Bloom-Carroll finishes strong, stifles Berne Union rally

CARROLL – There’s no better feeling for a manager than to see his team react during difficult times, execute and do what they have to do to win a game.

After taking a 12-1 lead to start the game against visiting Bern Union, Bloom-Carroll knew the Rockets wouldn’t walk away quietly, and they certainly didn’t.

Berne Union showed a lot of fighting and a lot of grit and came back to tie the game at 35-35 early in the fourth quarter, but the Bulldogs never flinched. Instead, they finished strong, executed at both ends of the field, and outscored the Rockets 15-5 in the final four minutes of the game.

Bloom-Carroll did everything throughout the stretch, including forcing two big turnovers that resulted in runs and went 6-for-6 at the free-throw line in the final 40 seconds to retire for a 50-win. 40 off conference Thursday night. at the Tom Petty Gym.

“We wanted to go out and get a good start and we did, which gave us some confidence,” Bloom-Carroll senior Reese Pittman said. “We did everything to win. We locked down the defense late in the game and we made free throws. It’s nice to see the ort team come together, and it has everything to do with our team chemistry. We all shoot for each other and that has made a huge difference, and it really shows in tight matches like these.

Bloom-Carroll coach AJ Ireland was happy with how his side started and finished the game.

“We felt like we had to come out with a lot of energy, a lot of effort and play with a lot of enthusiasm and we did that,” Ireland said. “Even though we got off to such a good start, we knew they were a good team and no matter what happened early on, we knew it was going to be a dogfight. They are well trained and they have good players. I’m so proud of how hard our girls played.

Bern Union's Abbe Evans (0) attempts to fight an opening for a shot against Bloom-Carroll during girls' varsity basketball action at Bloom-Carroll High School in Carroll, Ohio on January 20, 2022.

The Bulldogs, who improved to 12-3, have now won eight of their last nine games, and they are receiving contributions from many different players and Tuesday was no different.

They had a balanced offense with four players scoring in double figures, led by second Emily Bratton, who finished with 15 points and five assists. Pittman finished with 13 points, while Marissa Wilkinson hit three 3-pointers and finished with 11 points and Emma Seagraves had 11 points, six rebounds and went 5 for 7 from the free throw line.

“We want everyone to be a threat on the pitch, but more than anything it shows how much they love playing together and they thrive on the success of their teammates,” Ireland said. This group comes to practice wanting to improve every day. They understand there will be ups and downs, but as long as we stick together, we’ll be fine and we’ll continue to be successful.

It’s been a tough week for the Rockets (9-2), who are ranked No. 5 in the state in the Associated Press Division IV poll. They suffered their first loss of the season on Wednesday against Zanesville Rosecrans, and it followed not playing or training for over a week due to COVID protocols.

Even though Berne Union fell short against the Bulldogs, Rocket head coach Matt Little was happy with how his team responded and, more importantly, how they competed.

“We were looking to see how we would react after a tough loss because it was very disappointing, and when we were down 12-1 I was worried and wondering if I was going to react in the right way,” said Little. “It was good to see us fight back and not give in. We could have turned around and used excuses, but thanks to our kids, they tried really hard.

“We’re disappointed to have lost, but it’s hard to be disappointed with the effort we put in. We had a few breakdowns at the end of the match, we got a little impatient and we rushed some things late when we really didn’t need them.

The Rockets did a good job fighting back and managed to cut the Bulldogs’ lead to 16-10 at the end of the first quarter and trailed 27-23 at halftime. Bloom-Carroll took a 35-30 lead in the fourth quarter, but the Rockets managed to tie it at 35-35 on a 3-pointer from Hannah Brown and a short jumper from Sophia Kline.

From there, it was all Bloom-Carroll. Pittman drained a 3-pointer to give the Bulldogs a 39-37 lead with 3:28 left, sparking a 10-0 run.

Kline led the Rockets with 13 points, 14 rebounds and two assists and Lauren Groves, who connected on 3-pointers in the first half, finished with 12 points. Brown added six points and two assists, and Abbi Evans had five points.

Tom Wilson is a sports reporter for the Lancaster Eagle Gazette. Contact him at 740-689-5150 or email [email protected] for comment or story advice. Follow him on Twitter @twil2323.

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