CANTON - Brett Price and Chad Isaly had just hit consecutive 3-pointers to give Hannibal River a 10-point lead just a little more than 2 minutes into the third quarter.
On the wrong side of the game's first double-digit spread, Youngstown Christian coach Dolph Carroll asked for a time out to talk to his team. Or, as anyone at the Canton Memorial Field House could attest to, scream at his team.
Tribune Chronicle / Michael Taylor
Youngstown Christian’s Daylen Williams (12)?drives to the hoop past Hannibal?River’s Jordan Indermuhle (10).
Whatever Carroll said worked to perfection in Tuesday night's 60-49 victory in the Division IV regional semifinal. The Eagles (16-8) outscored River 16-3 the rest of the quarter and 35-14 the rest of the game. Youngstown Christian's victory sent it to Friday night's regional final against Cleveland Villa Angela-St. Joseph. The Vikings disposed of Windham, 93-56, in last night's second game. It is the Eagles' second trip to the regional final in the past four years.
So what words of wisdom did Youngstown Christian's coach have that inspired such huge escalation in play?
"Knowing me, I probably just yelled a lot," Carroll said. "I love these kids but sometimes they're a little whacky.
"We had to defend. There was no great coaching. Very little coaching is done at this stage of the game."
Junior post Tymere Dubose remembered the time out well.
"He said we had to defend and rebound," Dubose said. "We had to keep playing hard and stop giving up easy buckets."
Added point guard Daylen Williams: "He said we had to rebound. We had to get after it."
Defense and rebounding is not a novel idea in basketball. Perhaps screaming was the best way to get the point across.
The Eagles' defense took over the game after falling behind by 10. It forced 13 turnovers the rest of the game while the Pilots had committed just five up until that point.
River (19-8) led 15-14 after a quarter despite six rebounds (five offensive) by DuBose. Senior center Jordan Indermuhle had three of his five blocked shots for the Pilots. Price had seven second-quarter points as River reached intermission with a 29-23 lead.
In the first two quarters it was already evident that Youngstown Christian's superior defensive quickness was giving the Pilots problems. Because of the Eagles' full-court press and traps, it often took River eight or nine seconds before crossing midcourt. But the Pilots were not turning the ball over and were effective in a half-court offense.
The second half was entirely different. River could not handle the Eagles' press and turnovers often resulted in easy baskets.
"It takes us a little time," Carroll said. "We hadn't seen them play a lot. A lot of us just weren't getting back on the weak side."
Dubose led the winners with 22 points and 11 rebounds while Nick Gonda added 14 points. Williams had a great all-around game, finishing with eight points, six rebounds, six assists and a career-high seven steals.
"I told him it's been his (Williams) team since Day One," Carroll said. "He's been here four years and has been trying hard to become a great point guard."
Rice led coach Mark Romick's team with 21 points, nine rebounds and three assists. Cody Caldwell chipped in 14 points in a losing effort.