December – 5, at North; 6, at South; 9, Northwest; 12, at East; 19, Southeast.
January – 2, at Kapaun; 8, 9 or 10, TBA at Koch Arena; 13, West; 16, at Heights; 20, North (G); 22-24, at Dodge City tournament (B); 27, North (B); 29-31, at Newton tournament (G).
February – 3, at Northwest; 6, East; 10, South; 13, at Southeast; 17, Kapaun; 24, at West; 26, Heights.
Coach: Lonnie Lollar, 10th season, 92-92
Last season: 8-14
Connor Evans, 6-5, sr., G
Patrick Carney, 6-0, jr., G
Eric Scharping, 6-4, jr., F
Kyle Demel, 6-3, jr., F
Mike Wilbert, 6-1, sr., G
When healthy, Evans has proven to be one of the best all-around players in the City League. The problem was, at least last season, Evans did not stay healthy and Carroll finished with a losing record.
Evans will be asked to do even more this season, as the 6-foot-5 senior can handle the ball, score through sets, score on his own creations, rebound, and defend four positions.
“We’re going to need Connor to do a lot of things for us this season,” Lollar said. “And I think he’s more than capable of delivering that.”
Last season Carroll was solid defensively, but punchless on offense. The defense, a staple under Lollar, should remain the same, and he hopes the team can generate better shots this season with a healthy Evans and better surrounding options.
Carney had spurts last season of being able to carry the offense, but he’ll be asked to provide more consistent production as a junior. Scharping and Demel are hard workers and difficult to keep off the glass, while Wilbert provides a veteran option at guard.
“There’s no question we’re going to have to be better offensively,” Lollar said. “I think we have the kids for that to happen. We’re just going to have to work hard and get better from the free-throw line.”
Carroll has more returning pieces back than in recent memory for Lollar, which he believes gives Carroll a good chance of returning to the state tournament for sixth time in the last nine season.
Coach: Taylor Dugan, third season, 28-16
Last season: 15-7
Shelby Lopez, 5-11, sr., F
Madi Youngers, 5-9, sr., G
Brooklynn Bockover, 5-6, sr., G
Brynn Maul, 5-6, so., G
Allison Bullinger, 5-10, sr., F
Carroll has talent and it has speed all over the court, but Dugan doesn’t think those attributes will be what defines this team.
“I think we can be that gritty team that comes out every game and works harder than everyone else,” Dugan said. “A lot of the time those teams can win a lot of games because of how hard they work.”
Lopez will anchor the team in her senior season. She averaged nearly 12 points and five rebounds and is the team’s best two-way player that can fill in at all five positions on the floor. Dugan loves that type of versatility, especially after graduating her two post players from last season.
Losing that height has forced Dugan to evolve her philosophy. Rebounding will be a team effort now without a 6-footer, and Carroll will try to capitalize on its smaller and faster lineup by attacking more in transition and employing full-court pressure.
“We’re not as big as we used to be,” Dugan said. “That means we’re going to have to be better defensively and run more. We’re going to switch things up a little bit more.”
Carroll has lost in a sub-state championship game the last two seasons under Dugan. In order to return to state, Youngers, Bockover, and Maul, three returning guards, will have to continue to excel defensively and increase their offensive production. Bullinger, Abby Sauber, and Jessica Hagemen will be counted on down low.