The resurgence of Carroll basketball took a major step forward last season, getting above .500 after just a two win season the year before. Now, coach Ryan Abbott is in his third season leading the Chargers and playing younger guys two years ago is starting to pay dividends.
The Chargers will return five guys and did see some losses to transfer, but what they are bringing back at the top helps make up for any losses, including those to graduation.
Seniors Jaxon Pardon and Cannen Houser are among the area’s very best players and are both tremendous pure scorers. Pardon averaged. 16.5 points and Houser 15 per game for Carroll who won 7 of their first 10 games last season. The three losses in that stretch: 2 in overtime and one by a single point. Pardon and Houser’s diversity and leadership really helped Carroll to be a team that was a tough out almost every night. They bring back 8.1 rebounds and 6 assists between the duo as well.
The senior class will also add some depth to the interior, headed by 6-foot-6 Grant Peters, who averaged 3.5 points and 4.2 rebounds per game last season. 6-foot-7 Evan Hall will also be part of the lineup.
Junior guard Jaiyre Sampson is also back after adding 6.7 points and 3.5 assists per game last season as he will be critical in spacing the floor. Classmates Tyler Morris and Paxton Crane will both join the lineup with the 6-foot-7 Crane coming off a really good summer where he showcased his inside and perimeter games.
Carroll will also get some help from the sophomore class. Brody Fisher is back after limited time last season, but at 6-5 with a solid build, Fisher could be a really tough piece to the Carroll interior, which is one of the biggest in the entire area. Strong shooting Miles Herring, as well as Briggs Pardon could add depth to the backcourt.
“The Chargers have spent the last two seasons becoming an “old” team. Our experienced backcourt and size up front will serve us well. Competing through the season of lessons and staying healthy, the Chargers look to compete in the SAC, sectional, and beyond,” Abbott said.
This is a team that is learning to be super consistent. They took some lumps last season but their scoring average was just 2.1 points higher than their opponent. And it means Carroll knows how to play in close games, win or lose.
They were competitive a significant portion of their schedule until a really tough final stretch and even then, they achieved at a solid level showing that with more experience, they should be ready to be back in contention this season.
WHY NOT HIGHER?
This is still team that was 12-11 last season and lost two of their biggest weapons. So we have to see a bigger sample size to believe that this Caroll team will fulfill the lofty preseason expectations that many have for them.
Houser and Pardon are going to be world beaters most nights but if they are both off the same day or at the same time, who steps into a big role next.
By the time we get to the holidays, we are going to know a lot about Carroll.
December 15 vs. Wayne
Last season, Carroll competed tightly with the eventual SAC champions, falling 66-64 in overtime in one of the best games in the area all season.
This season, it is not as much of a litmus test as a game that should be crucial in deciding the SAC. This being Carroll’s sixth game of the season, we expect to see them reaching full potential but based on their scrimmage opposite Leo last week, Carroll is in regular season form already.
There are a lot of games in the SAC we aren’t sure about yet but we do know that this one will be important in deciding the conference.