatcher led the Bruins with 20 points, Niomi Dube added 17 and Mackenzie Snyder had 10.

The Chargers will face fellow SAC team South Side (22-4) in the Kokomo Regional semifinals at 10 a.m. Saturday.

areichel@jg.net