For the second week in a row, the Chargers got off to an early lead and never looked back. For three weeks straight, they’ve remained unscathed.
The Carroll basketball team opened conference play Friday with a 66-45 win over Concordia on the road, improving to 4-0 on the season.
“I thought we did some really good things,” Carroll Head Coach Marty Beasley said. “Early on, we pushed the ball in transition very well, made some easy baskets there. I thought Concordia did a really, really good job of spreading us out a little bit and hitting a lot of shots. I thought they were the aggressor in the second half, especially on the boards, but we’re happy with the win.”
It was the third double-digit win for Carroll so far this season, and the first return to action since blowing out East Noble by 39 points Dec. 5.
The first quarter of Friday’s matchup saw four lead changes before Carroll took off on an 8-point run to lead 15-8, thanks to four straight missed baskets by the Cadets.
The Chargers led by as many as 18 points in the second quarter with junior Jalen Jackson scoring three straight baskets to close out the team’s first-half scoring. Jackson led all scorers with 15 points in the first two quarters to help the Chargers lead 36-21 at halftime.
Concordia’s Joe Tapp opened third-quarter scoring with a 3-pointer, but the Cadets weren’t able to score again until Tapp made another 3-point play — this time an and-one — nearly five minutes later after Carroll put up another 8-0 run to extend its lead to 19. The Cadets turned that into their own 8-point run to trail the Chargers 44-32. Jackson made a pair of free throws, and he and teammate Logan Lankenau scored back-to-back and-ones in the final minutes of the quarter to put Carroll up 52-32. The Chargers were a perfect 7-of-7 from the foul line through the first three quarters of the game — an improvement from the team’s previous performances this season.
“It’s been a weakness so far — we’ve not made free throws,” Beasley said. “We’ve shot a lot more free throws in practice, put a lot more pressure on them in practice to make free throws. It’s just a concentration thing, it’s a mental toughness thing, and you go up there and collect your thoughts and take a deep breath and make the free throw. They did a nice job early on.”
The Chargers led by as many as 23 points in the fourth quarter, outscoring Concordia 14-13 in the final eight minutes of play.
“(They’re) unselfish, move the basketball,” Beasley said of his team. “I think that when we move the basketball, we have a number of guys that can score and shoot it and attack the basket so that we stay unselfish and move the ball and take what they give us — that’s good. And then we’ve got to defend, and I thought our defense was pretty decent early on. I wasn’t pleased with it kind of midway through the second and the third, but that happens.”
Jackson scored a game-high 26 points Friday while pulling down nine rebounds. Senior Sam Strycker earned his first double-double of the season with 10 points and 10 boards.
Luke Speckhard led the Cadets with 12 points on the night. Concordia scored a total of nine baskets from beyond the arc, including three by Speckhard, a pair each by Brandon Davis and David Speckhard, and one each by Eli Mattox and Tapp.
The Chargers out-rebounded the Cadets 37-22.
Carroll will travel to Wayne on Dec. 18.