GROVE CITY — Fans in attendance Wednesday night at Central Crossing High School for the Division II Central District girls basketball semifinal between top-seeded London and No. 7 Bloom-Carroll went through a roller coaster ride of emotions.
Tremendous highs and agonizing lows were the name of the game for both squads, but in the end it was the Purple and Gold clad fans of Bloom-Carroll who were smiling and the Red Raider faithful who were wondering what-if as the Bulldogs escaped with a 46-42 victory.
With the win Bloom-Carroll advances to a D-II district championship tilt to face No. 6 Buckeye Valley Friday at Westerville Central High School. The loss brings the end to a once promising season for the Red Raiders (20-4).
The game of huge swings started from the very beginning as the Bulldogs scored the first eight points of the game to lead 8-0 just a couple minutes into the contest. London coach Kevin Long called timeout to settle his players down.
The Red Raiders answered in a big way, they scored 17 of the game’s next 19 points to take a 17-10 lead at the end of the first quarter. London’s Malorie Colwell knocked down a long two-point jumper and connected on a three-pointer early in the second to extend the advantage to 22-10.
Another Colwell three-pointer from the top of the key made it 27-14 London with 4:20 to go in the half. This time it was the Bloom-Carroll coaching staff that called timeout which changed the momentum in the contest yet again.
The Bulldogs went on a 11-0 run to bring the score two within a basket at 27-25. A Karlie Alexander basket just before the half sent London into the lockerroom with a 29-25 advantage. Unfortunately for the Raiders it wouldn’t make another basket until the fourth quarter.
London went scoreless in the third quarter, while Bloom-Carroll built a 35-29 lead heading into the final stanza.
“They made shots and we didn’t,” London coach Kevin Long said. “It’s pretty simple. We knew we needed to play a full 32 minutes and the game had its ebbs and flows but at the end of the day it was too little too late. They made their shots.”
Back-to-back baskets by Hannah Coleman got the Raiders going in the final quarter, bringing the score to 37-33. Haley Vollmer connected on a big three-point basket to extend the Bulldogs lead to 40-33 with 6:00 to go.
London kept fighting and got the game to 43-42 with 1:20 to go following a basket by Coleman, a pair of free throws from Kaitlin Patterson and a steal in the backcourt and a layup by Patterson.
Following a missed free throw by Bloom-Carroll with :46 to go in the game, London had a chance to take the lead. But Patterson stepped out of bounds while driving the baseline.
A split of a pair of free throws by the Bulldogs gave London yet another chance but Patterson couldn’t find the bottom of the net on a tying shot. London looked to have forced yet another turnover late, but Carroll was able to come up with a loose ball and Vollmer was fouled. She proceeded to knock down a pair of free throws for the 46-42 win.
“I think we lost our attack mode,” Long said of his team’s struggles to score after halftime. “We got passive, we didn’t get the angles to attack the basket, instead we were working ball around the perimeter.
“We’re a team that has to attack and we just didn’t attack. We see the end result of not attacking, not getting the bucket and not getting to the foul line.”
Reach Chris Miles at 740-852-1616, ext. 1618 or via Twitter @MadPressSports.
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