A defensive onslaught from New Haven helped the Bulldogs outlast visiting Carroll in the second half Saturday night. The Bulldogs defeated Carroll 59-51, outscoring the Chargers 35-24 after halftime following a loss to undefeated Leo on Friday.
“It was a huge win for us, especially coming off of yesterday where — not taking anything away from Leo, they’re a good team and they deserved the victory — but I didn’t think we played our best last night,” New Haven Head Coach Bruce Stephens said. “The kids were down because they know it’s a conference game and it’s a rival — it’s Leo — so for them to come back today, I thought we had balanced scoring. And, key for us today, we hit some free throws. We’ve been struggling at the free throw line — we hit them when we needed it and we got some stops when we needed it.”
The Bulldogs took a 4-0 lead early in the first quarter Saturday with Carroll going scoreless for nearly the first two-and-a-half minutes. The Chargers put some gas in the tank with threes by seniors Ryan Preston, Cody Burkey and Zach Castator, as well as a clutch steal by Cameron Hedgecock to fuel the 8-0 run for a 15-10 Carroll lead at the end of the quarter.
Despite a 3-minute dry spell in the second quarter, trailing by as many as eight points, New Haven mustered a 7-0 run to come within one point of the Chargers with four minutes left in the half. Carroll outscored the home team 7-5 down the stretch to lead 27-24 going into the locker room.
The Bulldogs scored the first six points of the second half to take their first lead since the opening minutes of the game. The third quarter saw two more lead changes with the Chargers leading 42-41 after an and-one by the Bulldogs’ Dre Wright just before the buzzer.
The Bulldogs took a 3-point run to take the lead again in the fourth quarter, meanwhile picking up the bonus with the help of three Carroll fouls. New Haven went on to increase its lead to six — the team’s biggest of the game at that point — before Burkey answered with a three with two minutes remaining, narrowing the deficit to 51-48. New Haven’s Jakar Williams answered with an and-one to spark a 5-0 run. The Chargers scored just nine points in the quarter, while the Bulldogs led by nine points before Carroll’s final basket of the night.
The Chargers were 8-of-17 from three, while struggling inside the arc with just 9-of-26 for two.
“We had lost a few of their 3-point shooters, and really that’s all they were hurting us at, so we knew if we could cover those guys up — and when Jakar and Dre get in foul trouble, it kind of hurts us — but I thought Nick Myles and JoJo Robertson did a great job today subbing in,” Stephens said. “We didn’t lose anything when they were in there, so I think that was the key, and the defense, we finally got up in them and I think Carroll struggled a little bit handling the ball, and that kind of helped us.”
New Haven senior Thomas Latham led all scorers with 15 points while pulling down 11 rebounds. Darrion Brooks and Jackson Turnwald pitched in 12 each, and Williams had 10.
Burkey led the Chargers with 12 points on four 3-pointers, while Castator added 11 points and junior Jalen Jackson had 10. Jackson pulled down a team-high 10 rebounds — all on the defensive end. The Chargers shot 9-of-10 from the free throw line, compared to New Haven’s 15-of-22.
The Chargers dropped to 8-2 — their only other loss this season coming from South Bend Adams on Dec. 22. The Bulldogs improved to 7-4 with losses to Leo, Brebeuf Jesuit, Homestead and Blackhawk Christian. All five of New Haven and Carroll’s combined losses coming into Saturday’s game had come from ranked teams.
“We’ve lost to some good teams, and we finally wanted to play a team that we thought was a quality team that probably was favored over us, and we’ve got to be able to beat those teams if we’re going to be able to do anything,” Stephens said.
New Haven returns to action against Norwell at home on Saturday. The Chargers host South Side on Friday.