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The Journal Gazette

Friday, February 03, 2017 7:59 pm

Carroll girls end Snider's season

JOSH PATTERSON | For The Journal Gazette

Tweet. And tweet again. It’s the shrillness of the referee’s whistle.

For Carroll’s Kelli Damman, that cacophonous noise never sounded sweeter. The junior scored a game-high 26 points, including a 14-of-16 effort at the free-throw line, as the Chargers defeated Snider on Friday, 71-60, in the second semifinal of the Class 4A Northrop Sectional.

The victory for Carroll (17-6) avenged a loss in the regular-season finale to the Panthers (14-7) and secured a berth in tonight’s title game against defending champion East Noble, who defeated the host Bruins in the other semifinal, 54-44.

“We’re so excited,” Damman said of the chance to unseat the Knights as sectional champions. “We’ve been waiting for this for a while.”

Damman wasn’t the only Charger to notch double-digit attempts from the line, as Becca Villanueva sank nine of her 14 free throws to add 13 points. Does playing in a game where the teams combined for 49 fouls and 65 free throws wear you out?

Not really.

“We practice a lot of shooting,” Damman said. “In the moment, adrenaline’s going, so I didn’t really feel any fatigue.”

Having just played Snider one week prior, Carroll coach Mark Redding explained that the game plan didn’t really change. The execution was just better – namely, getting into open spaces a half-step quicker than the Panthers.

“They didn’t get transition, so we were able to get set up,” Redding said. “Last time, we weren’t getting down there so we didn’t get that advantage.”

In her final game for Snider, Kyla Covington led the team with 20 points, but found two factors slowing her down. She was battling an illness, according to coach Greg Friend, and picked up her second foul with 2 minutes, 23 seconds left in the first quarter.

Covington wouldn’t commit her third foul until the game’s waning moments, but did get subbed out on multiple occasions. That said, her effort under difficult circumstances served as a microcosm of Snider’s season as a whole.

“She tried her best,” Friend said. “That’s the way these kids these were this year.

“They played hard all year. They had a lot of things that were going on, and I think they did a wonderful job this year.”

Damman’s three-pointer at the first quarter buzzer gave Carroll a 17-14 lead at the first stop. The Chargers then opened the second quarter on a 10-0 run, keeping Snider from scoring until just 86 seconds before halftime.

The Panthers trimmed a 13-point deficit to one with 5:31 left in the third, but a 14-2 Carroll run pushed the Chargers to a 48-35 advantage after three. Carroll then scored 16 points at the foul line in the fourth quarter to secure the win.