A season of transition in its guard play has hounded the Carroll girls basketball program. Now, the team is shorthanded.
Head coach Teri Morrison said sophomore point guard Brook Lay is out for the season with an undisclosed injury. Lay played in the first 23 games.
There was some hope that Lay could return toward the end of the season. However, Morrison said she and her staff got the news recently that Lay wouldn’t be able to play through her injury. Morrison said that this team is going to have to find a way to get through this setback.
Lay’s injury hurts Carroll in several ways. First, for an offense that relies on multiple ball handlers, Lay was third on the team in assists at 2.0. Second, Lay had been the Lady Dragons’ most consistent deep threat. She was shooting 43 percent (47-for-87) from 3-point range. Third, she turned into this team’s most reliable free throw shooter at 86 percent (32-of-37).
So that means Carroll will have to have the offense slimmed down on the rotation with ball handlers between junior Prescilla Smeenge, senior Natalie Flexer and freshman Kayla Colan.
“It was a weird injury,” Morrison said. “We were hoping rest would make a difference. But it just wasn’t improving the way we had hoped. We just have to move on. Next player up. But this is an opportunity for our leadership.”
Streak on the line
Morrison is in her eighth season running Carroll’s program. Her teams have won seven consecutive district championships. But that streak appears to be in jeopardy. Following their 54-29 loss at Euless Trinity on Jan. 12, the Lady Dragons (14-10, 4-1) fell into second place in District 7-6A behind the undefeated Lady Trojans.
The Lady Dragons fell into an insurmountable 20-4 hole after the first quarter. They also committed 12 of their 16 turnovers in the opening frame. Trinity’s district player of the year candidate Trinity Oliver scored 32. The deficit developed quickly. Carroll didn’t score on its first five possessions. Trinity scored on its first five possessions.
“The game plan was to stay between Trinity and the basket,” Morrison said. “But we didn’t follow our game plan. Trinity was prepared. They’re a grinding team, and we just didn’t do a very good job execution-wise. We’ve got to be better. It’s been a long time since a Carroll team didn’t respond to the moment. We have to come back from it.”
Carroll finished the first half of district play this past Friday against Colleyville Heritage before opening the second half on Tuesday at Haltom. The Lady Dragons play host to Hurst L.D. Bell and their very talented junior scorer Lexi Gordon Friday. In the first meeting Dec. 18 at L.D. Bell, Carroll won in overtime, 58-56. Gordon scored 28. Smeenge led Carroll with 21.
Should this turn into a race for second place, the Lady Dragons would be in a major battle for position with both Colleyville Heritage and Bell.
Slowly but surely, Carroll’s standard field goal shooting is improving. The Lady Dragons are shooting 43 percent on 2-point attempts … Smeenge leads all Carroll players with 69 offensive rebounds. That’s nearly three per game.