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Boys Basketball: Defense keys North Carroll's first win of new year

After giving up far too many open shots in its last two games, the North Carroll boys basketball team spent three full practices working on defense.

It showed.

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Forcing one turnover after the next, North Carroll cruised to a 66-41 victory against rival Manchester Valley on Tuesday night.

Senior Drew Schlossenberg had a game-high 16 points for North Carroll and Bo Schene had 13. But it was North Carroll's ability to pressure the Manchester Valley guards into turnovers that proved most decisive.

This was a marked improvement from the previous two games. The Panthers surrendered an average of 85.5 points to Francis Scott Key and Winters Mill.

Both teams have dangerous offenses, but coach Robbie Vaughn said the tape told the story. The North Carroll players saw the tape and knew changes needed to be made.

"It's an easy shot when nobody is around you," Vaughn said.

So the Panthers kept at it in practice and left the Manchester Valley gym with several highlight moments on the defensive end.

Senior guard Michael Ros had a second quarter steal, which led to an easy layup in transition.

The next possession? Another Ros steal.

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And the next? Another steal, this time by junior Dylan Bowen.

Those plays led to North Carroll's 33-20 lead at halftime.

"With the last two games, we felt like our defense was the reason we lost," Schlossenberg said. "That was different tonight."

Schlossenberg was the beneficiary of three third-quarter assists from guard Ryan Gerber. The Panthers played unselfish offensively, especially late with the game well in hand.

Two of the third-quarter assists for Gerber came off steals. The extra pass came after forcing turnovers.

"Team chemistry won us that game," said Schlossenberg, who also credited the North Carroll student section for making the short drive and filling the visitor bleachers.

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Manchester Valley (1-10, 0-6 county) turned to a young backcourt of freshman Dayne Koontz and sophomore Christian Krauch for extended periods of the second half. After Koontz hit a third-quarter 3-pointer, the student section chanted "he's a freshman."

No Manchester Valley player scored in double figures. Bailey Unkart and Dan Johnston each had eight points.

The Panthers (4-8, 2-4 county) left the court smiling, picking up a needed win over their rivals. North Carroll had lost three straight. This was North Carroll's first win of 2016, one made possible with backcourt pressure on defense.

"To play better defense," Vaughn said, "that was our main goal."

North Carroll (66): Drew Scholossenberg 16, Bo Schene 13, Andrew Wilmer 9, Roman Hawkins 8, Dylan Bowen 7, Michael Ros 4, Ryan Gerber 4, Ben Smith 3, Owen Kemp 2.

Manchester Valley (41): Dan Johnston 8, Bailey Unkart 8, Chandler Breeden 6, Mitch Rickabaugh 5, Remy Bydume 4, Dayne Koontz 4, Luke Winner 3, Coebe Lafferty 2, Christian Krouch 1.

Halftime: North Carroll, 33-20.

sports@carrollcountytimes.com

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