Sibling Rivalry: Carroll earns respect, opportunity to author it’s own fairytale

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Carroll and senior Ciara Triplett are one win away from the school’s first state title. (Gary Housteau)

I’m biased. I’m rooting for Carroll High School to win Saturday’s Division
II girls basketball state final for several reasons. One of which
is the opportunity they have to step out of Alter and Chaminade
Julienne’s shadow. You ever had two siblings you tried to out-do? Saturday is Carroll’s chance.



I used to live less than a mile and a half from Carroll High School
in a small two-bedroom house where our first daughter was born. Every
day I drive to work, I pass Carroll High School on US Route 35 West.
One of my wife’s two best friends graduated from Carroll. The very
first football game I ever covered for the Dayton Daily News was at
Carroll.

I’m biased. I’m rooting for the Patriots to win Saturday’s Division
II girls basketball state final for several reasons. Another of which
is the opportunity they have to step out of Alter and Chaminade
Julienne’s shadow.

Thursday, in front of a crowd of 5,459, Carroll defeated previously
unbeaten Clyde 47-43 in a Division II state semifinal at Ohio State’s
Schottenstein Center. The Patriots will face two-time defending state
champion Shaker Heights Hathaway Brown in the state final Saturday at
10:45 a.m. HB beat Cambridge in Thursday’s other semifinal.

Growing up in suburban Dayton I was well versed in the exploits of
Alter and Chaminade Julienne high schools. Their tradition was second
to none and their annual boys basketball games at the University of
Dayton Arena were high stakes. Success in other sports – football,
soccer and girls basketball mainly – added to their legacies.

CJ alumni include Martin Sheen, Gerry Faust and Javon Ringer. Alter alumni include John and Jim Paxson and Nick Mangold.

I can’t tell you the first time I found out there was a third
catholic high school in Dayton. Or why. Carroll, for whatever reason,
was never relevant athletically while I was growing up and never
important to me.

Times have changed drastically.

I have a greater appreciation for Carroll now and the Patriots are
arguably in the midst of the school’s greatest athletic run ever.

Eight times in the last 10 years the Patriots football team has made
the playoffs. Twice (2004 and 2005) Carroll has advanced to the state
semifinals.

Five times in the last eight years the Carroll boys soccer team has
made the state semifinals and twice in the last three seasons,
including this past fall, the Patriots have won state championships.

The school’s cross country programs have also had success on the state level.

Saturday, Carroll’s girls basketball team gets a chance to add the
school’s second state title this year and the first for a girls team in
school history. That’s a huge opportunity.

Alter owns 19 state championships in eight sports.

CJ owns 10 in six.

Carroll owns three in one (boys soccer).

“I’ve been there nine years and before I got there I don’t think
Carroll had won a tournament game for 10-15 years,” Carroll head coach
Rob Berry said. “So we got a group of girls together and we’ve been
striving for this since we started. It’s not just this group (but the
others that came before too). It’s very tough when you have to beat CJ
and Alter, which have been perennial powers. I know the boys have three
state titles and it would be nice for the girls to do it too.”

Carroll has been close before. Twice in the last six years the
Patriots have made the regional finals in girls basketball. In 2006
they fell to Little Miami. In 2008 they lost to Alter.

This year Carroll debuted as the No. 1 team in the state in the
OGBR/JJHuddle Power Poll and opened with a 13-game win streak, which
was the longest of Berry’s career. Mired by some midseason injuries to
standouts Kelly Austria and Ciara Triplett, the Patriots followed with
a four-game losing skid, also the coach’s longest.

Once healthy, Carroll started its current win streak (10 games) with
a convincing 64-37 win over then undefeated and state-ranked Bellbrook.

Undefeated Clyde was its latest victim.

The Patriots dictated play and held the Fliers, who averaged 69
points per game, to their lowest output of the season. In fact, it was
the first time Clyde failed to reach 50 points.

Austria, a junior who has committed to Dayton, led the way with 19
points, nine rebounds and six steals. Triplett, a 6-6 senior headed to
Wright State and the state tournament’s tallest player, added 10
points, 10 rebounds and four blocks.

Now Carroll tries to complete the trifecta and give each Dayton
catholic school a girls basketball state title. CJ won championships in
1999, 2003 and 2005. Alter won its lone title in 2008.

This year the Patriots were 4-1 against CJ and Alter.

Saturday they hope to go 1-0 against Hathaway Brown.

“It’s not anybody else’s year,” Triplett said. “It’s our year.”

Added Berry: “We’ve prepared from Day One for the game we’re going to play Saturday.”

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