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Carroll County went on a scoring spree in the second and third quarters, 50-21, and played solid defense throughout to defeat the visiting Eminence Warriors, 77-43, Monday.
The Panthers weren’t into the flow of the game early, Panthers’ head coach Carroll Yager said, and the Warriors matched them basket for basket. The two teams were knotted at 12 at the end of the first quarter.
But the Panthers turned things around quickly in the second quarter. Down 18-15, Carroll County went on a 20-0 run over a span of a little over four minutes that included drives to the basket by Jacob Wise, Blake Kruzan and Dakota Corbin, two steals for layups and a trey by Austin Crowell, and a 3-pointer and a pair of assists for Isaiah Hogan.
Eminence did not score again until a pair of free throws by Jalen Dixie with 45 seconds left in the half.
“We were trying to pick it up and pick it up and finally we got shifted into a higher gear,” Yager said. “We were really running the floor well, we were pushing the ball well, we were taking it to the rim. Our defense was picking up. Everything just kind of picked up, and I hope that that’s a sign that we’re getting back into playing.”
The Panthers led 38-20 at halftime and did not let up in the second half. The home team went on an 11-4 run, capped off by a steal by Corbin, who found teammate Wise streaking to the basket for a layup, resulting in an Eminence timeout. The Panthers finished the final 2:12 on an 11-3 run to go up 62-33.
Carroll County’s reserves began subbing in after the first play of the fourth quarter. The younger Panthers did a good job of running the floor and put in a solid quarter, outscoring the Warrior squad, 15-10.
Yager said the past week had been difficult after playing in the All “A” and being off for a week. “With the snow, we had only gotten to practice a couple times. Everybody is in the same boat trying to get back into the swing of things, and I thought we played really, really well once we got going,” he said. “I thought we played just about as well as we have all year once we got going. We played very good defense. Our defense created some things for our offense, and in our offense we were taking it to the rim and we shared the ball well.”
The Panthers logged 14 assists and turned the ball over just six times. They also had one of their best shooting games of the season – 56 percent (24-43) from 2-point range and 50 percent (6-12) from behind the arc.
“If we play well, we’re going to be talking about every player because that’s kind of who we are,” Yager said. “If we have two or three who don’t play real well, we have a hard time playing very well. We are more like a team who has a lot of different qualities that they bring to that team. When they play with their strengths and stay away from their weaknesses and are focused, we should play pretty good.”
Wise led the team in scoring with 17, followed closely by Corbin with 15. Blake Kruzan and Crowell also hit double-figures with 12 and 11 points, respectively. Hogan scored nine points, followed by Adams, Jackson “Boo” Donahue and Jacob Evans each with three points and Justin Ray and Alex Burns with two points.
Panthers fall at Grant
In their first game in eight days, the Panthers did not look very sharp against Grant County, falling, 69-59, on the road.
“They’ve got a nice team, they’ve got a very nice team,” head coach Carroll Yager said. “They’ve got a lot of athleticism. They’re offense, our defense, I’m not sure which, but it wasn’t one of our better defensive games, so you have to give them credit for their offense. They got a lot of easy baskets, they got a lot of transition baskets on us. It was one of those games where we looked like we hadn’t played in a while, and we hadn’t.”
The Panthers got into early foul trouble and were outscored 22-15 in the second quarter to fall behind 38-28 at halftime.
Carroll County cut the lead by five after the third quarter, 49-44, and were down just three with two to three minutes to go.
“We made a couple turnovers that led to direct baskets, so we went from three down to seven down,” Yager said.
The winter weather has impacted everyone this season with missed practices and games.
“There hasn’t been a flow,” Yager said. “Our team went from playing on Thursday night to the following Friday night with maybe two practices. You worry even about getting out of shape and your conditioning and stuff. It’s been tough for everybody.”
Grant County’s Jordan Saylor Jr. led all scorers with 17 points.
Isaiah Hogan led the Panthers with 15 points, while Dakota Corbin scored eight points and grabbed 16 rebounds. Austin Crowell scored 11 points, while Jacob Wise scored 10 points. John Michael Adams scored seven points, Blake Kruzan scored six points, and Justin Ray scored two points.