FISHERS – Carmel coach Tod Windlan said Amy Dilk played “ho-hum” through the first two sectional games.
“You can’t play ho-hum tonight,” he told her.
Her response? “I’m ready.”
She backed up her words, scoring a game-high 24 points and leading Class 4A No. 5 Carmel to a 62-57 win and a sectional title over No. 6 Hamilton Southeastern
But it wasn’t just Dilk who stepped up. It was Blake Smith. Tomi Taiwo. Olivia Christy. So many more.
Smith scored five points in the third quarter to stretch Carmel’s lead. Taiwo’s 3-pointer in the fourth gave the Greyhounds some breathing room. Dilk scored half of her team’s points in the final period and hit five of her six free throws in the closing minutes. Christy hit a 3-pointer with less than 2 minutes to go that gave the Greyhounds the lead for good.
“I know Tomi can knock down shots. That’s an automatic assist,” Dilk said. “I know if I throw it to Blake, she’s going up, getting a foul and one. The trust we have for each other on and off the court is special.”
The Greyhounds’ team-wide effort spoiled a comeback effort from the Royals. Hamilton Southeastern trailed by 10 midway through the third as Bre Lloyd sat with foul trouble. But the team slowly chipped away. Sydney Parrish capped an 8-0 Royals run midway through the fourth with a game-tying 3-pointer. They had several chances to tie the game late, but Lloyd’s 3-point attempt in the final seconds was off the mark.
Lloyd finished with a team-high 16 points for Hamilton Southeastern, including seven in the fourth quarter, but the Royals struggled to replace her offense when she sat on the bench. She picked up three fouls in the first half and a fourth early in the third quarter. Tayah Irvin also was saddled with foul trouble for much of the second half.
“You’re talking about a kid that’s one of the best players in the state,” HSE coach Chris Huppenthal said of Lloyd. “It’s going to change a lot. Our bench did a great job, but they’re not those kids.”
Carmel’s defense held the Royals to 38 percent shooting and 22 percent shooting from behind the arc (5-of-22). Malea Jackson scored 14 points and Parrish scored 12. Hamilton Southeastern made 8-of-9 free throws, but Carmel was 17-of-27 from the line.
The Greyhounds played the toughest schedule in the state this season, and it paid dividends when they were faced with a must-win game in a hostile HSE environment.
“We work hard all year for this specific moment,” Dilk said. “We knew we were going to have runs and they were going to have runs. That’s just the game of basketball. We had to maintain our focus. When they were out on their runs, we had to keep our composure.”
Windlan said the team “isn’t satisfied” ahead of Saturday’s Kokomo regional that features Carroll, No. 2 Homestead and No. 3 Zionsville.
“We don’t take anything for granted,” he said. We want more.”
Follow IndyStar reporter Matthew VanTryon on Twitter: @MVanTryon.
CARMEL 62, HAMILTON SE 57
Carmel 13 19 16 14 — 62
Hamilton SE 14 14 13 16 — 57
Carmel — Olivia Christy 4-6 0-0 11, Amy Dilk 7-13 10-13 24, Molly Gillig 0-0 0-1 0, Blake Smith 4-6 1-1 9, Tomi Taiwo 3-6 2-5 10, Jasmine McWilliams 1-3 1-2 3, Mackenzie Wood 1-2 1-4 3, Reagan Hune 1-3 1-2 3. Totals: 20-40 17-27 62
Hamilton SE — Malea Jackson 6-13 0-0 14, Bre Lloyd 7-18 1-1 16, Sydney Parrish 3-14 5-6 12, Molly Walton 3-5 2-2 8, Haydn Braun 1-2 0-0 3, Amaya Hamilton 1-2 0-0 2, Tayah Irvin 1-4 0-0 2. Totals: 22-58 8-9 57
3-point goals: Carmel 5 (Christy 3, Taiwo 2) HSE 5 (Jackson 2, Lloyd, Parrish, Braun)