RIVERSIDE — The Greater Catholic League Co-Ed’s two top North Division girls basketball teams went head-to-head in front of a near-capacity crowd Saturday Feb. 4, and the end result left Kettering Alter and the host Carroll Patriots looking forward to a possible rematch in the postseason.
Alter coach Christine Hart felt lucky for her team, ranked No. 2 in the latest Associated Press Division II girls high school basketball poll, to get out of No. 3 Carroll’s gym with a 32-31 win.
“Carroll played really well tonight. They probably deserved to win that game,” Hart said. “We stole a win, probably, but I think you can learn more about yourself as a team in the losses and these kinds of close wins.”
With both team’s main scoring threats either smothered by the opposing team’s defense or mired in foul trouble, the two powerhouses needed key shots from their supporting cast members. Alter’s Braxtin Miller entered Saturday’s contest averaging 16.7 points a game (second in the GCL Co-Ed), while Carroll’s Amanda Schroeder came in with a GCL Co-Ed best 20 points per game average.
Miller was hounded by the Carroll defense and finished with eight points; Schroeder battled foul trouble for most of the contest. Despite four fouls, she finished with six points.
The Patriots’ 6-foot freshman forward Julia Keller led Carroll (17-3, 7-2 GCL Co-Ed North) with seven points, followed by Schroeder’s six, with senior Sydney Ingram and freshman Allie Stefanek scoring five each.
For Alter (18-2, 8-0 GCL Co-Ed North), it was senior Emily Long who came through with six key fourth-quarter points, finishing with a game-high nine. Miller got her eight while fellow seniors Nicole Hoeflinger, Olivia Gillis and Libby Bazelak finished with five each.
Carroll coach Cecelia Grosselin was proud of her team’s effort, despite the narrow loss.
“To lose to Alter by one point, it’s tremendous,” she said. “Obviously we’re disappointed that we didn’t get the win, but I told the girls to keep their heads up and be proud, because they played them very very close.”
Grosselin credited her team’s improved rebounding as the key to keeping her Patriots team out front for most of the contest. Schroeder finished with a game-high 11 rebounds, while Miller led Alter with eight.
The Knights grabbed the lead with 1:40 left in the game on Hoeflinger’s jumper from the left to make it 31-29, Alter. Bazelak tacked on a back-end free throw shot to make it 32-29 with six seconds to go. Then, Carroll’s Sydney Ingram was unable to get off a 3-point shot, and tried to draw a foul on her final score from the right side as time expired.
Schroeder, too, felt very positive about her team after Saturday’s loss.
“I think this really motivates us, because it just shows how far we’ve come along this season. The last time we played them, we lost by 20. And now we only lost by one? We’re just going to keep working harder. I’m convinced that we will see them again in the post-season,” Schroeder said. “And we’ll be ready for them.”
The girls sectional tournament draw was held Sunday, Feb. 5. Defending state champion Alter is the top-seeded team in the Lebanon Upper bracket, while Carroll garnered the top seeding in the Tecumseh Lower bracket. Should both teams win their respective brackets, the two could meet again at 7:30 p.m. March 10 at Springfield High School for the regional championship.
You can reach John Bombatch at 937-372-4444, Ext. 2123.