Brett Luke | The Journal Gazette Carroll's defense closes in on Northrop's Breanna Douglas during Saturday's Class 4A sectional championship game.
Sunday, February 04, 2018 1:00 am
Carroll 81 Northrop 66
Chargers play the aggressor, win
Carroll avenges early loss, grabs sectional title
AUBREE REICHEL | The Journal Gazette
Carroll gauged its progress in Saturday's 81-66 win over Northrop in the Class 4A sectional championship game at Carroll.
The teams faced each other on Nov. 17, a game the Bruins won 68-58. The Chargers (19-6) made adjustments and learned from that loss.
“I think it shows our experience over the course of the year,” said Carroll's Kelli Damman, who scored a game-high 25 points. “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.”
Although Carroll led 20-12 after the first quarter and kept the lead close to double figures for most of the second quarter, Northrop (20-4) closed the gap to 38-33 at halftime.
“We started out shooting really well, but we didn't want to get complacent with the 3-point shot,” said Carroll's Laney Steckler, who scored 19 points. “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 sectional championship is Carroll's second consecutive.
“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. I thought our girls held their composure, and I thought the girls were more patient the second half to put the game away.”
Macy Miller and Alyssa Kimes each scored 11 points for Carroll. Arielle Thatcher led the Bruins with 20 points, and Niomi Dube added 17.
The Chargers will face fellow SAC team South Side (22-4) in the Kokomo Regional semifinals at 10 a.m. Saturday.