FORT WAYNE – New Haven had the defense going in the first half and held off Carroll as the offense picked up in the second half.
The Class 3A No. 7 Bulldogs defeated the visiting Chargers 60-53 Friday to improve to 3-0 in the NHC.
My high school coach said sometimes you win ugly, New Haven coach Al Gooden said. But it’s better to win ugly than lose ugly. Tonight showed our mental toughness.
Jailan Wattley led New Haven (7-2) with 19 points, going 8 of 9 from the free-throw line. Lowell Griggs had 14 points for the Bulldogs, and Steve McElvene, who battled foul trouble for most of the second half, finished with 11 points.
Griggs was 4 of 6 from the free throw line, Jordan Hogue was 3 for 3, and the Bulldogs made 18 of 22.
Kyle Mallers got Carroll (7-5, 0-3) back into the game by scoring 25 of his game-high 26 points in the second half. The Chargers shot 18 of 61 (30 percent) from the field, while the Bulldogs were 20 of 46 (43 percent).
Chandler White scored eight points on 2-of-13 shooting and fouled out for Carroll.
Kyle got hot, and that was good, Carroll coach Marty Beasley said. We just needed someone else to make a play, and we never got it. They had multiple players make plays for them.
Jeremy Kalonji added 10 points for the Chargers, who this season won the Carroll Shootout by defeating Marion in the finals.
We have to make shots, Beasley said. You have to shoot the ball well on the road. It is our Achilles’ heel, we don’t shoot the ball well enough to win games.
Carroll scored 12 points in the first half on 3-of-23 shooting (13 percent) but trailed only 19-12 at halftime as New Haven made only 8 of 29 (28 percent).
As bad it was, we were only down by seven, Beasley said.
It wasn’t like we were out of the game. We got the shots we wanted, we just didn’t make them.
Carroll cut its deficit to 29-27 in the third when McElvene picked up his fourth foul on a technical after hanging on the rim. The Dayton recruit went to the bench, but the Bulldogs were able to take a 40-31 advantage to start the fourth quarter.
He hit some 3s with the kids guarding him, and sometimes that’s the way it goes, Gooden said of Mallers, who scored 17 points in the third with the help of 3 of 4 3-pointers. They kind of lulled us to sleep in the first half because we were playing good defense, but our offense was stuck in the same mold with them.
The Chargers went on a 9-0 run to tie the game at 40 midway through the fourth, but the Bulldogs answered with a 7-0 run to make it 47-40.
And New Haven outscored Carroll 12-7 to push its lead to 59-47.
When we had our backs to the wall, the kids stepped up, Gooden said. We had some guys make some free throws.