DAYTON – The Dayton Carroll Patriots were all about defense Friday night in their 50-42 Sectional final win over Kenton Ridge. The now 17-5 Patriots advance to the District for the third consecutive season where they will play Wyoming next Friday.
Coming into the game Carroll coach Rob Berry knew there were two possible avenues for this game to take; a game in the eighties or one in the forties, he got the latter.
“We thought the game would be 80-80 or 40-40 and we tried the 80-80 in the first period scoring almost 20 points,” said Berry. “After playing a man-to-man we switched into a 3-2 zone to guard the three point shooting and this really slowed the game down.”
That defense not only slowed down the game, but it shutdown Kenton Ridge’s high flying guard Sakara House. Coming into the game averaging nearly 20 points per game, House was held to six points and did not score until the fourth period.
On the other end of the court the Pats turned to Shante Jones. The Iowa bound guard delivered with a game high 20 points, most coming inside the paint. Brogan Berry added 11 points.
“Shante is a real slasher and that is why she is going to the next level at Iowa. She is very hard to guard for one person,” said Berry.
The opening eight minutes saw a lot of running, shooting and scoring. The two teams combined for 34 points as they traded buckets. A late surge by the Patriots gave them a 19-15 advantage after one period of play.
Looking like this was going to be a typical Kenton Ridge game Carroll slammed on the breaks and turned up the defense. In a stunning turn of events, the Cougars were held to a mere three points in the period and only one field goal.
The game did a complete 180 turn and went from up and down to slow it down. Both offenses disappeared and the defenses took over. When the horn sounded on the first half the Patriots were up 26-18 and in control because of their defense.
Kenton Ridge on the other hand to big problems. First they were struggling on offense, but even more important was Sakara House had been tagged with three personal fouls. This limited her aggressiveness on defense and offense.
When the two teams returned it was clear Carroll was not about to let the tempo crank back up. But they did attack a bit more on offense. The Patriots went on a 4-0 run, taking a 30-18 lead very early in the period.
The rest of the period Carroll maintained a double digit advantage, but Kenton was finding some holes in the defense. Led by Saira House, who finished with 16 points, the Cougars were able to get going, putting up 12 points in the period.
But it was still 40-30 heading into the final eight minutes of play and the Patriots defense was still in control.
In the final stanza the Cougars were able make a couple of charges. A steal by Sakara and a field goal cut the deficit to 41-34 and things started to get interesting. However, Carroll remained calm, handled the Kenton pressure and pushed forward.
Carroll kept Kenton at arm’s length, sealing the deal by holding onto the ball and making free throws down the stretch.
“I think our league is the toughest league in the state. Our schedule really prepares us for games like this,” said Berry.