There is always chatter from the Bishop Carroll basketball players in the locker room at halftime.
On Saturday, silence filled the room.
Trailing by four in the first half to Heights and realizing the team’s trip to a fourth straight Class 5A state tournament could be in jeopardy, Carroll’s girls soaked up the halftime adjustments coach Taylor Dugan made. The Golden Eagles’ second half fire resulted in Carroll beating Heights 66-56 and earning a trip to Topeka.
“We were all pretty disappointed that we didn’t start the game the way we wanted to and the way we thought we would,” Dugan said. “I think the girls were just as mad as I was (at halftime). So they came out, played a little bit harder, a little bit better, probably a little more focused and figured it out.”
Heights’ halftime lead was built on 47 percent shooting while holding Carroll to 33 percent. The Falcons also forced Carroll into eight first half turnovers.
Turning up the defensive pressure and putting the foot on the gas pedal on offense, Carroll started the second half on a 9-2 scoring run that put them up by three points 2:30 in. Forcing Heights into five third quarter turnovers, Carroll built a 14-point lead with 1:30 to go in the third quarter.
“We had some defensive possessions there where we scored right away, so we got some momentum,” Dugan said. “Anytime you’re playing defense like that, you can get momentum. Anytime you’re getting stops, it really gives you a spark. We had a couple of players tonight that really gave us some sparks. It was fun to end like this and bring some momentum going into state.”
Carroll’s second half offense fed off the three-point line, with the Golden Eagles draining eight threes on Saturday. The Golden Eagles started by setting up sophomore Hannah Landwehrby driving to the basket and kicking out.
When Heights made the adjustment to take away Carroll’s air space, the Golden Eagles looked for cutters to the basket for open layups. Carroll found success finding players who were moving without the ball, but looked to give the ball to junior forward Britney Ho for the one-on-one post up.
Landwehr scored 14 points. Ho finished with 11 points and five rebounds while senior Ashton McCorry also found success in the paint, scoring 10 points and grabbing six rebounds.
“Threes take pressure off of the posts,” junior Allison McFarren said. “Once we started hitting threes, that made Britney more open and she could do work down in the post. The threes helped us out big time.”
Not only were the Golden Eagles motivated by returning to the state tournament, they wanted to give lone senior McCorry another chance at a championship run. McFarren credited McCorry for leadership and motivation in the locker room and on the court on a daily basis.
Landwehr said the biggest help that McCorry brought to the team was guiding the underclassmen and for that, the underclassmen wanted to give her what she had desired all season long.
“This is all Ashton wants and we had to give it to her,” Landwehr said. “She’s our only senior and we have to give her what she wants and win as a team. She was really helping us out and telling us how it goes and teaching us on the way too.”
Heights 10 16 13 17 -- 56
Carroll 9 13 28 16 -- 66
Heights: Slater 16, Teague 13, Randle 11, Callahan 6, Conley 6, Jameson 2, Zeigler 2
Carroll: McFarren 14, Landwehr 14, Ho 11, McCorry 10, Schuckman 10, Larkin 4, Hageman 3