Maize outslugs Carroll to reach 5A State Semifinals
MAIZE, Kan. (Catch it Kansas) - It was a game that could have gone two ways. High scoring, as Maize typically plays, or a defensive battle that Bishop Carroll is known for. The latter style won out, but the Eagles ended up beating BC at their own game, a 37-33 win to advance to the 5A state semifinals in Emporia.
“I knew that if they had a lead, they had a tendency of dragging out those possessions on offense,” said Maize coach Chris Grill, “so once we got an opportunity to do that, we wanted to stay with that. We had a couple of mishaps, they caught us in a couple traps, we made a couple mistakes, but we were able to maintain a lead and knock down some free throws that kept us ahead.”
With the score at 34-33, Keegan Harrod hit a pair from the line to get the lead to three, then after a defensive stop Jacob Hanna sealed it, making one of two, enough to secure the win.
“Every single day in practice, we shoot free throws, and everyday Coach Grill always tells us ‘big game, gotta step up, gotta calm down, it’s all about toughness,’” said Hanna after sealing the win. “I’m excited for my teammates and the Maize Eagle family that I was able to put them on my back for one shot of mine.”
After a 15-all tie at halftime--fewer points than Maize averaged per quarter coming in--Carroll jumped out to a quick 7-0 spurt to gain a 22-15 lead. Then Avery Johnson took the game in his own hands to put the Eagles back in it. Back to back threes cut the deficit to one, then he added two more field goals to score all 10 of their points in the quarter--part of a team best 14 for the night.
“The defenders, they were just playing off of me, really far back, so I made one then I made another one, I was just getting hot, and I kept going to the basket. The team was feeding me the ball, opening up driving lanes, and I was just getting baskets.” said Johnson, who added he didn’t know he was responsible for all of the teams scoring in the quarter.
Though they never took the lead in the third, the momentum carried over to the 4th where they went on an 8-0 run spurred by a pair of Mason Belcher threes.
Now 21-2, Maize will head to Emporia as the top overall seed for Class 5A, a game with Kansas City Washington on tap for Friday at 3:00. Topeka West will face De Soto in the other semifinal contest.
Bishop Carroll’s season comes to an end with a 19-3 mark, the Maize loss their first to 5A competition all season long.
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