KETTERING — The hopes of a Carroll Patriots league title went with the failure to stop the host Alter Knights in the third quarter.
Alter broke open a 24-23 halftime margin by shutting out Carroll over a span of 7 minutes and 31 seconds. The Knights outscored the Patriots with a 13-0 scoring spree over that time span to take control of the game. Alter extended the 37-25 third-quarter lead to as much as 23 points in the fourth and cruised to a 57-39 win.
Carroll coach Tim Cogan was not happy with the way his team played, especially in that third quarter.
“We turned the ball over way too many times, and we just didn’t have very good leadership on the court, especially in that third quarter,” Cogan added.
Unofficially, Carroll turned the ball over 18 times in the game. Eight of those turnovers were coughed up in that crucial third.
A trio of Alter Knights finished in double figures in scoring in the win.
Stephen Harker led the way with 13 points scored, while Derrick Willits and Connor Bazelak both scored a dozen.
With the Patriots loss, there was probably a celebration somewhere in Middletown for Fenwick High School. Fenwick’s win over Chaminade Julienne, combined with Carroll’s loss, enabled the front-running Falcons to clinch sole possession of the Greater Catholic League Co-Ed’s North Division title.
“It definitely hurts to know we won’t win the title, but I’m really disappointed in the effort we gave in the third quarter,” Cogan said. “It’s always disappointing when you can’t win the league.”
Eli Ramsey led Carroll (11-8, 4-4 GCLC) in scoring with 11 points, and Matt Cogan finished with nine.
Alter played like they were the team contending for a league crown. Friday’s victory over Carroll was just the Knight’s second league win of the season. They’re now 6-14 overall, 2-7 in the GCLC.
“We’re very dangerous right now. I don’t think anybody wants to play us in the tournament,” Knights coach Eric Coulter said. “We are playing some good basketball.
“A lot of people don’t realize what all we’ve been through this year. We’ve had several injuries — Stephen Harker just came back from an injury — and we’re just now getting to where we’re at full strength. All those things are coming together now. With a young team, it takes awhile for young guys to get to the point where they are comfortable playing together.”
Coulter a long-time Alter assistant coach, said he took some advice from legendary Knights coach Joe Petrocelli.
“He said, ‘Just keep doing what you’re doing, and tell the guys every day to be patient and believe in themselves.’” Coulter said. “And they’re finally getting there.”
Carroll has a makeup game with CJ up next, a rare 7:30 p.m. Sunday, Feb, 11 contest on the Eagles’ home floor. The Patriots then will close out the regular season with a home game against Valley View on Tuesday, Feb. 13 and then a home contest with CJ on Friday, Feb. 16.
Contact John Bombatch at 937-372-4444, Ext. 2123.