As far as the Carroll girls basketball program is concerned, Tuesday’s District 7-6A opener against Haltom represented turning the page.
The Lady Dragons (8-7) came through a challenging non-district schedule beat up but still with a winning record. Last week Carroll lost to Keller and McKinney North. Carroll had its moments at Keller. Trailing 19-13 at halftime, the Lady Dragons closed to 38-37 at the end but missed the game-winning shot attempt in the final seconds.
At McKinney North, Carroll was within striking distance at 32-29 after three quarters. But everything eroded in the fourth quarter in the 55-39 loss. As good as the Lady Dragons are defensively, they struggled in the last period when they yielded 23.
“It’s just the experience,” head coach Teri Morrison said. “We’re not gelling to where we should be. I hope we’ve learned something from it. It’s new territory. We go into games and are not finding ways to win. The decision-making still isn’t where we need it to be.”
Indeed, Carroll’s turnover problems continue to be the reason the team is hovering around the .500 mark. Through the first 15 games, Carroll has committed 213 turnovers (14.2 per game) and only provided 155 assists (10.3).
There’s good news and bad news in that. The good news is that the assist average has nudged up one per game since three weeks ago. The bad news is that the turnover average has also moved up one per game over that span.
Morrison has spoken in recent weeks about this team playing too fast. By that, the opposing pressure defense is causing the ball to be brought up the floor at a pace faster than Morrison wants. That leads to throwing to a spot where somebody either isn’t positioned or ready to catch the ball.
“When you look at any team that’s trying to get after you with pressure, you might try to go as fast as you can,” Morrison said. “But we’re a young team, and we still have to learn how to use the other teammates. This team needs to slow down and read the things in front of it and make the right decision.”
Morrison has no problem with the effort or the will to win. She’s also been pretty pleased with the defense overall. Carroll is allowing only 40.3 points per game.
But the margin for error is pretty tight. Carroll is only averaging 43 points per game. So this team has to value the ball. Thus, the turnover average has to be addressed.
“After the last week, we worked on shot selection and handling the ball at our practice,” Morrison said. “We brought out blocking dummies and then banged the players a little bit to get them to play slower. We want them to catch and read on what to do with the ball.
“It’s basketball IQ, and we’re still in the classroom with this team.”
Following Haltom, the Lady Dragons play at Hurst L.D. Bell on Friday. Euless Trinity is off to a quick start at 11-1 and could be considered the favorite. But Carroll, Colleyville Heritage and L.D. Bell should figure into the playoff picture.
“It’s kind of a fun place to be with this team,” Morrison said. “We started the year state ranked. We have a reputation. Now, the kids are dealing with some pressure. I think 7-6A will be a dog fight.”