Growing up watching some of their predecessors at Carlisle High play beneath their collective talent due to a lack of cohesion, Andrew Goodpaster and his teammates promised each other they’d always share the ball and play as a unit.
“Some of them kind of didn’t play right. So it’s kind of cliché, but we made a vow to each other,” Goodpaster said.
That unselfish outlook has worked for the Indians, who cruised to a 77-46 win over visiting Dixie on Friday night, remaining in position to claim the school’s first Southwestern Buckeye League championship since 1995.
Goodpaster continued his stellar junior season, posting 25 points, seven rebounds and five assists, and Carlisle again used crisp ball movement and solid team defense to dominate an opponent. The Indians, who have four players averaging more than 10 points, have beaten five of their past six opponents by more than 20 points.
“We’ve got a lot of nice balance on the team,” Indians coach Jeff Waugh said.
Goodpaster, a 6-1 guard averaging more than 20 points, attacked in transition and picked his spots in the halfcourt, scoring 16 points in the first half before deferring to 6-4 sophomore center Braden Lieungh.
“He’s quick, he creates shots for himself and he shoots the lights out,” Lieungh said of Goodpaster, whom Waugh called his team leader.
Led by 6-5 junior Seth Benner (11 points, seven rebounds, six blocks) and senior guard Luke Bowling (15 points), Dixie started strong. Bowling’s buzzer-beating 3-pointer pulled the Greyhounds (11-8, 4-6) within 15-14 at the end of the first period. That’s when Carlisle, which has made a habit of knocking out opponents with big runs, scored 22 straight to put the game out of reach.
Lieungh finished with 15 points and nine rebounds, scoring on a variety of post moves with both hands. Sophomore forward Jay Milton posted 11 points and seven rebounds, while juniors Thomas Jackson and Gideon Cunningham added eight points apiece. Perhaps most impressive about Carlisle’s emergence this year: no starters are seniors.
Still, Waugh said his players aren’t sitting around daydreaming about their future together. Carlisle leads Waynesville, which it hosts Tuesday, by one game in the Buckeye, but he’s gone out of his way not to discuss the possibility of winning the school’s first conference title since before his players were born.
“We haven’t talked about it,” Waugh said. “The most important game is always the next game.”
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