BB: 4A #1 state champ Carmel escapes 4A #12 Lawrence North, 48-43
February 3, 2013Hoosier Authority
By Scott Hunt
National Sports Journalism Center Intern
INDIANAPOLIS – The Greyhound Express is still rolling, and a second consecutive Metropolitan Interscholastic Conference title is now in plain view for defending Class 4A state champion Carmel.
The top-ranked Greyhounds (14-1 overall, 5-0 in MIC) overcame a pair of scoreless droughts of more than five-and-a-half minutes each Feb. 1 to defeat 4A No. 12 host Lawrence North, 48-43, and put a stranglehold on the 2012-13 MIC trophy.
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“It doesn’t matter who you’re playing – you’ve got to be ready to play, and you’ve got to play well to get wins in the MIC, especially on the road,” said Scott Heady, Carmel’s third-year head coach. “This is a good win for our guys. We’ll celebrate it for a little while, but when we leave the gym it’s over and we’ve got to look to the next one.”
Carmel’s formula for success under Heady starts with toughness, both mental and physical. On this night, the Greyhounds needed all the toughness they could muster to get past the Wildcats.
Lawrence North (12-4, 3-2) bolted to a 12-3 lead in the first quarter thanks to its 2-3 zone defense that held Carmel scoreless for nearly six minutes.
But sophomore Ryan Cline drew a charging foul for the Greyhounds on the defensive end, then knocked down his second 3-pointer of the game to stop the Wildcats’ run and swing momentum back in Carmel’s favor.
The 6’2” Cline added three more treys in the second quarter on his way to a game-high 20 points, including six 3-pointers. The Greyhounds hit five threes in the second quarter alone to take a 28-22 lead into halftime.
“(Cline) kept us in that game early,” said Carmel senior point guard Michael Volovic. “They could have made a run and had a chance to finish the game early, but Ryan kept us in the game and that was really big for us.
“It was big for his confidence being that he is just a sophomore.”
As one of four guards in Carmel’s lineup, Cline spent a lot of time defensively matched up with one of Lawrence North’s front-line players, all of whom go 6’7” or taller.
“(Cline) rebounded well and battled against guys that were just bigger and stronger,” Heady said. “That’s what I was more impressed with him than anything.”
Carmel and LN each made 17 field goals, but nine of the Greyhounds’ hoops came from beyond the 3-point arc while the Wildcats connected on only 1 of 11 from distance.
“I just shoot the ball,” Cline said. “Michael Volovic, James Crowley, James Volovic, and Zach (McRoberts) – they all get me open,” Cline said. “They create for me, and when they create for me I get open shots.
“I just focus and shoot the ball.”
Crowley added 16 points for Carmel, with McRoberts submitting a crazily balanced effort of six points, seven rebounds, four assists, and two steals.
Michael Volovic scored four points and dished out five assists, too. But aside from running his team, the 5’10” floor leader was tasked with guarding Lawrence North standout Basil Smotherman for much of the night.
Smotherman, a 6’7” Purdue recruit, led the Wildcats with 18 points. But Volovic and his teammates gave him no easy looks or baskets, a feat that helped set the tone for the game.
“He’s a tough matchup, but I thought Mike – who was giving up almost a foot in height – did a great job and made him work for everything he got,” Heady said. “We put Zach on him in the second half as a different look at 6’6”.
“He didn’t get anything easy.”
Carmel built its lead to 42-33 entering the fourth quarter but didn’t score a point until Cline made a layup with 2:30 remaining in the game.
The Wildcats got a Smotherman bucket and pair of free throws from junior Terrell Davis to close within five at 42-37. Lawrence North then used a full-court press that forced turnovers on Carmel’s next two possessions, but the ’Cats couldn’t capitalize with any points.
After Cline’s only 2-point bucket, Smotherman hit the Wildcats’ only trey and Davis scored on a putback to make it 44-42 in favor of the ’Hounds.
Crowley scored Carmel’s final four points, including two free throws with five seconds left, to cement his team’s victory.
“Our guys know that we’re going to defend consistently and play with a toughness consistently,” Heady said. “If we do that, offensively we’re going to make runs.
“As long as were defending, rebounding, and playing with toughness, then we feel like we’ve got enough guys that can score that we’re going to get going.”
Next up for the Greyhounds, who thumped visiting Zionsville 51-28 on Saturday, is a Feb. 7 home showdown with 4A No. 2 Hamilton Southeastern (14-2). Lawrence North, meanwhile, was able to refocus to upset those same second-ranked Royals at home Saturday by a 70-67 count.
The Wildcats’ reward is a Feb. 7 trip to 4A No. 17 Ben Davis (11-5, 3-3) for another MIC battle.