The NBC Championship went through Carrollton Wednesday night, it made itself comfortable and it’s going to stay awhile. There’s no doubt both West Branch and Carrollton are both heavyweights, but Carrollton managed to sweep the season series.
A huge key for Carrollton was to get up early and put some pressure on West Branch, they did just that. The Branch aren’t built to score in bunches or in a hurry. Carrollton did a great job in that aspect by taking West Branch out of their comfort zone. Though Trimmer did a great job of keeping West Branch in it, spreading the floor and letting one player dominate the ball never has been their style and never will be as long as DeShields is coaching. Carrollton put pressure on West Branch to do that on a few occasions. Carrollton took it’s biggest lead of the game at 39-30 and West Branch was in danger of losing all control.
That’s when the West Branch desperation turned to momentum as they took a late 3rd quarter run into the 4th. Less than a minute into the final period Linhart gave the West Branch Warriors their first and only lead of the game on an offensive rebound. It was short lived as Carrollton regained the lead once again and maintained it the remainder of the game. Most of the night it just felt like Carrollton was a little faster, a little more athletic, a little sharper…and I believe they are. The thing that was easy to see is that these girls from Carroll County aren’t backing down! This kind of success is new to them. By my calculation the last time Carrollton won the NBC outright I was in the 6th grade, probably sitting in detention, and not one of these girls were on this earth. West Branch is a main player year in and year out, winning or sharing the league eleven times. Carrollton wasn’t intimidated by the huge state championship poster hanging in the hall outside West Branch’s gym, and they sure weren’t in awe of the current NBC champs Wednesday night.
This Carrollton team is full of players. Good, tough players! This is not a one man band, they are very deep, with lots of talent. Rachel Devine is an excellent court general who always seemed to be in complete control of the offense and the floor. I was impressed that Devine didn’t fall into trying to outplay Trimmer, she just kept things in perspective and let her team do the talking. Ali Poole spent more time then she probably is used to on the bench but she showed a lot of maturity by not trying to force things to make up for lost time when she was in. Poole is richly blessed with talent and most of impressive may be her maturity and selflessness. Lowery holds down the paint, and she plays like she owns it! She also showed some range with a few long jumpers. Monica Starre did an excellent job defensively while giving an offensive boost. Several other players play an important and necessary part on the team.
Triummer led all scorers with 19, Carrollton was led by Lowery’s 14, 11 from Starre and 10 apiece from Devine and Schyler Fennimore. Everyone one of them played defense, led by Lowery who rebounded the heck out of the ball and got a few blocked shots.
Non-conference opponents such as Hoover, Hiland and New Philly shows they aren’t afraid to mix it up and they believe in themselves. They could easily schedule automatic wins instead but they chose to prepare and better themselves against the best. West Branch and Carrollton are both for real, and pretty young. Expect to see more of this battle for the next couple years. Mathematically the league isn’t sown up, games against Minerva, South, Alliance, Salem and Louisville still remain.