Sometimes perception is stronger than reality when it comes to shooting.
Bishop Carroll made six three-pointers against Blue Valley West on Thursday night in the opening round of the McPherson Invitational, which doesn’t seem like an extraordinary amount.
But it sure felt like it to Carroll and it was that energy gained from the three-point shots that it used to pull away for a 55-42 victory to advance to the semifinals to play the winner of McPherson and Shawnee Mission East.
“We haven’t shot the ball that well in a really long time,” said Carroll senior Patrick Carney, who made two three-pointers. “We’ve gone about four or five games now where we haven’t shot the ball very well. So that felt good.”
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Carroll used three-balls to escape a 9-2 deficit early in the game and slowly separated itself from Blue Valley West throughout the game. While a game-changing streak was absent from the victory, Carroll did its work through a handful of 6-0 mini-spurts.
One such came when Kyle Demel swatted a ball away from playing deny defense, then passed it ahead to R.J. Biby, making his first start at Carroll, for a layup. Biby finished with 10 points, although he left the game with an injured back on the play.
“I thought we had 12 guys give us quality minutes,” Carroll coach Lonnie Lollar said. “I really liked what I saw from R.J. making his first start. That play gave us a lot of momentum.”
Once Carroll extended its lead to double digits in the third quarter, BV West did not trim it under eight points for the rest of the game. Carney finished with a game-high 12 points.
“If I make a shot, then I get more pumped up to play on defense,” Carney said. “I don’t notice getting tired or anything like that.”
Carroll improved to 5-5 on the season, while BV West fell to 3-5.
“Our season has been kind of like a yo-yo,” Lollar said. “We’ve had some moments where we’ve been pretty good against good teams, and then we have moments where we let things get away from us. Tonight we weren’t perfect, but anytime the ball is going in from the outside like that then it makes things look a lot better.”
Junction City 52, Derby 37 – Halfway through the season and Derby coach Brett Flory is as confused by his team as anyone.
At the peak of its power, like it played in a thorough victory over Wichita East last week at Koch Arena, Derby is an efficient defensive machine.
Then there was Thursday afternoon, where Derby’s offensive shortcomings became glaring and it suffered through a 10-minute-long scoring drought and finishing shooting 27.3 percent for the game.
Here’s how bad it was: Junction City did not score a single point in the third quarter, yet its 33-23 halftime lead was safe because Derby could only muster four points in the quarter.
“We do stuff I’ve never seen before,” Flory said. “We’re the easiest team in Kansas to score on and then in the third quarter we throw a shutout. Who does that?”
Trevor Gordon led Derby in scoring with eight points, while Nyjee Wright finished with seven points and nine rebounds. The Panthers have lost three of their last four games.
“It’s another lesson,” Flory said, “but I’m sick of learning. I want us to start being as good as we can on a daily basis and take our chances with that.”
Free State 58, Wichita North 45 – The hot shooting of Tiylar Cotton (21 points) in the first half wasn’t enough to offset the 29 points scored by Free State’s Drew Tochtrop in victory.
Cotton made his first three shots and six of his first 10 to score 16 first-half points, as North entered halftime tied, 25-25, with one of the top teams in Class 6A. But North couldn’t overcome 35-percent shooting and losing the rebounding battle by 18.
“We see what we’ve got to work on,” North coach Gary Squires said. “We’re not that far away, we’ve just got to keep working on rebounding on both ends and our weak-side help defense.”
Carroll: Carney 12, Biby 10, Evans 8, Theis 7, Iseman 5, Kennedy 5, Scharping 4, Goodman 3, Demel 1.
BV West: Lucas 16, Hailes 10, Chalupa 6, Norris 2, Wiles 2, Neubauer 2, Sok 2, Chase 2.
Junction City: Poole 15, Erans 9, Hall 9, Bell 7, Range 6, Arneson 4, Topps 2.
Derby: Gordon 8, Wright 7, Packard 6, Tabor 5, Hall 3, Sanders 3, Worley 3, Conner 2.
North: Cotton 21, Price 8, H. Shockley 6, Johnson 6, McCollum 4.
Free State: Tochtrop 29, Thomsen 7, White-Downing 7, Clark 7, Pavlyak 5, Lewis 2, Wilburn 1.