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Boys Prep Basketball: Carlisle crushes rival North Cross 87-49
Carlisle sophomore center Thon Maker goes up between two North Cross defenders Saturday for a dunk during the first half of the Chiefs’ 87-49 win at Patrick Henry Community College in Martinsville. (Bulletin photo by Mike Wray)
The Carlisle Chiefs used their pressure defense and a balanced offensive attack Saturday to easily defeat North Cross 87-49 in the second day of the Carlisle Invitational at Patrick Henry Community College.
The Chiefs — coming off a huge win against No. 3 Huntington Prep on Wednesday — started off slow as Raiders guard Keith Oddo hit a jumper, Mark Dakermandji buried a three and Jack Holley a shot from the corner. What look like an early scare for Carlisle, turned into a wake-up call by the end of the opening quarter.
Chiefs guard Eric Johnson woke his team up by scoring their first six points with two 3-pointers and a layup. From there, the Chiefs attack took off grabbing the lead for good when sophomore center Thon Maker was fouled while completing a dunk following an offensive rebound. But, it was Carlisle’s relentless pressure on defense that forced North Cross into a litany of bad passes and turnovers. Most of those giveaways turned into easy buckets for the Chiefs, who led 18-11 after the first quarter.
“That was the plan for us,” Carlisle coach Jason Niblett said after the game. “We wanted them to play up tempo, and we did that by forcing them to think and move faster than they wanted to.”
Things only got worse for North Cross in the second quarter as it went scoreless for the first four minutes. Jordan Lowery snapped the cold spell by hitting a 3-pointer from the wing. The Chiefs then added to their lead when Kaleb Johnson scored nine of his 20 points in the quarter. He had two easy layups, a three and a pair of free throws. Eric Johnson also added five points in the period, while Maker scored just nine in the half.
Maker, who had a 20-point, 10-rebound effort Wednesday, played more of a role on the glass in Saturday’s game. Niblett was proud of his team’s offensive attack when Maker wasn’t the focal point of the offense.
“That means a lot for us,” Niblett said. “We have other players capable of putting the ball in the basket and, we’re not a one-man show. Thon is a great player and there’s no question about it, but our other guys are willing to step up and they did so tonight.”
Maker did turn it on in the second half scoring nine in the third quarter, including a thunderous dunk after a steal. The Chiefs’ defense kept the pressure on even after building a 20-point lead. The lead allowed Niblett to put in his subs, and although it was a sloppy quarter, Colin Cunningham, Yesid Mosquera, Sebastian Kruger and Mitchell Hamlett all got quality minutes. They combined for 12 points. Niblett was happy his reserves got into the game and were able to play strong.
“That’s what we’ve been working on finishing the game strong and they did a great job of that tonight,” he said.
North Cross coach Ed Green gave credit to the Carlisle defense in forcing the Raiders offense to play with uncomfortable rhythm.
“We had an opportunity to upset a good team tonight, but we didn’t play nearly as capable as we’re able to and you can attribute to that to Carlisle,” Green said. “They made us look bad using their speed and athleticism. They did a great job, but my team stayed in the game and played 32 minutes, so I’m proud of that.”
Oddo led North Cross with 14 points, including eight on free throws in the fourth quarter and Jordan Lowery added ten.
Everyone who played for the Chiefs scored, while Maker led the team with 22 quiet points, Kaleb Johnson added 20 and Eric Johnson chipped in with 18.
With the win the Chiefs are now 7-1 and play at 7 p.m. Monday at Mt. Zion Christian Academy.