Defending state champions find form in regular season finale
Carsen Pracht had hit a pair of three-pointers from the same spot, and he fired another as a heat check.
With two defenders in his face, he knocked it down and gave Carroll a lead early in the third quarter it never gave up in its 62-42 senior night win over Wichita Heights.
The Golden Eagles’ victory, plus Maize South’s stunning loss to Eisenhower, helped them rise three spots in the Class 5A West standings ahead of Wednesday’s deadline.
Bishop Carroll went from the No. 6 seed, likely traveling to Heights for a sub-state championship game, to No. 3 set to host No. 14 Kapaun Mt. Carmel and potentially sixth-seed McPherson in the title game.
Class 5A West Boys Standings
- Maize, 20-0
- Andover Central, 17-2
- Bishop Carroll, 15-5
- Wichita Heights, 15-5 (Carroll owns head-to-head)
- Salina Central, 14-5 (Average 44 points against)
- McPherson, 14-5 (Average 53 points against)
- Maize South, 14-5 (Average 61 points against)
- Arkansas City, 12-6
- Eisenhower, 13-7
- Andover, 11-8
Pracht scored 23 points and hit six three-pointers in the second half alone on senior night. He said it was a night he won’t forget.
“I’m always trying to get other people shots, but when I’m up like that and I’m not missing, I think that’s my best chance is to call for the ball and when I’m open, hitting it,” he said.
The Falcons deployed a full-court press to slow the pace, try to force the Eagles into turnovers and runouts, and to allow for methodical possessions and quality looks.
Although there were a few giveaways, Carroll mostly broke the press, and by the third quarter, Pracht and the Eagles were getting open looks from the perimeter and canning them. They outscored Heights 23-7 in the third.
The lead ballooned to 25, and backups were in midway through the fourth quarter. They trailed fewer than 12 game minutes earlier, going into halftime down 19-16. The shooting became laughable for those in the stands and on the court.
“I’m just thinking, ‘I’m gonna let them play offense, and I’m gonna get back on defense,’ ” senior Gunner Lynch said. “I just want to feed the guy that’s hungry, and keep letting ‘em fly.”
The cards fell right for Carroll on Tuesday.
Maize South had won 13 of its previous 14 games ahead of the Eisenhower game. The Tigers trailed Valley Center at halftime fewer than 24 hours before.
Carroll coach Mike Domnick said his group took care of its business and hoped for a break. With Tuesday’s win, the Carroll boys have swept Heights for the first time since the 2012-13 season. The Golden Eagles will go into the postseason with the same record it had before last year’s state championship run.
“When we shoot as well as we do, it’s hard to defend us,” Domnick said. “Heights is Heights, and for us to do some of the things we were able to do tonight was pretty special.”