Steel-High no match for surging Carroll

READING — Ten seconds into Tuesday’s PIAA Class AAA second-round contest, Archbishop Carroll’s David Beatty stared down the face of Steelton-Highspire’s 3-2 zone defense, spotted up and nailed a 3-pointer.

The time it took the ball to swish its way through the nylon was the last time the result of the game was in any serious doubt.

Beatty and his Patriots ran roughshod, tallying an 83-54 win over the Steamrollers at Reading High School’s Geigle Complex.

“It makes the game a lot easier for us when we come out with a lot of energy,’ point guard Josh Sharkey said. “We were focused and wanted to make a statement. I think we started off great, and that’s how the game went.’

The win earns the Patriots a date with District 7’s New Castle, the fourth seed that upset WPIAL champ Indiana, 50-43, Tuesday. That’s the same New Castle team that cut down the nets in Hershey last season.

Carroll’s spurts were awe-inspiring and far too much even for a team with a championship pedigree like the District Threee top seed to handle. Carroll scored the game’s first 11 points and led 27-5 after one quarter and 44-17 at the half in sending much of the Geigle audience to early exits.

It took Steel-High until 2:48 was showing in the third quarter to hit the 27-point mark that Carroll had posted after one quarter.

“It’s tough when we have a big lead to stay focused, but that’s what we have to do,’ said Sharkey, who finished with 16 points and eight assists. “We have to keep our foot on the pedal. Just because we have a big lead it still means we have to keep playing and finish strong.’

The halftime spread was only so manageable thanks to the choppiness of a parade of fouls that limited the time Beatty, Sharkey and Derrick Jones were on the court.

Making it dominance all the more remarkable was the fact that Carroll (21-6) didn’t play terribly well by its standards. Thanks largely to the shambolic brand of basketball Steel-High opted for — it was whistled for 30 fouls and had three players foulrf out, one in the third quarter — Carroll’s offense was ragged at times, committing 12 turnovers and missing 16 free throws in their 42 trips to the charity stripe. They capitalized on the Steamrollers’ abundance of mistakes, but the helter-skelter nature of the contest meant that sustained execution was elusive.

What Carroll unequivocally managed was to overwhelm a short Steel-High squad on the glass, collecting 47 rebounds to Steel-High’s 34. The margin at halftime was 28-11, and much like the score, the final result was cushioned by a fourth quarter played against the reserves.

“I think we just wanted to start playing hard, bring the energy on defense because we knew we could pressure them,’ said Ryan Daly, who scored 19 points to go with 13 boards. “Once we built that huge lead, we just tried to keep on rebounding and get in transition.’

After three quarters, Carroll still had the Steamrollers doubled up on the scoreboard at 64-32. It was only through an 11-2 Steel-High run to start the fourth quarter that the Steamrollers stabilized the margin in the 20s.

Despite all the herky-jerky play introduced by the Steamrollers’ attempt to win the physicality of the game if nothing else, Carroll lit up the scoreboard when it needed to and kept the pressure on even when the suspense of the final result had long since vanished.

Derrick Jones scored 25 points on 10-for-12 shooting to go with 12 rebounds. He had six dunks in the first three quarters while Steel-High as a team had 11 made baskets. A couple of his jams quite literally rocked the rims, causing a brief stoppage for an adjustment.

Daly scored 15 of his points in the first half to go with the dogged effort on the boards. Collectively, they kept their focus on the game, even as the extracurricular chippiness ramped up.

“When we get a big lead, obviously the other team is upset,’ Sharkey said. “They’re going to try to get us out of the game. Coach Paul (Romanczuk) just told us to keep our head and just to stay focused and don’t get into anything stupid because we’ve got more games to play.’

Drequan Fleming kept Steel-High in touch with 18 points. Jaqui Jenkins provided seven of his 13 in the fourth quarter.

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