No. 1 Carmel survives scare, wins 47-43 over Zionsville

No. 1 Carmel survives scare, wins 47-43 over Zionsville

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No. 1 Carmel survives scare, wins 47-43 over Zionsville

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Noblesville, Ind. – The clock tick, tick, ticked under six minutes and two-time defending Class 4A state champion Carmel found itself in a five-point hole against Zionsville.

If the end wasn’t near, it was at least closing in. A little too close for senior Zach McRoberts.

“You try not to think about it, but at the same time you can’t let it end,” McRoberts said. “That’s all I was thinking.”

McRoberts hit the go-ahead shot with 1:08 left to lift top-ranked Carmel to a 47-43 comeback win over Zionsville on Wednesday in a Sectional 8 first-round game. The Greyhounds (20-1) will play ninth-ranked North Central – a 90-64 winner over Westfield in the nightcap – at 7:30 p.m. Friday.

Carmel hasn’t faced many situations this season where it’s needed a rally. Carmel coach Scott Heady implored his team to pick up the defensive pressure early in the fourth quarter as Zionsville burned the clock with methodical possessions.

“I give our guys a lot of credit for being able to make plays in that situation,” Heady said. “These guys have been in a lot of big games.”

It looked a little bleak for Carmel, trailing 35-30. But Keegan Culp capped a 7-0 run with a 3-pointer to give the Greyhounds the lead with 3:26 left. Zionsville (13-7), which wasn’t competitive with Carmel in a 43-26 loss a month ago, went back ahead on a 3-pointer by Braden Hall and two free throws from Alex Sibila before Culp drained another 3 to tie it 40-40 with 2:08 left.

After a Zionsville missed shot, Heady called timeout with 1:22 left. The plan was to look for a good shot in the first 30 seconds. If nothing materialized, the Greyhounds would play for a final shot.

McRoberts found himself open in the middle of the Zionsville 2-3 zone early in the possession and confidently knocked down a 15-foot jumper.

“We wanted to run our motion offense and see what we could get,” said McRoberts, who led Carmel with 16 points. “I felt like that was a good shot. We were moving the ball around pretty well and it opened up that space.”

Zionsville turned it over on the following possession and Ryan Cline made two free throws to push Carmel’s lead to 44-40. Michael Sollman then pulled Zionsville within one point on 3-pointer with 30.6 seconds left. The Greyhounds beat Zionsville’s pressure as Culp scored on a layup and Zionsville missed a potential game-tying 3.

Carmel’s Parker Bernhold made one of two free throws to ice it with 3.6 seconds left.

Zionsville coach Shaun Busick praised Carmel’s toughness, but also said his team had a lot to be proud of.

“I thought we played great and played with a lot of passion,” Busick said. “There was no fear. We weren’t afraid of Carmel. We felt like we could beat them and felt like we should have beat them.”

Braden Hall was 4-for-5 from the 3-point line and led Zionsville with 14 points. Sollman added 11 points and the 7-foot Smits had 10.

North Central (16-6) had little trouble with Westfield (2-19) in the second game. The Panthers ran their winning streak to 11 games by shooting 62 percent as sophomore guard K.J. Lesure scored 17 of his 19 points in the first half.

Westfield senior Tyler Osswald had 26 points in his final game.

North Central will meet Carmel in Friday’s second semifinal, following the 6 p.m. game between third-ranked Hamilton Southeastern (20-3) and host Noblesville (14-6). North Central lost by 12 to Carmel earlier this year and were beaten soundly by the Greyhounds in last year’s sectional championship, 58-38.

“It’s a team where you have minimize your mistakes,” North Central coach Doug Mitchell said of Carmel. “But they have to play us just like we have to play them. I think we’re playing pretty good right now. I look forward to it and I know our young men look forward to it.”

Call Star reporter Kyle Neddenriep at (317) 444-6649.

Zionsville……1081510- 43

Carmel …159419- 47

Zionsville (13-7) – Michael Sollman 4 0-1 11, Alex Sibila 0 5-6 5, Derrik Smits 5 0-0 10, Braden Hall 5 0-0 14, Jake Mann 1 0-0 3, Jack Pilcher 0 0-0 0, Guerin Wagner 0 0-0 0, Chris Pappas 0 0-0 0. Totals: 15 5-7 43.

Carmel (20-1) – Keegan Culp 4 0-0 11, Zach McRoberts 8 0-0 16, Ryan Cline 2 2-2 8, Michael Bruns 1 4-4 7, Parker Bernhold 1 3-4 5, Preston Flamion 0 0-0 0, Liam Duncan 0 0-0 0. Totals: 16 9-10 47.

3-point goals: Zionsville 8 (Hall 4, Sollman 3, Mann), Carmel 6 (Culp 3, Cline 2, Bruns)

Westfield……14172112- 64

North Central …25282116- 90

Westfield (2-19) – Tyler Osswald 9 5-5 26, Kyle Nicole 1 2-3 5, Spencer Tebbe 2 0-0 5, Devin Reece 1 0-0 2, Ian Kristensen 1 0-0 3, Charlie Warner 1 2-2 4, Nick Ferrer 2 5-6 9, Chandler Kemp 2 0-1 4, Matt Kinney 1 0-0 2, Sawyer Olsen 2 0-1 4. Totals: 22 14-18 64.

North Central (16-6) – Jordan Walker 3 4-5 11, Wes Stowers 3 0-0 6, K.J. Lesure 8 0-0 19, Tyrie Johnson 2 1-2 5, Eron Gordon 3 0-0 7, Philip Toles 1 2-2 4, Jeff Harris 2 4-5 10, Daniel Jones 0 0-0 0, Michael Loggan 3 1-1 7, Kris Wilkes 6 0-2 12, Antonio Singleton 3 3-3 9. Totals: 34 15-20 90.

3-point goals: Westfield 6 (Osswald 3, Nicole, Tebbe, Kristensen), North Central 7 (Lesure 3, Harris 2, Walker, Gordon)

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