The Journal Gazette
Wednesday, January 05, 2022 1:00 am

Carroll 64 Norwell 60

Late steal seals the deal for Chargers

VICTORIA JACOBSEN | The Journal Gazette

Carroll had been taking the ball from Norwell all night, racking up nine steals in the first 31-plus minutes of its 64-60 home win Tuesday. 

And that trend continued in the final minute.

With Carroll leading by one and 20 seconds left to play, Chargers junior Taylor Fordyce tipped the ball away from Norwell's Kennedy Fuelling, took possession around half court and didn't slow down on her way to a layup. She was fouled as she went up for the shot and hit the free throw to give her team a 62-58 lead.

That play halted a comeback by the Knights that had nearly erased Carroll's 18-point lead. 

“I just really didn't want to lose this game,” Fordyce said. “The past couple games we've lost because we weren't playing tough enough. I didn't want to lose, and my only thought was getting the ball and scoring.”

Fordyce finished with a career-high 30 points and added four steals. She hit four 3-pointers, including two in the second quarter that helped the Chargers build their first sizable lead. 

“Taylor is a very tough player one-on-one. She can beat you off the dribble, she can step back, she can hit 3s,” Carroll coach Mark Redding said. “Early on the in the game, she was hitting 3s. At the end of the game, she was taking the ball to the basket. And that's what makes her such a talented offensive player.”

Kayla Gibbs, who led the team with five steals, added 10 points and Alexis Castator scored eight.

Emily Todd and Skyla Tomasek each scored 14 for the Knights. Fuelling and Makenzie Fuess each had 12.

The Knights (12-4) kept up with the Chargers (9-7), at least on the scoreboard, into the second quarter, but Norwell coach Eric Thornton said Carroll's ability to take the ball away was a clear sign of trouble.

“I thought early on we were very tentative, I thought we came out scared,” he said. “The way they were scoring, a lot of it was off of those types of steals, and we can't guard run outs like that on live turnovers.”

Carroll led 33-26 at halftime, and after a 9-0 Chargers run in the third quarter it seemed that the Knights had been put away for the night. 

But Fuelling hit her first 3-pointer of the night in the fourth quarter to make the score 54-39 and ignite a 12-0 run. The rally was briefly interrupted when Fordyce hit one of two free throws, but Mackinzie Toliver, who had not yet hit a shot, connected on a 3-pointer to further shave the lead to 55-51. Fuess scored to make it a one-possession game, and a 3-pointer by Todd briefly gave Norwell a 56-55 lead before Carroll wrestled it back with free throws by Castator and Fordyce. 

“It showed character,” Redding said of his team's ability to retake the lead and hold on for the win. “When they took the lead, it showed a lot about our team, they did not panic. ... That shows the experience we had as a team, because generally teams that give up a 17-point lead will be cautious, they don't want the ball. But we did, and we didn't panic.” 

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