MASON — Even with a young group, Carroll maintained its routine of making a tournament run, but that inexperience finally caught up to them against a league rival.
Badin fired away from three early to build a big lead and weren’t challenged down the stretch in a 53-39 victory in Friday’s Division II district final at Mason High School.
Badin’s active defense matched Carroll’s attempt to frantic the pace as they mostly took away the Patriots fast break game while crowding the paint in the halfcourt to cause 20 turnovers.
“We knew it was going to be a tough game and we tried to work on just shooting and avoiding their pressure to speed us up really quickly,” head coach Cecilia Grosselin said. “We wanted to shut down on threes, but everyone on that team shoot threes so that’s a tough one.”
The Patriots got nine points from both Lyla Oliver and Ellie Meyer, while Maggie Bush’s eight were timely to keep them in the game early.
Carroll needed some time to find their bearings as Badin scored the first 15 points of the game. The Rams had four threes in the opening quarter, including one at the buzzer to hold a 14-point lead.
Improved composure helped the Patriots begin to claw away at their deficit in the second, getting the lead down to six near halftime. Two turnovers on consecutive possessions led to easy Badin baskets and quickly reversed course to help them regain a double-digit lead heading into halftime.
Carroll struggled from the outside shooting 1-for-10 from three and leading scorer Kiera Healy was held to a single free throw while in foul trouble.
“When you start three freshman and get within this type of environment, it’s different,” Grosselin said. “Communication with your teammates is different than in a small gym, and I’m certainly not trying to make excuses, but they came out on fire and they were ready to play.”
The halftime deficit was as close as Carroll got the rest of the way. Badin’s lead grew as large as 17 in the fourth quarter as they controlled the second half.
Healy didn’t make her first basket until a three near the start of the fourth quarter.
Carroll finishes the year with a 15-12 record. Despite only two of its regulars being upperclassman, it was Carroll’s sixth appearance in the district finals in seven seasons.
Their one miss was last year. It might be the only one for next few seasons.
“I’m proud this young team was able to come this far,” Grosselin said. “I never thought that we’d make it to the district finals, we had a hard time winning in the GCL.
“I’ve seen their improvement and I told them tonight they should always be honored to come and play in a district final.”