SHOOTER: Déjà vu and hurt feelings as Carroll reminds us it isn’t just sneaky good in win over North Side
There has to be some hurt feelings, but there has to be a lot of déjà vu.
Someone has to replay that for me. Did Carroll just beat North Side in By Hey Arena at the buzzer with a three- pointer in front of Carroll’s bench? Is it 2016? Where is Kelham Brown and didn’t his eligibility run out?
Turns out, it wasn’t Brown at all who calmly drained that three on Tuesday night at North Side in a 64-61 Chargers victory. It was Nathan Fish. Just call it an exclamation point that keeps Carroll in the Summit Athletic Conference title conversation. A conversation that could come down to, like 2016, the Chargers and Homestead. Like Shooter said: déjà vu.
I will be the first to admit it, Shooter has slept on the Chargers. When last I saw them in person, they were underwhelming in a SAC Holiday Tournament loss to Homestead. And then, without any warning or much notice, they haven’t lost since. Ten — that is ten — wins in a row after the win over North.
It was while Carroll was warming up on Tuesday that I realized how much I’ve neglected them, including my season-long best friend David Ejah. It was while I was pointing out to Mrs. Shooter and our middle tadpole how many legitimate scoring threats that the Chargers have that I realized North Side was in for a long night for reasons other than its own shortcomings.
Dan McKeeman and Riley Perlich. Reece Swoverland and Arius Jones. My main man Ejah and oh yeah, Fish.
And I, the guru of prep hoops, slept on these guys. Even after all my failed girls sectional picks of last week, this is the thing that is going to be hardest to live down. Carroll chipped away at North Side all night, snuffing the spark of each Legends run with a reminder that Charger basketball is a machine. Shot after shot after shot. North Side coaches and fans wanted the Legends to get a better hand up on defense, but it wouldn’t have mattered. Carroll’s shooters showed up and that should be expected. From Perlich bucketing the first three of the game right down to Fish’s game-winner, you have to expect the Chargers to hit their shots.
The Chargers are also showing that they can score at the basket because of the machine-like qualities that have driven their fundamental approach over the years. Perlich’s 18 points and Ejah’s 11 were straight products of the machine. Both played aggressive in punching themselves into the paint and Ejah impressed with his refusal to back down from the pressure of defending and being defended by Keion Brooks Jr.
For his part, McKeeman put on his big boy pants and played like a man in getting to the basket, which was a huge catalyst in opening up the Chargers’ shooters.
And Arius Jones, as my friend Tim Atkinson of Summit City Sports would say, just did Arius Jones things. If you don’t know what that means by now, you haven’t fully appreciated Jones in all his years as the Carroll workhorse.
Carroll means business and I know that now. Shooter knew they were winning and Shooter knew what they’ve been doing since that Homestead loss. And Shooter just thought that Carroll was ‘sneaky good.’ Folks, I am here to tell you, there is nothing sneaky about how good Carroll is. The Chargers are just regular good, regular very good. In a year when we thought that pure unbridled athleticism would lead the conference, here we sit with the regular season winding down with those two stereotypical fundamental teams again at the forefront.
I’ve been here before, I would swear it. Has Carroll learned lessons from their 2016 version? I guess we will see if the ghost of Tahj Curry rears its head in a couple of weeks at Homestead like the ghost of Kelham Brown did Tuesday night.
Until then, the Chargers are just going to have to sit satisfied. Maybe satisfied that they have reawakened Shooter. Certainly satisfied that they hurt some feelings again at By Hey Arena.