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Carroll Christian boys basketball advances to conference title game

Thursday’s playoff game between Rosedale Baptist and Carroll Christian turned into a 3-point shooting contest of sorts, with players from both teams taking aim from long range.

The Panthers and Patriots saw mixed results, but Rosedale’s Luke Sutherland soon became Carroll’s main focus. Sutherland’s 3-pointers — five of them in the fourth quarter, to be exact — looked to be the difference-maker. Josiah Albaugh and Sean Goldsmith saved a few 3s for the final minutes, however, and Carroll Christian advanced to the Maryland Association of Christian Schools Athletic Conference finals with a 62-58 win.

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The Patriots (19-7) won their 13th consecutive game, and 15th in their last 16, fueled by a little late drama. Sutherland had 15 of his game-high 29 points (he made nine 3-pointers) in the fourth quarter, and his first 3 of the frame put Rosedale ahead 45-43. The Panthers hadn’t held a lead since early in the first, and they trailed by 14 points early in the third before Sutherland got hot.

The senior ended the third quarter with a 25-footer that cut Carroll’s lead to 43-42, and with 3:15 to go Sutherland extended Rosedale’s lead to 54-50 with another trey. Seniors Albaugh and Goldsmith made sure the home team’s first winning season in more than 20 years didn’t end early, however.

Carroll Christian's Josiah Albaugh, right, draws contact from Rosedale Baptist's VJ Moore as he works his way towards the basket during a MACSAC boys basketball playoff game at Carroll Christian School on Thursday, Feb. 20.
Carroll Christian's Josiah Albaugh, right, draws contact from Rosedale Baptist's VJ Moore as he works his way towards the basket during a MACSAC boys basketball playoff game at Carroll Christian School on Thursday, Feb. 20.(Brian Krista/Carroll County Times)

Goldsmith answered Sutherland with a 3 of his own, and two possessions later Albaugh drained one from the right arc to give the Pats a 56-55 lead. After two missed shots by Rosedale at the other end, Albaugh got the ball in the far left corner and connected again. Carroll led 59-55 with 61 seconds to play, and the noise inside the gymnasium reached its peak.

“Our shots weren’t falling in the third quarter, but we knew that they were going to start falling,” said Goldsmith, who finished with 17 points and eight assists. “We just had confidence in each other, knew what we had to get. We knew we had to get 3-pointers, especially with the way [Sutherland] was shooting.”

Rosedale committed a turnover on its next possession, and the Patriots had time on their side. Goldsmith and teammate Reggie Tinsley (nine rebounds, six blocks) converted three free throws in the final 36 seconds to seal the win, despite Sutherland landing another long 3 with 1.6 seconds to play.

Goldsmith reached a career milestone less than 3 minutes into the fourth with a 3-pointer that tied the score at 48-all — the basket allowed him to become the sixth boys player in Carroll Christian history to join the 1,000-point club. Patriots coach Matthew Reisberg used a timeout to recognize Goldsmith, who did his best to pass on the well-wishes until after the game.

The outcome was still in doubt for Carroll, which last won a MACSAC title in 1998, the same year it last had a winning record before now. Reisberg credits Albaugh and Goldsmith, among others, for being part of a culture change that started when they arrived as freshmen.

Reisberg said he felt the Pats were playing their best ball a few weeks ago before illness struck, and much of the school’s senior class felt the effects. Reisberg said Carroll Christian decided to close school for one day, not too long ago, because so many seniors were out.

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Albaugh missed the start of the second half Thursday because the guard said he was busy vomiting, still trying to recover from the flu and bronchitis.

The late 3-pointers likely soothed Albaugh’s stomach.

Carroll Christian's Cam Wooden, right, tries to block a field goal attempt by Rosedale Baptist's Luke Sutherland during a MACSAC boys basketball playoff game at Carroll Christian School on Thursday, Feb. 20.
Carroll Christian's Cam Wooden, right, tries to block a field goal attempt by Rosedale Baptist's Luke Sutherland during a MACSAC boys basketball playoff game at Carroll Christian School on Thursday, Feb. 20.(Brian Krista/Carroll County Times)

“You’ve taken all these shots in practice, you’ve taken hundreds, thousands for the season, during the summer,” Albaugh said. “We’ve practiced for this moment, and we’ve played four years for this moment.”

Albaugh scored 12 and Cam Wooden, a sophomore guard, netted 16 for Carroll Christian, which moves on to play unbeaten Frederick Christian in the MACSAC title game Saturday, Feb. 22 at 6:30 p.m. The championships are taking place at Greater Grace in Baltimore.

Reisberg said he took on coaching duties before this season (he coaches Carroll’s girls team as well) after being inspired at an open gym session during the summer. He saw the want to win, and a blend of talent and motivation up and down the roster.

“When the game is on the line you want the right people taking shots,” Reisberg said, “but any of these guys have earned the opportunity to do that. They’re a solid group.”

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Rosedale (58): AJ Brown 8, Jahlil McCellan 12, VJ Moore 6, Jeff Baker 3, Luke Sutherland 29.

Carroll Christian (62): Josiah Albaugh 12, Sean Goldsmith 17, Reggie Tinsley 5, Justin Brodbeck 4, Cam Wooden 16, Mehki Walker 5, Tavon Myers 3.

Halftime: Carroll, 33-25.

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