Posted On: 03/11/18 5:00 PM
Carmel v Fort Wayne North Side
With the way that the season had unfolded for Fort Wayne North Side, the game could have gone either way but the first few minutes were crucial to their success in the Championship. Carmel was the same way as they had Homestead beat early in the Regional Semi-Final but almost let that lead slip away but getting away from what got them the lead. Both teams were heading to the Championship with wavering levels of confidence in their play earlier that morning and throughout the season.
Fort Wayne North Side was sitting at 21-5 after knocking off Zionsville earlier in the morning while Carmel moved to 19-7 after beating Homestead in the Semi-Finals. The Legends had a new look this season after adding Lucas Kroft and Austin Boucher to the roster. They had returning experience from last season’s State Runner-Up finish with Junior Keion Brooks Jr and Senior Brandon Johnson. North Side needed the two of them to help lead the new guys in the Regional Championship. Carmel on the other hand was coming off a season where they lost to Fort Wayne North Side in the Regional Championship and they were ready for revenge.
Although the teams are separated by 120 miles, they are very familiar with each other. John Michael Mulloy and Keion Brooks both play for the Indy Heat program on the EYBL Circuit and both teams were returning guys from last year’s Regional Championship game.
From the tip, Carmel was better. They executed their offensive sets and took advantage of the game situations when they presented themselves. Early on, they were going to John Michael Mulloy on the block and he was able to draw two fouls on Keion Brooks in the first quarter. The Legends offense became a bit stagnant as the first quarter wound down and Eddie Gill was playing superb defense on Brooks. Brandan Johnson was his typical self, slashing to the basket and finishing well around length in traffic. Carmel lead 17-12 after the first quarter Gill and Jenkins were also able to pitch in on the offensive end.
The game was much of the same in the second quarter as North Side still struggled to get into any sort of rhythm on offense. Lucas Kroft was able to shut John Michael Mulloy down on the block but Keion picked up his third foul in the quarter and had to sit for the remainder of the half. Jalen Whack scored a quick six points off the bench in the quarter and was excellent hitting the backboards. Starting point guard Cole Jenkins went down with an ankle injury and didn’t return until late in the fourth quarter. Luke Heady took over the primary ball handling responsibilities which gave him the opportunity to showcase his court vision and leadership abilities. Carmel lead 29-20 at the half and North Side could feel the game starting to slip away.
Carmel came out in the third quarter with the same intensity that they started the game and they were able to put the game away in the third quarter. North Side was only able to muster up six points in the third quarter and couldn’t seem to get key parties involved when they needed them most. Andrew Owens got involved in the Carmel offense as they executed sets and put together a clinic in the half court. He was the beneficiary of a few nice passes out of a double team from John Michael Mulloy and then proceeded to knock down a corner three that forced a Legend timeout. North Side trailed 40-26 heading into the final frame and didn’t have an answer for Carmel’s stifling defense and poise on offense.
Keion Brooks came alive in the fourth quarter, scoring twelve of his twenty on the night. He looked great out of the gate hitting back-to-back three-pointers on the left wing with a contesting defender and then a tough turn-around jumper on the baseline with two defenders coming out at him. As the fourth quarter started, he created space around the basket and got himself to the free-throw line. That kick-started a small run by the Legends but they were never within single digits of the Greyhounds. Carmel’s poise in the half court and active defense was the story of the game. They made the plays they needed to when they needed to. Nothing was going to stop them from avenging their loss last season in the Regional Championship. Carmel held the lead all the way through the fourth quarter and walked away with a 54-42 win.
The Carmel Greyhounds are Regional Champions and will face South Bend Riley on Saturday, March 17th at Lafayette Jeff High School for a chance to play at State. North Side finished the season at 21-6.
Jalen Whack (2018) – 13 points (4-7 2FG, 0-2 3FG, and 5-8 FT), 7 rebounds (6 defensive and 1 offensive), 2 steals, and 1 block
Andrew Owens (2019) – 13 points (3-5 2FG, 1-1 3FG, 4-4 FT) and 5 rebounds (4 defensive and 1 offensive)
Eddie Gill Jr (2018) – 8 points (1-4 2FG, 1-1 3FG, and 3-3 FT), 5 rebounds (3 defensive and 2 offensive), 2 steals, and 1 assist
John Michael Mulloy (2019) – 6 points (2-7 2FG and 2-2 FT), 8 rebounds (6 defensive and 2 offensive), 2 assists, and 2 blocks
Luke Heady (2019) – 4 points (1-2 2FG, 0-1 3FG, and 2-2 FT), 5 assists, 2 offensive rebounds, 1 steal, and 1 block
Keion Brooks Jr (2019) – 20 points (3-6 2FG, 2-7 3FG, and 8-11 FT), 7 rebounds (4 defensive and 3 offensive), 2 blocks, 2 steals, and 1 assist
Brandan Johnson (2018) – 9 points (4-8 2FG, 0-1 3FG, and 1-1 FT), 3 rebounds (2 defensive and 1 offensive), 2 assists, and 2 steals
Austin Boucher (2018) – 8 points (1-2 2FG, 0-3 3FG, and 6-7 FT), 4 rebounds (3 defensive and 1 offensive), and 4 assists