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It was an unforgettable night for Carroll County’s Patrick Booth. The junior forward came off the bench and scored a career-high 19 points for the Panthers against the visiting Eminence Warriors (7-19) (1-11, 0-7). He was 8-10 from the field, including a buzzer beating three-pointer before halftime, and was 2-2 from the foul line.
As a team, Carroll (11-11) (5-9, 2-8) played a near-perfect 32 minutes of basketball, rolling 71-34.
“Patrick is very dedicated,” head coach Carroll Yager said. “He works hard in the off-season. He is coming along in a lot of areas, and he’s always been a pretty good shooter and he was able to get some good looks and knock them down and got his confidence going. He played with a lot of energy, he played good defense, he played a really, really solid all-around game tonight.”
The Warriors drew first blood. Literally.
After Eminence’s first offensive possession, John Perry had to leave the game for blood on his jersey from a cut on his eye. Dakota Corbin replaced him, and then Corbin had to leave the game after the next possession with a bloody nose. Later in the quarter, Evan Mefford also had to leave the floor with a bloody lip.
“It was a situation where the guys who came in really stepped up, really stepped up and played,” Yager said of the strange start to the game. “We talk about all the time, on any give night, you’re number might get called and you’ve got to be ready and so many of them were ready.”
All of the Panthers, with the exception of the injured Dallas Gibson, played in the game Monday night and contributed to the team’s win.
In addition to his 19 points, Booth also pulled down five rebounds and notched two steals. Jay Damron led the team in assists with five and grabbed four rebounds and had three steals. Corbin also distributed the ball well, dishing out three assists. John Walls scored in double-digits with 11 and grabbed three rebounds. Travis Ellis and John Michael Adams also contributed with rebounds, pulling down three and two, respectively.
As a team, the Panthers shot 59 percent from the field (26-44) and logged 13 assists.
“I’m just tickled to death with the way they’re coming along,” Yager said. “It was one of those things where it just seemed like everything we did was going right. We were playing really good defense; we had good rotations. … We ran some set plays at different times of the game, and they ran those well. We just played a lot better tonight.”
The two teams battled back and forth early, with the game tied 21-21 about midway through the second quarter.
But then Booth got rolling, hitting three straight baskets to give his team a six-point cushion, forcing an Eminence timeout with 2:52 to go. Carroll ended the half on a 15-3 run and never looked back.
None of the Warriors hit double-figures in scoring, with Jalen Dixie leading the team with eight. Brandon Mitchell, who torched Carroll for 24 points in their previous meeting on Jan. 28, was held to just four points.
“This team has really grown in terms of understanding how to play and understanding how to prepare to play and playing together on the floor,” Yager said. “In this particular game, I feel really good about their effort and their execution of things to understand what we’re trying to do and to do a good job of trying to accomplish it.”
Gibson will return
Yager said Gibson suffered a severe ankle sprain in the Panthers’ game against Grant County, but he will definitely be back at some point this season. “When he feels like he can go, then we’ll get him back,” he said, noting that he would be shocked if Gibson was not back before district play.
Dixie 8, Lane 7, Moore 6, J. Mitchell 6, B. Mitchell 4, Sims 2, Hanlon 1.
Carroll County (71)
Booth 19, Boles 13, Stewart 11, Walls 11, Perry 4, Crowell 4, Damron 3, Ellis 3, Corbin 2, Mefford 1.
Eminence 12 12 4 6_34
Carroll County 13 23 16 19_71