Basketball

Carmel's furious comeback comes up short in regional final

Fifth-ranked Carmel fell short of reaching the semistate.

Fifth-ranked Carmel fell short of reaching the semistate.

KOKOMO –
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The Carmel comeback happened so fast. But the clock ticked faster. In the end, Class 4A No. 2 Homestead held on for a 63-59 win over the No. 5 Greyhounds to clinch a third consecutive girls basketball regional title.

Carmel trailed the Spartans by 19 late in the third quarter after a Homestead scoring blitz. With Amy Dilk in foul trouble, it looked like the odds of a Carmel comeback were infinitesimal. But then the comeback came, fast and furious.

The Greyhounds (23-4) cut the deficit to 12 with three minutes to play. A Dilk 3-point play with 2:10 to go made it a six-point game. Another 3-point play by Dilk made it a one-point game 30 seconds later. After Karissa McLaughlin hit a pair of free throws for Homestead, Dilk made it a one-possession game with another layup. McLaughlin hit two more free throws with 70 seconds to go, but Jasmine McWilliams hit two for Carmel.

Then with 30 seconds to go, Carmel had a chance at a score-tying 3-pointer. It was up, halfway down and rimmed out.

“It’s a game of bounces,” Carmel coach Tod Windlan said. “If that ball goes in, it’s tied up at 60-all and we may be out there (celebrating).”

The Greyhounds had another chance to tie with a 3, but missed. The Spartans (26-2) iced the game at the free-throw line. They hit 22-of-32 in the contest.

Dilk finished with a game-high 21 points, including 10 of her team’s 31 in the fourth. But it wasn’t quite enough. McLaughlin led Homestead with 19.

“Every single player contributed to this win,” McLaughlin said. “I have goosebumps thinking about it. We’re ready to go home and celebrate, but we’re not finished yet. We have a lot of business to take care of.”

Homestead coach Rod Parker commended his seniors McLaughlin and Madisen Parker for their response to his message during the timeout after Carmel made it a one-point game. They combined for 34 points.

“Look, this is your game to win. You’ve got the experience,” he told them. “We’re going to get the ball in your hands. Take us home.”

Homestead led 19-13 at halftime, but a 5-0 Carmel run to start the half made it a one-point game early in the third. But after that, the Spartans outscored the Greyhounds 21-10 in the quarter and led by 12 heading into the fourth.

Windlan said his team’s comeback was an embodiment of the program.

“I’ve never been more proud of a team I’ve coached,” he said. “The heart, desire and never-give-up attitude we preach in our program reared its ugly head on Homestead tonight.”

Follow IndyStar reporter Matthew VanTryon on Twitter: @MVanTryon.

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HOMESTEAD 63, CARMEL 59

Carmel            8  5   15    31  — 59

Homestead     9  10  21   23  — 63

Carmel (23-4) — Olivia Christy 2-6 2-2 7, Amy Dilk 8-20 5-6 21, Blake Smith 5-8 10, Tomi Taiwo 2-8 5-6 9, Jasmine McWilliams 1-1 6-6 8, Reagan Hune 1-1 2, Maddi Sears 1-2 2. Totals: 20-46 18-20 59

Homestead (26-2) — Madisen Parker 5-15 3-4 15, Teryn Kline 1-2 1-2 4, Karissa McLaughlin 4-14 9-10 19, Haley Swing 2-3 5-8 9, Sydney Graber 1-1 0-2 2, Jazmyne Geist 5-10 2-4 12. Totals: 18-45 22-32 63

3-point goals: Carmel 1 (Christy) Homestead 5 (McLaughlin 2, Parker 2, Kline)