INDIANAPOLIS – Standing outside the locker room, looking down at the box score in hands, Scott Heady saw some statistics that caught his eye.
A team with six players standing 6-4 or taller, Carmel had been out-rebounded by Lawrence North, 30-22, for the first time all season. The Greyhounds also played held the Wildcats to south of 35 percent shooting, an attribute they have felt has gotten strong over the past several weeks.
In Heady’s eyes, though, neither of those statistics were the important one in the 50-48 victory over Lawrence North.
“The key tonight was nine turnovers in a three-overtime game,” Heady said. “That was, more than anything, what won the game for us. We took care of the ball and limited our turnovers.”
Lawrence North (12-5) got just eight points off turnovers, and spent the majority of regulation cutting away at a deficit Carmel (14-3) slapped them with in the early minutes of the first quarter. Only once in 44 minutes of basketball did the Wildcats hold a lead, despite being within striking distance since late in the third quarter.
While not even a night Heady would consider his best, senior guard Sterling Brown led all scorers with 20 points, hitting four 3-pointers. PJ Baron added another 10 points, four rebounds and a blocked shot.
Kevin Easley paced the Wildcats with 12 points, but shot just 3-for-14 from the field, missing a few down the stretch under pressure from the Greyhounds defense.
Another telling moment Heady wouldn’t find on the stat sheet didn’t begin until near the end of regulation, but he was certainly aware of it.
With less than a minute to play, Carmel starting center John Michael Mulloy was called for his fifth foul, and Britt Beery entered the game after playing spot minutes in the previous 31 minutes. At 6-6, Beery offers a big, physical presence in the paint, but lacks some of the agile maneuvers necessary in a basketball star — he is, after all, committed to play defensive end next year at IU.
The ball landed in Beery’s hands right under the hoop with the score tied at 46 and the final second falling off the clock. He threw up his shot, a good shot, but one that came too late. Thus began the first of three overtime periods, in which both teams scored a combined six points.
But Beery, who played for all 12 minutes of overtime, got his shot at redemption again in the third overtime when he grabbed the ball, twisted his body and threw up a go-ahead layup to give Carmel the permanent lead.
“Obviously, it’s a good win,” Heady said. “It puts us in good position to now where we’re in the mix for a conference championship possibly. That’s all we wanted to do, be in mid-February, late February, playing for a conference championship possibly.”
North Central controls floor in win over Lawrence Central
Not once did the No. 5 Panthers seem to be letting the game slip away of them. North Central (16-3) controlled Lawrence Central (6-8) for the entire duration of the 60-53 victory, even when the Bears took off on multipossession scoring runs.
Some of that comes with the territory of being one of the best Class 4A teams in the state. But Panthers coach Doug Mitchell felt some of the credit also went to his team’s ability to adjust when things weren’t going their way.
“We were up and gave up 15 offensive rebounds — you can’t do that,” Mitchell said. “I thought we learned our lesson and came back from that, fixed that problem, which that happens.”
In the fourth quarter, the Bears began to finally see their shots connecting, and trimmed down a double-digit deficit that held up for much of the second quarter. But the Panthers sunk 9 of 13 free throws in the latter half.
Emmanuel Little and UCLA commit Kris Wilkes each scored 20 points for the Panthers. Donyell Meredith led the Bears with 11 points.
“They knocked down some shots that they had not been making,” Mitchell said. “They were tough shots. We had hands in the face, they made them, but I never felt like we were not in control of that game.”
Follow IndyStar reporter Jordan J. Wilson on Twitter: @Wilsonable07.
NORTH CENTRAL 60, LAWRENCE CENTRAL 53
NORTH CENTRAL — 21 14 11 14 — 60
LAWRENCE CENTRAL — 10 11 11 21 — 53
North Central (16-3) — Davon Bradley 4-6 2-3 10, Mateo Rivera 2-4 2-3 7, DJ Johnson 1-4 0-0 3, Emmanuel Little 5-15 9-11 20, Kris Wilkes 8-13 1-4 20, Donald Lee 0-2 0-1 0, Caleb Pack 0-1 0-0 0, Chayce Rowe 0-2 0-0 0.
Lawrence Central (6-8) — Daveon Bell 4-11 1-1 10, Donyell Meredith 4-14 0-0 11, KJ Davis 3-9 0-0 7, Eric Easter 3-10 1-1 8, Wesley Jordan 3-6 2-2 8, Gary Gillard 4-14 1-2 9, Jasuan Vance 0-1 0-2 0, Marlon Sam 0-1 0-0 0, Jaden Terry 0-2 0-0 0.
CARMEL 50, LAWRENCE NORTH 48, 3OT
CARMEL — 18 6 12 10 2 0 2 — 50
LAWRENCE NORTH — 12 5 15 12 2 0 0 — 48
Carmel (14-3) — Cole Jenkins 1-7 0-0 3, Sterling Brown 6-18 4-7 20, Jalen Whack 2-4 0-0 5, PJ Baron 4-10 2-3 10, John Michael Mulloy 2-6 0-0 4, Luke Heady 2-3 0-0 4, Britt Beery 1-1 2-2 4.
Lawrence North (12-5) — Antwaan Cushingberry 3-11 3-6 12, Mike Saunders 1-8 2-2 4, Dexter Shouse 1-4 0-0 3, Ra Kpedi 4-6 3-5 11, Kevin Easley 4-13 2-2 12, Dalen Davis 2-2 0-0 4, Jared Hankins 1-2 0-0 2.