By John Bombatch
DAYTON — Carroll’s exciting boys high school basketball run through the postseason ran out of gas about five minutes shy of Saturday’s district championship finish, in a 47-42 loss to Greater Catholic League Co-Ed North rival Kettering Alter.
The fifth-seeded Patriots came out with a 12-2 run to shot the no. 2 seed early on. Carroll stayed in front throughout the first half, and even led by as much as eight points (38-30) with just under seven minutes left to play, but Connor Bazelak’s tip-in of Joe Laravie’s miss with 4:50 left to play gave Alter the lead for good.
Carroll hit one of seven shots from the floor in the final quarter.
“What they did well was they hit big shots when they needed to. They weren’t easy shots. Joey (Laravie) made some nice off-balance jumpers. They hit some shots, and they got to the rim a couple times on us, and that hurt us,” Carroll coach Joe Cogan said. “They were able to keep things close, and when they went ahead they were able to keep that lead to win the game.”
The two GCL Co-Ed North rivals split their regular season meetings, both winning on the other team’s floor. Not one of the three games was decided by more than five points. That, coupled with Carroll’s big win over Dayton Thurgood Marshall earlier in the tournament, led Alter coach Eric Coulter to believe his team was in for quite a battle.
“They just came off a really good win against a really talented Thurgood Marshall team, so we expected them to come out with a lot of energy, and that’s exactly what happened,” Coulter said. “They came out with a really good start to the game and really had us on our heels.
“But this Alter team, they’ve been consistent in keeping their composure and not getting rattled. Tonight was no different. We kept our composure, and made some free throws when we needed them. My mentor (longtime Knights coach Joe Petrocelli, who was on hand for Saturday’s game) always used to tell me ‘Close games come down to making some free throws at the end,’ and that’s exactly what happened tonight.”
Alter was a perfect 9-for-9 from the free-throw line in the fourth quarter, and outscored the Patriots 17-6.
Joe Laravie led all scorers with 16 points and his brother, Dominic, finished with 10 to lead the Knights.
D.J. Sommers finished with a team-high 12 points, and teammates Beau Austin and T.K. Robinson both tossed in 10.
“Carroll plays extremely hard, they’re well coached, and they’re a hard team to prepare for. They run a lot of sets, and they’ve had a tremendous year, there’s no question. When it comes down to one game to determine the league title, that says a lot. They beat a really good Roger Bacon team on the road, they beat us on the road. I just feel they’ve had a lot of success this season, and one of the big reasons for that is that they do play really hard,” Coulter said.
Sommers, Austin, Nolan Cron and Jared Kieninger were seniors on the Carroll team.
“We’re losing some quality seniors on our team, no question,” Cogan said. “All four of our seniors have been remarkable leaders and great kids in our program. They’re kids that I hope our younger players want to be like, because that’s going to help us continue our success. We’ve got to continue the hard work ethic we had this year in order to get back here.”