In a basketball game with little flow — largely due to the combined 48 free throws and 35 turnovers — Northwest's girls relied on its defense.
The Grizzlies focused on Bishop Carroll guard Sarah Balderas at all times. They emphasized staying in front of Balderas and keeping the ball out of her hands. They also collapsed on Carroll junior forward Jana Reichenberger, the second of the Eagles' top three scorers.
Northwest held host Carroll in check during the 53-41 win that gave the Grizzlies (16-4, 14-2) second place in the City League, dropping Carroll to outside the City League's top two for the first time since 2006-07.
"We were able to get down on the defensive end and just guard," Northwest guard Brianna Caldwell said. "That's what won it for us."
Northwest committed 13 first-half turnovers and Carroll shot 15 first-half free throws, finishing 18 of 26 for the game.
Free throws kept Carroll in the game early. The Eagles missed all 10 field-goal attempts in the second quarter, but scored nine at the line and trailed 25-15 at the half.
Northwest held Carroll without a basket for nearly 16 minutes before Balderas scored on a jumper with 5:12 to go in the third quarter.
"We lost to a good team tonight," Carroll coach Don Racine said. "We didn't play very well tonight, and that's the end of the story."
Carroll missed its share of good shots inside, especially in the second quarter when it had nine offensive rebounds.
"We played some good defense, but they missed some shots, too," Northwest coach Jim Mernagh said. "They just missed some shots. We were lucky there."
Carroll made a run, though.
Down by 10 after the third quarter, Balderas opened the fourth with a three-pointer. The Eagles got three free throws from Brugman and Reichenberger, and a basket in the lane from Reichenberger that cut Northwest's lead to 37-33 with 4:35 to go.
But Northwest, leading 39-35, went on a 14-4 run that included six points from Caldwell. She finished with a game-high 17 points.
"She played well on both ends," Mernagh said. "She's been doing that most of the years. She's stepping up big.... She's a good shooter, and it takes guts to take those shots."
Northwest senior Alaina Shine had 15 points — eight in the final period — and nine rebounds.
Not only was Northwest able to answer Carroll's offensive output in the final period, the Grizzlies only had two fourth-quarter turnovers.
"We did a great job down the stretch of taking care of the basketball and attacking the middle," Mernagh said.
Carroll was led by Balderas' 14 points and Reichenberger's eight rebounds.
Northwest (16-4, 14-2) 11 14 10 18 — 53 Carroll (14-6, 12-4) 6 9 10 16 — 41
NORTHWEST: Caldwell 5 5-6 17, Cotman 1 1-2 3, Shine 5 5-6 15, M. Millspaugh 2 2-2 7, A. Millspaugh 1 0-0 3, Harbert 0 2-4 2, Loganbill 1 0-0 2, Allen 1 0-0 2, Simpkins 0 2-2 2. Totals 16 (4) 17-22 53.
CARROLL: Brugman 2 3-5 9, Linnebur 0 3-4 3, Reichenberger 1 5-8 7, Mies 2 3-5 8, Balderas 4 4-4 14. Totals 9 (5) 18-26 41.