Carroll Christian needed overtime to get past Arlington Baptist last week during the Maryland Association of Christian Schools Athletic Conference tournament.
The Patriots dropped their next two conference tourney games, however, and limped into the Maryland Christian Schools Tournament quarterfinals with a sub-.500 record. But when they got a chance to face the Eagles once more, overtime wasn’t even a thought.
Carroll set the tone with a big first-quarter push and never looked back, thumping Arlington 71-46 at home for a state tournament victory Tuesday evening.
The Patriots (13-14) got 16 points from junior Josiah Albaugh and a career-high 14 from freshman Cam Wooden. Junior Sean Goldsmith netted 10 points, and Matt Maldonado scored nine.
Carroll Christian led 21-8 after the first quarter, and closed the frame on a 16-2 run to pull away early. It was 36-17 at halftime, and 55-33 by the end of the third.
The Pats enjoyed their second win over Arlington Baptist, but the first one required a little extra work — Carroll edged the Lions 68-57 in OT on Feb. 19.
Albaugh, the team’s leading scorer with around 16.5 points per game, said a more aggressive approach was the difference this time.
“We’re trying to change our mentality,” Albaugh said. “Our basketball team hasn’t been good in so long, and we’re just try to change a losing mentality into a winning mentality.”
Albaugh said the Patriots started clicking after their Christmas break, when the MACSAC schedule heated up and a young team began jelling. Carroll Christian has two seniors on its roster, led by Maldonado, but includes four freshmen and four sophomores.
Maldonado is the team’s go-to player in the post, but he’s not the only frontcourt contributor. Justin Brodbeck, a junior forward, gets in the paint, along with Goldsmith. Albaugh and his fellow guards attack inside, too.
Nearly everyone chipped in Tuesday, with nine players scoring and a few reserves getting a chance to pitch in.
Carroll’s bench players roared when Wooden drained 3-pointers on successive possessions midway through the third quarter, the second of which gave the Patriots a 46-28 lead. Early in the fourth, freshman Akem Kpuyuf swished a arching 3-pointer that sparked a teammate from the sideline to yell “No way!” as the ball headed toward the net.
Kpuyuf did it again a few minutes later, setting off another outburst, and Carroll led 65-38.
“Playing with confidence,” Pats coach Jon Andrews said about his squad. “Tonight we came out ready to play.”
Andrews is in his fourth year as Carroll Christian’s coach. When he arrived, the Patriots had won one game in each of the previous two seasons. Last winter, the Pats finished 8-17 and went 2-8 in MACSAC play.
This season included three conference wins, and a MACSAC tourney victory. Thanks to Tuesday’s MCST win, the Patriots advance to the semifinals Friday at New Life Academy in Frederick.
Carroll Christian faces Harford Christian at 7:45 p.m. The Pats lost twice to Harford during the regular season by a combined 13 points, and Andrews said his side missed 15 free throws in the second matchup.
Carroll’s game plan Tuesday was to get the ball down low with consistency, which worked. If the Patriots do it again Friday, Andrews has a chance to take down Harford for the first time.
“It’s building on the fundamentals. The kids have a lot more talent too,” Andrews said. “Just getting the reps, learning the drills, working hard in practice. This is the fruits of it.”
Arlington Baptist (46): Tony Leonard 9, Jaden Jackson 4, Malcolm Dash 2, Corey Godbolt 2, David Sewell 6, Nate Cox 8, Ben Rehn 2, Mecca Dickens 13.
Carroll Christian (71): Cam Wooden 14, Josiah Albaugh 14, Sean Goldsmith 10, Matt Maldonado 9, Justin Brodbeck 5, Elan Taluy 3, Akem Kpuyuf 6, Shane Boylan 2, Josh Maldonado 4.