In eight years as Bishop Carroll’s coach, Lonnie Lollar has seen his team fight and lose many close games at East.
But Friday he saw something different when Carroll withstood a furious fourth-quarter rally by East and won 57-51 against the City League’s second-place team.
“To be able to come into homecoming night and be able to withstand a hellacious challenge, I’m damn happy for our guys,” Lollar said. “We’ve been close. I’m hoping this will be a win that will give us the kind of confidence that we need.”
The win gives Carroll (7-7) its third consecutive win, and possibly the most dramatic.
East (9-5) trailed 43-27 after the third quarter, one that ended with Carroll on a 10-0 run. Carroll senior Logan Bullinger scored 11 points in the quarter, most coming after East had cut what had been a 13-point Carroll lead down to six.
Whatever Carroll did to hold East in check through three quarters went out the window over the final eight minutes of the game.
“We just weren’t making good decisions,” Bullinger said. “We turned the ball over and couldn’t get it done at that point.”
East opened the fourth quarter with a 13-2 run, cutting Carroll’s lead to five points with less than four minutes to play.
Just when it looked as if Carroll had weathered the storm, a quick 6-0 run—with all the points coming from East’s Israel Fralin — got the Blue Aces within a point with less than 30 seconds to play.
The game came down to free throws on both sides. East had a chance to cut into a three-point Carroll lead but De’Shawn Terrell missed a pair of free throws with 20 seconds to play. Carroll made one at the other end and finished the game with Gage Loy’s layup as time expired.
“I’m very proud of my basketball team. I’ve been very proud of some things they’ve done this year but this is a game where hopefully we will just build and take it another step,” Lollar said. “I felt tonight we were there for each other. They were a very determined group.”
Bullinger led Carroll with 20 points, and Christian Smith scored 13. Terrell led East with 11 points.
Carroll: Bullinger 7 6-9 20, Smith 4 3-4 13, Loy 2 4-7 8, Palmore 1 3-4 6, Evans 0 6-8 6, Price 1 2-2 4, Larkin 0 0-3 0. Totals 15(3) 24-37 57.
East: Terrell 5 1-4 11, Normore 3 4-5 10, Fralin 3 4-4 10, Jones 4 0-0 10, Hester 1 2-4 4, Griffin 2 0-0 4, Nespor 1 0-0 2. Totals 19(2) 11-17 51.