CARMEL – On a night when Zach Gunn passed Gary Harris to become the school’s all-time scoring leader, there was nothing more the Hamilton Southeastern senior wanted than a win over rival Carmel.
As it turned out, Gunn got both.
The 6-6 standout finished with 27 points and eight rebounds as Hamilton Southeastern rolled past Class 4A seventh-ranked Carmel 72-51. A win over the Greyhounds was a long time coming for Gunn, who hadn’t played in a win over Carmel since the sectional his freshman year.
Four consecutive losses in the series were difficult to stomach.
“It was fun to beat them,” Gunn said. “But more than likely were going to see them again. Hopefully when that comes we’ll win that one as well.”
It seems destined that the teams will meet again in Sectional 8, which will also be played on Carmel’s home floor. The teams have met in the sectional each of the past three years with the winner taking the sectional title each time. If it does happen, the Royals (17-4) can take plenty of confidence from Friday’s performance.
“We’ve shown glimpses here and there, but as we came into February we really wanted to harp on getting better on the defensive end,” HSE coach Brian Satterfield said. “Tonight I thought we really locked in for 32 minutes. Any time we do that, it gives us an opportunity to be pretty good. As we got some stops, it also created some things for us on the offensive end.”
HSE took a 33-20 lead into halftime and put Carmel (14-4) away with a 8-0 run in the first two minutes of the second half. The Greyhounds, shooting just 4-for-20 from the 3-point line on the night, were never seriously a part of the game from that point forward.
Connor Rotterman, a 6-1 senior who recently committed to Wabash, added 16 points, seven rebounds and four assists for the Royals. Rotterman’s no-look pass to Gunn for a breakaway dunk ignited the HSE student section in the third quarter.
“We played together and shared the ball,” Rotterman said. “I think that unselfishness was a big factor for us.”
Carmel hadn’t lost by 20 or more points since the second game of last season, a 75-51 loss to IndyStar Mr. Basketball Kyle Guy and Lawrence Central. It was the worst home loss in Scott Heady’s seven seasons as coach at Carmel.
Heady didn’t have to search long to find a positive about Friday’s game.
“The good news is we have a game on Saturday (at Carroll),” he said. “That’s what we talked about. Give HSE credit because they beat us in every aspect. It hasn’t happened like that around here in a long time. They physically beat us. They were tougher than we were on both ends.”
Sterling Brown led Carmel with 20 points, but it came on 6-for-17 shooting. P.J. Baron added 10 points and eight rebounds.
Brown said the Greyhounds have to learn from Friday’s game or it will be the same result if the teams meet again.
“They want to beat us,” he said. “They want to punk Carmel. And I don’t think we responded well. They were hitting some shots, but if you don’t think in sectional guys are going to hit shots, you’re mistaken. We have to find a way dig in and get stops and make things happen. It’s a growing process for this team right now. We have to be tougher.”
Harris, the 2012 IndyStar Mr. Basketball, finished his career at HSE with 1,552 points. Gunn passed the Denver Nuggets guard in the fourth quarter and now stands at the top with 1,557 points.
But on Gunn’s mind already is another potential meeting with Carmel.
“I’m sure we’ll meet them again,” he said. “And we’ll have to be ready.”
Call IndyStar reporter Kyle Neddenriep at (317) 444-6649. Follow him on Twitter: @KyleNeddenriep.
HAMILTON SOUTHEASTERN 72, CARMEL 51
HSE 11 22 20 19 — 72
Carmel 9 11 12 19 — 51
HSE (17-4) — Davidson 0 8-8 8, Etherington 2 0-0 5, Rotterman 5 4-4 16, Smith 0 0-0 0, Gunn 10 5-5 27, Birchfield 2 0-0 4, Holzum 2 0-0 5, Bowman 1 0-1 2, Mutchner 0 2-2 2, Shank 1 0-0 3. Totals: 23 19-20 72.
Carmel (14-4) — Jenkins 0 0-0 0, Brown 6 5-6 20, Heady 1 3-4 6, Baron 4 2-4 10, Mulloy 3 1-2 7, Whack 0 0-0 0, Falender 1 4-5 6, Gill 1 0-0 2, Beery 0 0-0 0. Totals: 16 15-22 51.
3-point goals: HSE 7 (Gunn 2, Rotterman 2, Holzum, Shank, Etherington), Carmel 4 (Brown 3, Heady).