TROTWOOD — Carroll getting battle tested during the regular season has helped bring them back to a familiar stage in the postseason.
The Patriots pulled away from Waynesville to advance to the Division II District Championship game in a 66-43 victory Thursday at Trotwood High School.
It will be the sixth time in seven seasons that fourth-seeded Carroll plays for a district title.
“Before the game, I told them the old saying about fire strengthening steel,” head coach Cecilia Grosselin said. “And I made sure to say they knew they were fire tested having played Alter and Badin twice in the GCL.”
Grosselin said her girls needed the saying explained to them, but they have been showing off its validity on the court in sectional play.
Thursday’s win was the lowest margin of victory in Carroll’s three tournament games. After leading at the midway point of each game, they have combined to outscore opponents by 52 points in the second half.
“I just think it’s our bond and our ability to move the ball and our ability to trust each other,” said Eva Snyder. “Especially like when I know if I pass it to my friend, she’s going to make it.”
Both the Carroll and Waynesville programs have not been strangers to success. The Spartans had made the district final in D-III the last five years before moving up this season and earning the No. 2-seed in the sectional.
Each side has young players playing key roles, but Carroll’s are playing like seasoned veterans so far.
The Patriots shot better than 60 percent in the opening half to overcome 10 turnovers in building a six-point lead at halftime and got timely shots in the third quarter to prevent the Spartans from ever building a run to try and catch up.
Waynesville kept the score as close as seven before Meghan Parlette drained a three at the buzzer. The momentum from it carried over into the final period as Carroll went on a 11-1 run to pull away.
“Waynesville is a great team,” Grosselin said. “They’ve got great players and we feel honored to have the opportunity to play against them. That prepares us to move in tournaments.”
Ten different Carroll players scored against Waynesville with its freshman and sophomores again leading the way. Kiera Healy scored 14 points, and Maura Petrovic matched her in setting a new individual season high for herself. Ali Davis backed up her career high in the previous outing by nearly matching it with 11.
The Patriots now have a week to prepare for a third meeting with No. 2 Badin when the GCL foes play for a district title at Mason HS on Feb. 24.
“We’re so excited to have the opportunity to go and play Badin again,” Grosselin said. “I told the girls it’s an honor to go there and play in the district final.”