RIVERSIDE — The start was spectacular. The finish wasn’t good enough.
Badin High School’s girls basketball team shot out to a 16-2 lead in the first four minutes of its trip to Carroll on Saturday afternoon, only to watch the Patriots do some offensive soaring of their own the rest of the way.
Carroll fired in seven 3-pointers and put four players in double figures, rallying for a 64-57 victory in a showdown of Greater Catholic League Coed Division unbeatens.
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“It’s a game we’ve got to find a way to win at the end of the season if we want to be a serious contender,” said Rams coach Tom Sunderman, with both squads figuring to be among the best Southwest Ohio has to offer in Division II. “If we can play for 32 minutes, I think we can play with anybody. But we’ve got to learn to play for 32 minutes.”
Emma Broermann, a 6-foot-2 senior forward headed to the University of North Florida, turned in a 22-point, 17-rebound performance for Badin. Teammate Emily Maher had 16 points and nine boards.
The Rams led 20-18 early in the second period, but Allie Stefanek countered with a 3-ball for Carroll, and the visitors never had the lead again.
“You know Carroll’s going to score,” Sunderman said. “We missed some opportunities to score during their run to get back in it. If we matched them on shots and made a couple easy shots that we missed or didn’t take a couple bad shots that we took, we could’ve sustained that lead. They were going to make a run somewhere. It doesn’t matter where the run’s at. It’s how you finish the game.”
Badin slipped to 5-1 overall and 1-1 in the GCLC Central Division. The Patriots are 6-0 and top the North Division with a 3-0 mark.
“Our press really bothered them in the beginning,” said Maher, a senior guard. “Things didn’t really fall apart. I don’t know exactly what happened, but there was a shift. I thought we played really good team basketball. You just don’t always get the results you want.”
The Rams like to play fast, but Carroll’s pace was even stronger in its comeback. Sophomore forward Megan Leraas led the way with four treys and 20 points, which doubled her previous career high.
Elisabeth Bush (14), Julia Keller (13) and Stefanek (10) also hit double digits for the winners.
“We’re lucky to have five girls who can shoot. That hasn’t always been the case,” Patriots coach Cecilia Grosselin said. “Badin’s always tough. They play with a lot of passion. Kudos to all of them for playing a great game.
“They came out ready to play and we weren’t ready at all, which can happen sometimes. We’re at home, we’ve got other things going on and they’ve got people around them, boyfriends and all that. But I knew that if we played like we’re capable of playing, we should be able to come back. I can still tell you that I was a little nervous at the beginning.”
Badin kept hanging around down the stretch, and it was a 56-52 game off a Broermann stickback with 1:28 remaining. But Leraas delivered a 3-point dagger and another basket in the next 43 seconds to extinguish the Rams’ victory hopes.
Leraas had 10 points in the fourth quarter. Carroll sank 8-of-14 free throws in the final stanza, 15-of-24 overall. Badin was 16-of-24.
“We lost some defensive assignments down the stretch, and we’ve got to do a better job of rebounding,” Sunderman said. “We’ll just keep chipping away and keep getting better. Our goal is to peak in February, not in December.”
“It was a fast game,” Maher said. “We tried to keep up with them … sometimes we just couldn’t get back on D fast enough. It gives us motivation to get in the gym and keep working hard. I’m not too disappointed. I’m still hopeful for what’s to come.”
Shelby Nusbaum had six points, eight rebounds and three steals for the Rams. Broermann pushed her career point total to 991 and will try to join school’s 1,000-point club Thursday when Badin visits Lakota East.
Stefanek contributed seven boards and five assists for the Patriots. Keller grabbed eight rebounds, Bush collected six, and Leraas and Ava Lickliter added five apiece.
Carroll will host Fenwick on Thursday.
BADIN (5-1, 1-1 GCLC Central): Shelby Nusbaum 3 0 6; Jaelynn Scowden 2 4 10; Emily Maher 4 7 16; Mickayla Kowalski 1 0 2; Emma Broermann 9 4 22; Jada Pohlen 0 1 1. Totals: 19-16-57
CARROLL (6-0, 3-0 GCLC North): Ava Lickliter 2 2 6; Elisabeth Bush 3 7 14; Allie Stefanek 4 1 10; Megan Leraas 7 2 20; Julia Keller 5 2 13; Sarah Ochs 0 1 1. Totals: 21-15-64
3-pointers: B 3 (Scowden 2, Maher), C 7 (Leraas 4, Bush, Stefanek, Keller)