Carroll’s boys basketball team dominated East Noble 65-26 on the road Saturday to improve to a perfect 3-0 start to the season with conference play on the horizon.

The Chargers’ defense churned out 11 steals on the night to deny the Knights a single scoring run greater than two points.

“When we played Penn, we weren’t in our gaps, we were getting split, we were allowing easy buckets, so this game we wanted to focus on getting back in transition, getting back and talking especially and staying focused on the defensive end — and our defense led to many steals and transition buckets,” Carroll junior Jalen Jackson said.

Senior Ryan Preston got things heated up for Carroll right out of the gate, shooting a three and dunking on the following possession to give the Chargers an early 5-0 lead. Not a single one of the team’s buckets was isolated through the first eight minutes, as they posted unanswered runs of five, six and eight points, respectively. The Chargers led 22-8 following a final buzzer-beating three by senior Cody Burkey. Five different Chargers recorded points in the quarter.

Carroll played lights out defense in the second quarter, holding the Knights scoreless for seven minutes straight while extending their lead by 16, including eight points from Jackson. East Noble’s only basket of the quarter was scored in the final minute before halftime. The Chargers led 38-10.

Twelve of Carroll’s 15 third-quarter points came from three-pointers, including one by Preston, one by sophomore Charlie Rudolph and two by Burkey. Meanwhile, the Knights scored 10 points — their most in any quarter — to trail 53-20.

Jackson scored a pair of buckets in the fourth quarter to cap off a game-high 18-point performance, in addition to pulling down six boards. The Carroll junior is currently averaging 23 points per game.

“It’s good to always be with the guys,” Jackson said. “It’s a fun group of guys, our chemistry is right there, we work hard, we play defense, and I think we did a pretty solid job only letting them score 26 points. This is a game where we just wanted to get better, to be honest, but we take every game the same. We always want to come out with a strong attack and just focus.”

The Chargers out-rebounded the Knights 33-19. In addition to Jackson’s 18 points, Preston scored 13 and Burkey added 12. Senior Sam Strycker led the team in rebounds with nine.

The Chargers return to action Friday in a doubleheader against Concordia (1-1) to open conference play. The Cadets are coming off a 48-46 win Dec. 1 over Bellmont.

Last season, Carroll went 7-2 in conference play to finish third in the SAC.

“I feel like we’re always slept on every year,” Jackson said. “I feel like we always have a chip on our shoulder and we always want to be an underdog … but we have the mindset to compete with everybody and give it our all, 100% every day.”

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