NOBLESVILLE – As long as he’s at Carmel, Scott Heady will always have an example of why everything changes once “March Madness” comes along.
Nearly a month to the day of their match-up with Zionsville in their Class 4A Sectional opener at Noblesville, the Greyhounds went into the Eagles home floor and handled them easily 43-26 en route to a 19-1 season.
But things were quite a bit different this time around and for the first time three years, the class nearly had their two-time champion knocked out in the first round.
Zionsville led by as many as seven late in the third quarter of a low-scoring affair at Noblesville High School Wednesday night and the Eagles led by as many as five in the fourth quarter. But behind a strong performance from Zach McRoberts late, Carmel rallied for a 47-43 victory.
The Greyhounds advance to the Sectional Semi-Final Friday night at 7:30 p.m. where they will face North Central, who easily beat Westfield 90-64 in the second game of Wednesday’s action.
“We haven’t been in that situation all year,” said Heady, whose Greyhounds beat most of their opponents in the regular season by double digits.
That was much different on Wednesday when Zionsville showed their strength for the majority of the evening. Derrik Smits’ hook shot in the lane late in the third quarter but the Eagles up by seven as looked to pull on of the biggest tournament upsets in a number of years.
But with McRoberts leading the way, Carmel was able to close the gap and go back ahead. He knocked down the final of his game-high 16 points with just over two minutes left to give the Greyhounds the lead. The would expand it to four in the final minute but the Eagles came back again and got it to within one on a Michael Sollman three-pointer.
Carmel would restore the lead to three points but Zionsville had one more chance to tie. Jake Mann got the ball on deep on the wing and put up a three-pointer with three seconds left but it came up short. Carmel got possession and knocked down a free throw to seal the game.
“They kept their composure and they made the plays when we had to make them,” said Heady of the win.
North Central is up next for the Greyhounds after the Panthers made quick work of a two-win Westfield team. KJ Lesure led the way for the Panthers with 19 points-including eight in the first quarter as North Central led by 13 after the eight minutes and never looked back en route to their sectional opening win.
Carmel faced the Panthers once this season on December 13th with the Greyhounds picking up the 63-51 win at home.