Boys basketball: Carroll tops Dunbar; Tipp advances

SPRINGFIELD – Carroll boys basketball coach Tim Cogan knew it wouldn’t be wise to get in a scoring contest with Dunbar in Tuesday night’s Division II sectional game. Cogan’s team averages 51 points a game. Dunbar averages 75.

The equation was simple.

The Patriots focused on addition by subtraction. They actually hit their average, and their defense was like a dam to Dunbar’s free-flowing, attack-the-basket offense. The result: Carroll 51, Dunbar 38.

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“I’m super proud of our guys’ grit to get after it and defend the way we did,” Cogan said. “We knew coming into this game we had to slow down the pace and defend and keep them in front. If they got by us, it was going to be a long night.”

The seventh-seeded Patriots (11-10) face No. 2 Tippecanoe (19-1) at 7 p.m. Friday in the district semifinal at Springfield High School.

“Tipp is very good from top to bottom,” Cogan said. “They’ve got depth, they’ve got height, they’ve got smart basketball players. They’re very well coached, and it’s going to be a very difficult game for us. We have to play well.”

Carroll focused on keeping Dunbar’s top scorers Justin O’Neal, Chanze Amerson and Darian Leslie in front of them. Leslie demanded respect from the 3-point line, but otherwise the goal was to stop dribble penetration. Amerson and O’Neal scored 11 points apiece on what was a poor shooting night for the Wolverines (12-2).

“It was very frustrating,” said first-year Dunbar coach Tony Dixon. “They won that battle. Once we turned the corner and they were there, we settled and passed it back out. We weren’t aggressive offensively the way we usually are.”

Sam Severt led the Patriots with 14 points and had to do the most work against Dunbar’s trapping, full-court pressure in the second half. Isaac Arrowood added 11 points off the bench, sparking a key 14-5 third-quarter run with two 3-pointers and a fast-break layup that pushed the Carroll lead to 41-26.

Maro Egodotaye, a 6-foot-10 senior who started playing basketball as a freshman, came off the bench and scored seven of his 11 points in the second quarter and gobbled up rebounds.

“He definitely brings a spark off the bench for sure,” Cogan said. “He’s gotten better and better and better.”

The difficult loss does not sour Dixon on his first season as head coach at his alma mater. He is a 2006 graduate and was an assistant the past two years at Thurgood Marshall.

“The program is moving in the right direction as far as the culture we’re bringing back to Dunbar basketball,” he said. “Overall, the season went well. We got a lot of good out of our season.”

Tippecanoe 64, Graham 50: Tipp senior star Ben Knostman didn’t have his best game, but his best friends had his back. Not just because they picked him up when he went to the bench for most of the second quarter with foul trouble.

Tuesday was the anniversary of Ben’s 3-year-old sister Sammy died when he was 10. As they do every year, the team dedicates the date to Sammy’s memory.

“It means a lot,” said Knostman, who scored eight points. “This goes beyond basketball. This isn’t just a basketball team. It’s a big family. This is probably my worst day, and they’re still there for me. It means a lot.”

Zach Frederick scored 21 points and Gavin Garlitz added 12 to lead the second-seeded Red Devils (19-1) into Friday’s district semifinal against Carroll.

“We were playing for something bigger than ourselves that helps unite us,” Frederick said. “It gives us that singular goal.”

Graham (13-10) lost its best player, Brady King, to fouls with 1:10 left in the third and trailing by eight. King scored 10 points against tough defense from Garlitz and Griffin Caldwell. Eric Goddard led the Falcons with 12 points.

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