SHARPSVILLE — Down 47-42 after a Clinton Prairie 3-pointer in the fourth quarter, Carroll’s boys basketball team found itself staring at its biggest deficit of the game.
The Cougars didn’t panic, or deviate from their course at all. They just got sharper.
Carroll responded with a 9-0 run to take the lead and never trailed again in posting a 73-60 victory over Prairie in the opening game of the Class A Tri-Central Sectional on Tuesday night.
Prairie trimmed the lead to 51-50 but Carroll (11-11) delivered a knockout blow with a 15-0 run that started with 3:58 left.
“We just stuck with the game plan, and that was to go inside and make sure they pay for not being able to guard us in the post,” Carroll coach Matt Weaver said. “[Prairie] did a good job of helping in the first half, but we just stayed with it.”
Carroll got a game-high 29-point effort from center Jarin Bush, 20 from post forward Brandon Dillon and another 10 from forward Seth Eldridge as the Cougars moved the ball to make an effort to score in the post, or on layups from a free man in the paint.
“We had a couple guys who had four or five assists from the guard spot and that’s crucial,” Weaver said. Carroll got alert passing from guards Derik Caldwell and Justin Willoughby. “When you have those kinds of numbers and you see that kind of passing, that’s team basketball at its finest.”
To take out Prairie [7-13], Carroll needed to quell the Gophers’ ability to hit from the outside. Kale Morris had four 3s in the first half but just one in the second half. Drew Scott had five treys, all in the second half, but two came in the final 90 seconds after Carroll had established a double-digit lead.