Car­roll puts phys­i­cal im­print on win over Chel­tenham

Times Chronicle & Public Spirit - - SPORTS - By An­drew Robin­son

WYN­COTE >> Luke House can feel the dif­fer­ence.

The Arch­bishop Car­roll se­nior feels stronger, fit­ter, faster and bet­ter across the board on a bas­ket­ball court and it’s a feel­ing he knows many of his team­mates share. House and his team­mates put a lot of hours into the weight room and the re­sults are not only vis­i­ble, but mak­ing a mark in games.

Car­roll put its strength to work Mon­day night as the Pa­tri­ots took down host Chel­tenham 72-43 be­hind a phys­i­cal de­fen­sive ef­fort and a well-rounded of­fen­sive show­ing.

“We shared the ball, we’ve been em­pha­siz­ing it in prac­tice and tonight we did a re­ally good job,” House said. “We have a lot of shoot­ers so if we find the open man, we’re go­ing to hit shots.”

Ev­ery player who saw the floor scored at least one bas­ket for Car­roll and six Pa­tri­ots play­ers scored at least eight points. While the of­fense came out fir­ing, with Car­roll con­nect­ing on five of its first seven 3-point tries, the de­fense re­ally set the tone.

Chel­tenham got off to a frigid start of­fen­sively, hit­ting just one of its first 12 shots from the floor. While the Pan­thers, who at one point were just 4-of-21, failed to con­nect on some open looks, Car­roll’s de­fen­sive work also helped force quite a few of those missed shots.

Play­ing a 2-3 zone, the Pa­tri­ots en­hanced it by ag­gres­sively pres­sur­ing ball han­dlers up top, clos­ing out on shoot­ers and col­laps­ing on drives. Of course, a good de­fen­sive pos­ses­sion only ends with a re­bound and Car­roll did an ex­cel­lent job of con­trol­ling the glass as well.

“Shots weren’t fall­ing early and it slowed us up on de­fense,” Chel­tenham se­nior Tim Myarick said. “This was one of the most phys­i­cal teams we’ve seen so far so in that as­pect it was a good learn­ing ex­pe­ri­ence. We saw what we need to do and we’re go­ing to get bet­ter as the year goes on as long as we stay to­gether.”

House, who scored eight points, pulled down a game-high 13 re­bounds, many of them in traf­fic and putting that work lift­ing weights to good use. Tairi Ket­ner had eight re­bounds while he and An­quan Hill pro­vided a phys­i­cal in­te­rior pres­ence that al­tered plenty of Pan­thers shots around the rim.

“We lift al­most ev­ery day if we don’t have a game,” House said. “I think it gives us an ad­van­tage for sure. I know I’ve got­ten stronger and feel more phys­i­cal out there.”

Chel­tenham, which com­mit­ted 18 turnovers, only man­aged three points in the first quar­ter and spent the rest of the game try­ing to dig out of that deficit. Car­roll didn’t make it easy ei­ther, aside from their abil­ity to cre­ate turnovers and tough shots de­fen­sively, the Pa­tri­ots didn’t rely on just one or two play­ers to do the scor­ing.

“We used our length to cre­ate de­flec­tions, we tried to get our hands on the ball and it re­ally worked,” House said.

Ny’Mire Lit­tle led Car­roll with 12 points, Amiri Ste­wart scored 11 and the quar­tet of House, Za­iair Jenk­ins-John­son, John Cam­den and Ket­ner all posted eight points. All but Ket­ner in that group of six also hit at least two 3-point shots.

Even though the Pan­thers got bet­ter after half­time, Car­roll just seemed to have an an­swer to ev­ery good play they were mak­ing.

“At first our shots weren’t go­ing in, but they were clos­ing out hard all game,” Myarick said. “We started hit­ting more shots in the sec­ond half but it was too late. We tried to stick to­gether, but there was only so much we could do.”

Both the Pan­thers and the Pa­tri­ots have some sim­i­lar­i­ties. There’s a rel­a­tively fresh cast fill­ing out the ro­ta­tions on each team and both pro­grams are play­ing un­der first year head coaches.

House, the only re­turn­ing Car­roll starter from last year’s team, likes the way his group has meshed so far. Ket­ner, Lit­tle and Kiyl Mack came off the bench for the Pa­tri­ots last year, but they’ve taken on big­ger roles for the Pa­tri­ots, who also dropped from Class 5A to 4A this sea­son.

“We’ve meshed well, guys knew what they had to do and they’ve worked hard at it,” House said. “This was our last non­league game, so it was a good win for us but we just have to keep work­ing.”

Myarick, Zahree Har­ri­son and Kyin Healey are the main holdovers for Chel­tenham, which is mix­ing in some un­der­class­men and first-year var­sity guys. Fresh­man Justin Moore got plenty of min­utes Mon­day while ju­niors Jae­len McGlone and Sean Emfin­ger, se­nior Jalen Mick­ens and sopho­more Mike Mc­Clain also chipped in.

Chel­tenham, which is now 7-4, still feels it is far from a fin­ished prod­uct.

“I think there’s an­other level we can get to, but we have to do it to­gether,” Myarick said. “I can tell these guys are get­ting bet­ter and they’re go­ing to con­tinue to as the sea­son goes along. We started to fall apart a lit­tle bit tonight, so we saw the need to stick to­gether. That’s the big­gest thing for us.”

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