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Win streak continues for Warriors
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By Dan Ries
Carrollton trailed Alliance 11-0 at the 4-minute mark of the first quarter but rallied and put together three solid quarters of basketball for a 58-45 win Jan. 23 in the CHS gym.
The win was the fourth in a row for the Warriors, who improved to 5-1 on their home court.
Senior Lincoln Mallarnee scored 26 points for the winners and moved into ninth place on the CHS all-time scoring list with 882 points, passing his father, Kris, and John Lowdermilk (2008-2011). Next on the list is Joe Cernava (1977-1980) with 956.
The game couldn’t have started any worst for the Warriors. Just 1:26 into the game Carrollton’s big man inside, Andrew Birong committed his second foul and sat on the bench for much of the quarter. Alliance took advantage of his absence, and with the help of four missed layups by the Warriors, built an 11-0 lead.
Carrollton Coach Mike Aukerman called a timeout to talk to his boys and inserted Birong back into the line-up. The big man wasted no time getting the Warriors on the scoreboard with a basket. Alliance regained an 11-point margin with a basket at the 1:50 mark of the first.
The Warriors weren’t done. Two baskets by Keegan Barkan and 3-pointers by Mallarnee and Braylen Murphy, the last a running jumper as the horn sounded, brought the Warriors back, trailing 13-12.
Aukerman talked about that timeout after the game. “I told them we were not finishing. We had five missed layups in the first quarter. We were getting steals. We just weren’t finishing. I told them we have to be more aggressive,” the coach explained.
Not 10 seconds into the second quarter, Birong picked up his third foul and sat the rest of the half. Mallarnee gave his team its first lead of the game with a basket at the 5:35 mark of the second. The visitors would go on a 10-2 run over the next two and a half minutes to take a 24-15 lead with 2:59 in the half. Aviator Jaden Proctor scored nine straight points to narrow Carrollton’s lead to 26-24 at the half.
The game was tied four times in the third quarter. The Warriors never trailed and managed to increase the lead to 42-36 at the end of the third. The hosts held that six-point advantage at 48-42 with 2:49 left in the game. A three by Mallarnee followed by a steal and layup by Barkan gave the Warriors a 53-42 lead with 2:13 remaining.
The Aviators had no choice but to start fouling the Warriors, who are shooting almost 76% from the foul line. Carrollton went five-for-five at the charity stride down the line to secure the win.
Barkan contributed 13 points and Murphy added nine. Mallarnee had three 3-pointers. He now has 120 in his career. Barkan, Murphy and Everett Brooks each had one. Alliance led in rebounds 28-22. Birong pulled down 11 despite missing much of the game. The JV game was won by Alliance 46-36
Carrollton won its fifth game in a row and slid into second place in the Eastern Buckeye Conference (ECC) standings with a 51-49 road win Jan. 26 at Salem.
The Warriors never trailed, taking an 11-8 first quarter lead, 24-16 at halftime and led 40-33 heading into the final stanza. Salem would make it close at the end, but key foul shouts in the final 30 seconds by Barkan and Jayven Johnson to seal the victory.
Mallarnee led all scorers with 20 points, 15 of which came from the free throw line where he was 15/18. Birong had 15 points and pulled down 11 rebounds for his fourth double-double of the season. Mallarnee had one 3-pointer and Murphy added two.
Carrollton (7-10, 5-3) will host league-leading West Branch Feb. 2 in the homecoming game.
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