As a promising freshman two seasons ago at Carroll High School, Julia Keller faced a formidable challenge in every girls basketball practice: Amanda Schroeder.
»» PHOTOS: Carroll at Alter girls basketball
Schroeder has since become an All-American record-setter at Sinclair Community College. And Keller? The 6-foot junior center is happy to follow Schroeder’s lead.
“She definitely inspired me my freshman year,” said Keller following Wednesday night’s 43-32 dodging of rival and host Alter. “Just competing with her for a spot. It definitely feels good to take over where she left off.”
»» RELATED: Carroll football coach resigns
»» RELATED: Carroll, Minster No. 1 in girls basketball polls
That isn’t the only role switch to evolve in Patriots girls basketball.
Carroll was christened the state’s top-ranked Division II team following the debut of the Associated Press state polls on Tuesday. The Patriots hadn’t held such a lofty position since future University of Dayton standout Kelley Austria was unguardable in the 2011-13 seasons.
It also signaled a switch in highbrow roles for the Greater Catholic League Co-Ed North rivals. Alter, featuring four-year starters Braxtin Miller (Oklahoma State) and Libby Bazelak (Duquesne), won three D-II state championships from 2015-17. Now, it’s Carroll that’s seeking to re-establish that GCL North dominance.
“It’s our time,” said Keller, who scored a game-high 18 points. “I’m really excited about that.”
»» FACEBOOK: For more sports you should like Marc Pendleton
»» TWITTER: You should like @MarcPendleton
Elisabeth Bush added 11 points for the Patriots, who improved to 13-0 and a leading 6-0 in the GCL North. It also was the third straight Carroll defeat of Alter after sweeping both games last season and snapping the Knights’ streak of four straight North divisional titles. Fittingly, the rematch is the regular season finale at Carroll on Wednesday, Feb. 6.
Carroll had a 16-10 season end last year with a stinging overtime loss to Franklin in a district final. With a mostly underclass lineup returning, Carroll landed a spot in the upcoming Premier Health Flyin’ to the Hoop against defending D-IV state champion and unbeaten Minster (12-0), which also was voted No. 1 in the state this week.
“We try not to put too much stock into polls,” Carroll coach Cecilia Grosselin said. “We have goals as a team and we want our girls to improve as a team. Our focus is on the future.”
»» RELATED: Another GWOC football coach resigns
»» DRAGONS: Bolivar returns as manager for third season
Alter (6-6, 1-3) was led by Julia Paley’s 10 points.
“Those (Carroll) kids who are juniors now were freshmen when we had those great three games against them,” Alter coach Chris Hart said. “I’m sure they remember that. We’d love to be able to try and compete at that level with them again.”
• Senior Rachel Gillum converted two free throws with three seconds left in OT as Springboro stunned visiting Tecumseh 72-70 in a non-league game on Wednesday. The Panthers evened their record at 7-7. Tecumseh (7-3) had a seven-game win streak snapped.
»» RELATED: Girls state basketball polls
»» RELATED: Boys state basketball polls
• Centerville, No. 5 in the D-I girls state poll, won its third straight and improved to 13-1 overall and 6-0 in the Greater Western Ohio Conference National East with a 52-29 rout of visiting Miamisburg on Wednesday. Sophomore guard Amy Velasco led the Elks with 14 points.
• Morgan Haney of Miami East scored a school-record 36 points in Monday’s 71-33 non-league win at Urbana. Miami East took a 10-3 record into Thursday’s game at Newton and at 6-1 trailed Covington and Tri-Village by just one game in the Cross County Conference standings.
»» RELATED: It’s a record for Brookville senior
»» RELATED: Butler gets defensive at Fairborn
• Arcanum’s Hailey Unger scored a game-high 27 points and tied a Trojans record with six 3-pointers in a 74-24 non-league defeat of Dixie. Teammate Taylor Gray had 15 points and 11 rebounds, her ninth double-double.
• Springfield athletic director Mike Dellapina is anticipating a sellout when the Wildcats (7-3, 6-0) host Wayne (6-5, 4-1) in a key GWOC National East boys basketball showdown on Friday.
»» PHOTOS: Butler at Fairborn boys basketball
»» RELATED: Centerville takes out Kenton Ridge
Presale tickets are available at both schools. No tickets will be sold at the door. Springfield season ticket holders and senior citizen passes will be honored, but not for staff. Only Springfield and Wayne GWOC passes will be honored.
• High-scoring Trotwood-Madison (8-1) will host Butler (10-1) in a great GWOC crossover boys game on Friday. The Rams, No. 2 in the debut of the D-II state poll, are averaging 102.8 points following a season-high 138-48 blitz of visiting Greenville on Tuesday. Butler has won four straight since falling in OT to Sidney.
• Xenia senior Samari Curtis matched his season-high of 47 points in an 80-70 loss at Sidney on Tuesday. The Cincinnati signee leads the GWOC in scoring (31.7) and hasn’t accounted for less than 20 points for the Bucs (5-5). He also went for 47 in a 100-90 shootout defeat of West Carrollton.
»» PHOTOS: Centerville at Kenton Ridge girls basketball
»» RELATED: Tipp football coach resigns after 4 seasons
»» RELATED: “Fire” fuels Stivers boys
»» RELATED: Alter football assistant “will be missed”
»» RELATED: Boys basketball power rankings
»» PHOTOS: Tippecanoe at Fairmont girls basketball
»» PHOTOS: GMVWA Holiday Tournament, Day 2
»» RELATED: Streaking Fairmont girls take out Tipp
»» RELATED: Tecumseh record-setter on a pin mission
»» PHOTOS: GMVWA Holiday Tournament
»» FOOTBALL: Channell resigns as Miamisburg coach
»» RELATED: Holiday tourney a match for area wrestlers
»» RELATED: Family connection for Springfield wrestler
»» GRAHAM COACH: “It’s a blast and I’m loving it”
»» RELATED: Girls basketball power rankings
»» RELATED: Northmont pair headed to Big Ten
»» PHOTOS: Signing day at Northmont
»» RELATED: Football signees, who’s going where
»» RELATED: Butler tagged with first loss in OT to Sidney
»» PHOTOS: Sidney at Butler, boys basketball
»» RELATED: No. 1 Elks defeat No. 2 Warriors
»» PHOTOS: Wayne at Centerville, girls basketball
»» RELATED: Unbeaten CJ defeats rival Alter
»» RELATED: Unbeaten Trotwood overwhelms Xenia
»» PHOTOS: Xenia at Trotwood-Madison, boys hoop
»» RELATED: More shakeup for the GWOC
»» RELATED: GWOC membership votes Trotwood-Madison out
»» RELATED: Trotwood-Madison voted out of GWOC
»» PHOTOS: Butler at Northmont, boys basketball
»» RELATED: Two more added to 50-plus club
»» RELATED: UC lands Xenia standout
»» RELATED: List of area seniors who signed