Girls basketball: Carroll, Valley View advance to district finals

Carroll’s Julia Keller and Valley View’s Abigail Dickson didn’t try to force offense in their respective Division II district semifinals Monday night at Lebanon High School. But when the fourth quarters began they were offensive forces in their own ways.

Keller worked inside to give Carroll the boost it needed to put away Badin 40-22 in the opener. Dickson did it from the outside and the free-throw line to lift Valley View to a 44-36 victory over Chaminade Julienne.

Top-seeded Carroll (20-5), on a quest to return to the state final where it lost last year, will face No. 2 Trotwood-Madison (12-9) at 9 p.m. Friday in a district final at Mason High School. Valley View (21-3), a No. 2 seed, faces another No.2, Cincinnati Indian Hill (21-4), at 5. The middle game at 7 will be a battle of No. 1s Tippecanoe (21-4) and Cincinnati Roger Bacon (18-7).

Carroll did enough in the third quarter to turn a two-point halftime lead into a 26-19 lead after the third quarter. The lead was enough to force Badin out of what had been an effective zone into man-to-man defense.

“I was excited,” Keller said. “We’re stronger against the man-to-man. We play more aggressively and gives all of us a better opportunity to score.”

Keller, the Patriots’ leading scorer and the first concern on every opponent’s scouting report, scored three baskets in the first two minutes of the fourth quarter and the Patriots were off an running with a 32-19 lead. Keller finished with 12 points and Sarah Ochs scored 10.

“We were off to a little bit of slow start in the first half – nerves and getting everybody in sync,” Carroll coach Cecilia Grosselin said. “The second half they definitely turned it up both offensively and defensively.”

The Patriots held the Rams to seven second-half points. The Rams were unable to get shots near the basket, and their perimeter shooting didn’t save them. They made two of 16 shots in the second half and one of 13 3-point attempts for the game. Badin was the second-best 3-point shooting team behind Carroll in the GCL.

“Our zone was pretty effective,” Badin coach Tom Sunderman said. “The thing that hurt us was we just didn’t make shots. First quarter we did a good job of getting downhill, and then the second and third quarter they kept pushing us to the three-point line. And it made for quicker shots for shooters.”

Valley View spent most of its game passing around CJ’s zone looking for openings. After CJ ran off seven straight points late in the third quarter for a 25-19 lead, the Spartans got more aggressive and outscored the Eagles 25-11. Claire Henson scored the Spartans’ last seven points of the third in the final 1:26 to cut the CJ lead to 27-26.

The fourth quarter belonged to junior point guard Abigail Dickson. She opened the fourth with a 3-pointer and jumper just inside the 3-point arc. Then she stole the ball as the Eagles hurried up the floor. That led to two free throws by Lauren Legate and the Spartans were up 33-27. During the final four minutes the Spartans were patient, the Eagles had to foul and the Spartans made eight straight free throws. Dickson made the first six and scored 11 of her game-high 13 points in the quarter. Henson and Legate scored 10 each.

“Once the ball’s in Abigail Dickson’s hands I feel pretty confident,” Valley View coach Steve Dickson said. “I trust my daughter a lot in that situation because she’s been through a lot.”

The Spartans are back at districts for the third time in five years and are trying to return to regionals for the second straight year.

“It’s a good feeling.” Abigail Dickson said. “We’ve got confidence. It’s good for our community, for our family, for our team. It gives the whole Valley View schools a big boost.”

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