Varsity Basketball

Inside game lifts Carroll

ANDOVER — Andover's Kylie Cooper hasn't been the first post player to tower over the Bishop Carroll girls basketball team.

The 6-foot-1 senior had the height advantage over both Julie Sooter and Nicole Walden, the Eagles' posts, as others have had this season.

But the Carroll tandem showed the ways they have made up for the height disadvantage this season in a 50-44 sub-state final victory Saturday night.

The victory, in which Cooper was held to six points and Walden and Sooter combined for 26, advances the Eagles to the Class 5A tournament.

"I think we played together really well," Walden said. We knew they were going to try to lob it over, so we had to cover each other's back. We had help-side defense and that was really important."

Even when the Eagles switched from their match-up zone defense to man, Andover had problems funneling the ball into Cooper. That resulted in an array of shots from the perimeter.

Andover shot 29.8 percent and was 3 of 18 from beyond the arc.

"That's what teams have been doing all year to us," Andover coach Max Hamblin said. "There were some times when we were shooting a little too quick, where we could have made a few more passes."

Sharing the ball was key for the Trojans when they took a 17-12 lead with five minutes left in the second quarter. And that was the problem when Carroll made its run, a 13-4 one to take a four-point halftime lead.

The Eagles protected their lead the entire second half.

Andover's only threat — cutting the lead to three points twice — was extinguished by a Sooter jump shot and a Walden layup.

Carroll (20-2) received support from Emmie Rech (eight points) and Sarah Balderas (nine) off the bench.

Andover's Amy Williams, Catherine Cranmer and Audrey Meisch combined for 30 points.

"We're so excited to go back to state," Cathy Brugman said. "A lot of people didn't think we'd get this far this year, so we're excited. We'll be ready for state."

Bishop Carroll (20-2) 8 17 12 13 — 50 Andover (17-5) 14 7 6 17 — 44

CARROLL: Rech 2 3-5 8, Duling 2 0-0 4, Brugman 0 1-7 1, Walden 7 0-0 14, Sooter 5 2-4 12, Balderas 2 4-4 9, Linnebur 1 0-0 2. Totals 19 (2) 10-20 50.

ANDOVER: Tilson 1 0-0 2, Cranmer 3 3-5 10, Hamblin 1 0-2 3, Williams 6 1-2 11, Cooper 2 2-3 6, Meisch 2 3-3 9, Fritz 0 1-2 1, Dick 0 2-2 2. Totals 14 (3) 13-20 44.