Kelly helps West turn back Carroll
No one had to tell West’s boys basketball team that its 64-48 win over Bishop Carroll was a good one. But it didn’t hurt when Carroll coach Lonnie Lollar sought out West coach Phil Daignault after the game to tell him just that.
“It was an inspired effort, coach,” Lollar said just outside West’s locker room during an impromptu postgame handshake. “I just wanted to let you know I was very impressed. If that team can play like that, you can go a long, long way.”
It took four full quarters of that inspired effort for West to pull away in the game’s closing minutes. Carroll (3-5, 2-5 CL), which struggled to find rhythm against West’s disciplined 1-3-1 zone defense, still led by two points entering the fourth quarter.
Though the Pioneers (2-6, 2-5) managed just 35 points through the first three quarters, they erupted for a 29-point fourth and held Carroll to 11 for what turned into a lopsided 16-point win.
“Intensity, hunger and speed,” West senior Jordan Kelly said of the difference in the game’s final minutes. “We’re not the biggest team in the City League, let alone the entire state, but we have a lot of guards that can take the ball to the rim and use our speed to get there.”
Kelly turned in a game-high 18 points but was held to five in the first half. West’s 1-3-1 defense and a zone press made up for the team’s slow offensive start. Though his team only led by two entering the second half, Daignault decided to stick with the zone.
“I debated on changing it at halftime, but things were clicking for us even though it was a close game and it was still scary,” he said. “It’s always a gamble, just like a football coach going for it on fourth-and-1. We wanted to see how my team was going to come out in the third and so we were rolling, I wanted to keep going and we did.”
West fell behind early in the second half and lost the third quarter 15-11, but the Pioneer starters spent a portion of that time resting on the bench – another gamble by Daignault that paid off.
“I saw them start to get gassed, and I didn’t want the momentum to shift so I wanted to get them out,” he said. “You’ve got to rely on your bench. You’ve got to rely on your kids that are there every day in practice making each other better. They got in there and held things steady until I could get some guys back in there, and it worked out.”
The rested starters turned a two-point fourth quarter deficit into a double-digit win with a defensive-fueled 10-0 run that saw Carroll go a little more than seven minutes without a made basket.
West senior guard Kennedy Bates scored six points during the run and later hit a step-back three with 1:41 left to cap a nine-point fourth quarter and finish with 15.
Carroll senior Logan Bullinger scored 17 points on 6-of-16 shooting.
Carroll: Smith 2 0-0 5, Larkin 2 2-2 8, Bieberle 0 2-3 2, Hohl 2 0-1 5, Carney 0 1-0 1, Bullinger 6 5-8 17, Palmore 3 0-0 6, Loy 1 0-0 2, Bell 1 0-0 2. Totals 17 (4) 10-17 48.
West: Machado 1 2-4 4, Dw. Bradley 2 4-6 8, Bates 5 2-4 15, Robinson 1 0-0 2, Boykins 5 2-2 13, Kelly 6 5-7 18, Njai 2 0-0 4. Totals 22 (5) 15-24 64.