SPRINGFIELD — With the cool and poise of a championship contender, the Carroll Patriots calmly fended off a Carroll Bloom-Carroll fourth-quarter rally and cruised to a 46-30 win in a Division II girls high school basketball regional semifinal game, March 5 at Springfield High School.
Un-ranked Bloom-Carroll (16-11) began to find its mark from behind the three-point arc in the second half. With four third-quarter 3-pointers from junior guard Nikki Bradbury, and then an inside score from standout senior forward Chloe Davis to start the fourth, the Bulldogs had pulled within six points of No. 1 ranked Carroll, 34-28.
The favored Patriots responded like any veteran team would: With solid defense and a scoring binge of its own. Carroll (24-2) outscored Bloom-Carroll 12-2 the rest of the way to earn a trip to the regional championship game.
According to Patriots senior Liz Bush, Carroll hasn’t had a team in the regional semifinals or finals since 2011.
“This is clearly a good accomplishment for us as a team. Tonight, we didn’t play as well as we would have hoped, but we’re hoping that we’ll be ready after a few days of practice, when we’ll get to play Franklin again.”
In the night’s first game, Franklin (24-4) defeated Southwestern Buckeye League Southwestern division foe Valley View by a 47-39 score in overtime to advance.
A season ago, Carroll lost in heartbreaking fashion to Franklin by a 53-50 score in three overtimes in the district final in Mason.
“We know it’s gonna be a dogfight, but we’re going to be ready,” Bush said.
Bush led Carroll with 16 points in Tuesday night’s win, while Ava Lickliter, Allie Stefanek and Julia Keller scored eight each.
Davis led Bloom-Carroll with 14 points while Bradbury finished with her four treys for 12 points.
Carroll coach Cecilia Grosselin hinted that this season’s Patriot bunch might be more battle tested than a year ago.
“We might’ve been a little bit nervous early on. We had some shots that weren’t falling, and we might not have played with a lot of heart and hustle at the time, but then they kind of turned it around as the game went on,” she said. “… They’re pretty good at remaining composed, running and executing our plays and playing solid defense.
“Sometimes it just takes them a little bit longer to get into it than others.”
Bloom-Carroll coach Chad Little came away impressed with his Carroll counterparts, even on an off shooting night.
“We felt fortunate to only be down by nine points at the half,” Little said. “We couldn’t get into our offensive sets, but we felt like we were still in the game. But then, I don’t know if we just ran out of gas or what, but we just couldn’t quite get over the hump, and then they went on their run.”
The Carroll-Franklin rematch will take place with a 7:30 p.m. tipoff on Friday, March 8 at Springfield High School.
Contact John Bombatch at 937-372-4444, Ext. 2123.