Twenty-five times this season, Carroll was able to execute its game plan of speeding up opponents, knocking down big shots and having an answer every time a team made a run.
On Saturday, that same recipe for success was doled out by its opponent.
The Chargers fell short of their first-ever state championship game appearance, falling 62-46 to Crown Point in the Class 4A North Semistate at LaPorte.
“What they did is what we do,” said Carroll coach Mark Redding. “Once they get a lead they spread you out. They have great ballhandlers, they attack and then they dump off. You have to give them credit, but we just could not make shots to fall.”
Crown Point (24-1) came out slow and the Chargers were able to take advantage, leading by as many as seven in the opening minutes. But when Nevaeh Jackson picked up her second foul late in the first quarter, the Bulldogs took advantage. When Jessica Carrothers dropped a 50-footer at the buzzer to end the first, it gave Crown Point the lead and momentum. The advantage would grow to six by the break.
Carroll struggled with the tenacity of Crown Point throughout. Both squads were overly physical, but it were the Chargers who were hurt more. Despite their depth, Carroll battled foul trouble – with four players picking up their third fouls all within a three-minute stretch in the third quarter.
Despite that, the Chargers never went away. They fought to within two in the third quarter, but entered the fourth trailing by eight. But even then, Carroll closed to win two possessions a few times early in the final session. However, every time that Coach Redding’s team had an opening or any type of run, Crown Point answered.
Many times it was Carrothers, who finished with 28 points. Other times it was :Lilly Stollard cleaning up the boards and putting it back up for points, while Alyvia and Alyna Santiago also came up with big buckets.
Every time Carroll (25-3) challenged the lead, the Bulldogs responded.
But after the loss, Redding was more reflective on the season than the opportunity that got away on Saturday. Four seniors depart, with two playing key roles in the Carroll rotation – Emily Parrett and Delane Sheets. The duo combined for 15 points in Saturday’s loss.
While a large nucleus is set to return next year, Redding said this group made its mark, capturing the program’s first regional championship in 22 years.
“I told the girls they have nothing to be ashamed about because look at the year you had and look how you played today,” said Redding. “Not one time could we say that they didn’t go out and give it all they had.
“As a coach, I was pretty of every single one of them.”
Saniya Jackson had a team-high 15 points for Carroll. The only other player in double figures was Sheets with 11.
Crown Point will take on Brownsburg (17-10) next Saturday at 7 p.m. at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in the Class 4A state championship game.