Defeat can be used as fuel. Carroll expects to take that offseason approach.
Playing in the program’s second state final, the Patriots fell 56-45 to defending state champion Toledo Rogers in the Ohio High School Athletic Association Division II girls basketball state championship Saturday before a crowd of 3,982 at Ohio State’s Shcottenstein Center.
The Patriots finish the season 27-3. Carroll was also D-II state runner-up in 2011.
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Rogers, powered by South Carolina recruit and McDonald’s All-American Zia Cooke, finishes 27-2. The Rams are the first Toledo-based high school to win back-to-back basketball state titles.
Carroll, which shot 42 percent from the floor during a regular season in which it finished as the co-Associated Press D-II state poll champion, hit just 16-of-51 shots (31 percent) in the state final. Rogers countered with a 20-of-45 performance (44 percent).
“Our man-to-man defense was huge tonight,” Rogers head coach Lamar Smith said. “We switched it up – no zone. That was the big thing. It was all about the defense.”
Said Carroll head coach Cecilia Grosselin: “We’ve had games where those shots always fall. Today they didn’t.”
Carroll never led.
Shooting 25-5 percent from the floor in the first quarter (3-of-12), the Patriots fell behind 15-5 seven minutes in and trailed 15-7 after one period.
In the second quarter Rogers built a 17-point lead twice, the last – 26-9 – with 1:57 to play before half. Carroll, which managed two points in the first 6:19 of the second quarter, responded with a 10-0 quarter-closing run spurred by five points from junior Julia Keller and 3-pointer from senior Elisabeth Bush.
The Patriots, who made 7-of-27 first half shots (26-percent), trailed 26-19 at half.
In the third quarter, Carroll clawed as close as three points when junior Allie Stefanek’s 3-pointer made the score 29-26. Ahead 37-31 after two Bush free throws, Rogers closed the quarter and opened the fourth with a 7-0 run to push their advantage to 44-31.
Carroll cut the deficit to 49-40 with 1:57 to play but couldn’t climb closer.
Cooke, who had 37 points in Thursday’s semifinal win over Thornville Sheridan, finished with 13 points and 11 rebounds. Rogers highly touted sophomore prospect Madison Royal-Davis produced 17 points, eight rebounds and seven assists.
Keller led Carroll with 17 points, while Bush had 14 points and 12 rebounds.
Of the Carroll players that logged 15 minutes or more, five return, including four starters.
“It’s exciting to make it here, but next year we know we can make it back,” Keller said. “Even though we’re losing some good seniors this is going to make us push and work harder this offseason.”
Said Grosselin: “We should be an awesome team again next year. It’s going to require some work. But we’re going to give it a shot again.”