A lot of teams would love to be slumping the way the Heights girls basketball team currently is.
The Falcons have played three of their least effective games during the last two-plus weeks but they’ve won them all, including a 62-54 win victory over Bishop Carroll on Tuesday.
Carroll was trying to earn at least a share of the City League title, but a strong second half propelled Heights to a win that gave the Falcons the outright CL title. They can finish undefeated in league play with a win over South on Friday.
“We’ve got a couple things we focus on every day,” Heights coach Kip Pulliam said. “One of them is intensity, and when we’re intense and we’re playing hard, we expect to control the tempo on the game. We kind of go through our lulls and get down on ourselves and we let the other team control the game.”
Heights, which has recent close wins against Southeast and Northwest, trailed by seven in the first half due to an inability to protect the ball.
The Falcons committed 21 turnovers in the first half and 15 more in the second. They were rescued by Carroll’s similar struggles — the Eagles ’ defense quickened the tempo and they had 37 turnovers.
“We missed a lot of easy shots,” Pulliam said. “Things that get us going and get us into our press, we missed and we couldn’t get into it. Then they’re beating us down to the other end.”
Heights built an 11-point lead in the third quarter but Carroll rallied behind post players Juilie Sooter and Nicole Walden. Sooter and Walden provided most of Carroll’s offense, scoring 34 combined points and holding counterparts Jhasmin Bowen and Kamisha Richard to 14.
“We thought that we could score underneath,” Carroll coach Don Racine said. “With what we were running, we were getting wide open looks. But we still missed some.”
Walden fouled out with four minutes to go and Heights leading by four. The Falcons scored the next five points and began to pull away.
Though she didn’t score in that final four-minute stretch, Heights guard Mary Sims was key in helping the Falcons hold off Carroll. She scored seven of her 15 points in the fourth.
“My thing was just getting into the passing lanes,” Sims said. “I wasn’t really focused on offense, but getting steals on defense and letting offense happen.”
Pulliam isn’t sure if a loss would have helped the Falcons refocus for the postseason, which begins with sub-state games next week.
“I don’t like to lose,” Pulliam said. “I’d rather learn lessons winning, and I just hope that they’re learning them winning. I don’t want it to take a loss to learn a lesson, because now a loss will be our season.”
Heights (18-1, 15-0) 8 15 18 21 -- 62
Bishop Carroll 18-2, 14-2) 8 12 12 22 -- 54
HEIGHTS: Chandler 1 5-6 8, Pope 4 4-5 13, Palmer 1 3-4 6, Ivy 1 0-0 2, Sims 6 2-2 15, Chisom 2 0-0 4, Richard 1 5-6 7, Bowen 2 3-5 7. Totals 18 (4) 22-28 62.
BISHOP CARROLL: Lubbers 2 0-0 4, Balderas 1 0-2 2, Linnebur 1 1-3 3, Duling 2 3-4 8, Brugman 1 1-3 3, Sooter 9 2-2 20, Walden 5 4-6 14. Totals 21 (1) 11-20 54.