Led by sophomore Kirea Rogers’ 23 points, South battled its way past Bishop Carroll 43-31 on the road Friday, a win that could signify a major leap forward for the Titans, who have a lineup filled with underclassmen.
“We are close. We are making some ground. Hopefully we can just continue to build on that,” South coach Antwain Scales said. “I have a lot of faith and trust in freshmen. I did it last year; I did it again this year. I’m prideful and mindful that freshmen can step up and play. That’s the tutelage that we teach — that hard work pays off.”
Scales knows his team is young and there are likely to be growing pains, but the expectation to win is there and a win at Carroll — a perennial City League and state power — is a sign that this team will continue to do so.
“If you are going to build for the future you might as well start with youngsters. If I’m going to take my lumps it’s going to be with young kids,” Scales said. “I try to keep our girls hungry and humble, and not be satisfied. A lot of situations happened with that Kapaun game that just slipped away from us. We are looking to get back the opportunity to play them again.”
Carroll only trailed South 6-5 after the first quarter, but that’s when South started to dictate the game. The Titans outscored Carroll 17-5 in the second quarter, which included a 13-0 run after the Eagles had taken a one-point lead.
“This game was rough for us because we couldn’t hit shots, we weren’t getting rebounds, we were missing our free throws. And they were making their shots, making their free throws and they weren’t turning the ball over as much as we were,” Carroll coach Taylor Steven said. “When that kind of thing happens it’s really hard to win a ball game.”
Carroll was able to keep the game within 10 points much of the second half, but never seriously threatened South. After holding South to just five third-quarter points, the Carroll defense gave in and allowed 15 in the final quarter.
“I’m pretty excited. We still did a lot of things that aren’t characteristic, but through it all was able to play good defense and secure the win,” Scales said. “We remained together as a team. That’s what we preach a lot — being together as one unit instead of a lot of individuals.”
Steven, a first-year coach, has already faced one of the state’s best teams in Heights — a season-opening loss.
“We are building a program kind of from scratch. We are starting a new defense, new offense … everything. So we are asking a lot of the girls right now. They are thinking a lot during the game,” Steven said. “I have a feeling we are going to be a totally different team after Christmas. I really do.”