Carroll tops Clinton Prairie for sectional title

Carroll tops Clinton Prairie for sectional title


Carroll tops Clinton Prairie for sectional title


Sometimes a team just needs to win ugly.

Carroll did just that, holding off a scrappy Clinton Prairie team 40-21 Saturday night at Rossville High School in the Class A Sectional championship.

It is the Cougars’ first sectional title since 2010.

“This means a lot, especially for our seniors because we have never won one with them,” Carroll guard Libby Eller said. “I think we can go all the way.”

Carroll (21-3) travels to Tri-Central next Saturday to play the winner of Union (Modoc) and Union City in the regional.

The sectional title didn’t come easy. Carroll had beaten Clinton Prairie 60-37 in early December. But, there was something different about this game.

“There were a lot more nerves for this game than in the last one,” Eller said. “We just needed to play our best defense and we knew our offense would come.”

GBB – Carroll vs Clinton Prairie. Bench during free throw.

Carroll’s offense struggled against an aggressive 2-3 Clinton Prairie zone. The Gophers trapping forced the Cougars to start their offense almost at the mid-court line.

“We were a lot more aggressive on defense,” Clinton Prairie coach Jason Haid said. “The first time around we kind of sat back and hoped they wouldn’t hit their shots. This time we brought our defense to them and tried to trap them more. We told ourselves that if they were going to beat us, they would have to earn it.

“I thought the girls played well but we struggled on the offensive end.”

The result of the aggressive defense was holding Carroll to just 38 percent shooting and 20 points less than the first meeting.

“Jason is a great coach,” Carroll coach Chad Arnold said. “I knew his team would play hard. Defensively, they made it hard for us. They did a lot more than we thought they would. I knew they would do something to make things tough on us. That is why they got to the sectional championship.”

While Carroll struggled on the offensive end, the Cougars were dominating on the defensive end. Clinton Prairie had only eight points at halftime and just 11 through three quarters. The Gophers shot just 24 percent from the field and Carroll’s man-to-man defense forced them into 14 turnovers.

“We defended really, really well tonight,” Arnold said.

Carroll jumped out to a 10-0 lead and the Gophers could never cut the lead to single digits. The Cougars led 12-2 at the first quarter break and 20-8 at halftime. It was 27-11 going into the final quarter.

“We haven’t really played against a defense like that before but I thought we handled it well,” Eller said. “They brought their best game and played with a lot of heart.”

Eller led Carroll with 10 points. Mattyson Robison scored eight to lead Clinton Prairie (13-11).


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