Girls Basketball

Badin beats Carroll to reach fourth straight D-II regional final

SPRINGFIELD — The Badin High School girls basketball team is playing like its been there before.

That’s because the Rams have — four straight times.

Gracie Cosgrove scored a game-high 18 points, Braelyn Even had 14 and Badin beat Greater Catholic League Co-ed rival Carroll 51-41 in a Division II regional semifinal on Tuesday night at Springfield.

“This is exactly what I expected — a slugfest,” Rams coach Tom Sunderman said. “Carroll is a lot like us, except we probably have a little bit more shooters that get to the rim. But the defensive intensity I knew was going to be there.

“They’ve got tournament experience. We’ve got tournament experience. I just kept telling myself all weekend that it’s hard to beat a team three times, nonetheless, seven or eight straight times.”

Badin, which did up its winning streak against Carroll to eight games, has won six in a row and 11 of its last 12 to reach a fourth straight regional final.

“There’s probably like two high schools in the state, ever, that can say something like that,” Sunderman said. “We’ll enjoy the moment now, get back to work tomorrow, but enjoy today.”

Badin (20-7) faces top-ranked and defending state champion Purcell Marian (26-1) for a regional title on Friday at 7 p.m. back at Springfield.

“We just have to play with our energy,” Cosgrove said. “We have nothing to lose. We literally have nothing to lose.”

The Rams have lost five straight to the Cavaliers, including a 64-54 battle in last year’s regional title game. Purcell won the D-III state title two seasons ago before taking the D-II title last year.

“They’re an all-star team,” Sunderman said. “We’re just going to come out with no pressure on us. The pressure is on them.”

Badin wasn’t pressured during a skittish first quarter for both teams Tuesday. The Rams took a 12-11 lead into the second frame, when things started to heat up for their top shooters.

Cosgrove banked in a 3-pointer to get going from the outside, and Even followed that up with a long-range bank of her own.

“I didn’t care. It went in. It’s fine,” Cosgrove said. “Then Braelyn banked one in right after that. I was like, ‘What’s going on?’ But they went in, and that’s all that mattered.”

“It was kind of like throw it up and see what happens,” Even jokingly chimed in.

Badin outscored Carroll 18-5 in the second period to take a 30-16 lead into the half. The Rams held on to the advantage throughout the final two quarters and staved off a Patriots push in the fourth.

“Our tournament experience helps,” Sunderman said. “I think we have confidence when we’ve got the ball in our hands. That’s what we kept reiterating at halftime. Some of the girls were panicking a little bit. ‘Have confidence in yourself. We have confidence in you, or we wouldn’t have you out there. Have confidence with the ball.’”

Brooke Sebastian had nine points for the Rams, who shot 6 of 14 from the free throw line. Kiera Healy scored a team-high 13 points and Eva Snyder added 11 for the Patriots (19-8), who shot 11 of 19 at the line.

“This feels really good,” said Cosgrove, a junior. “We’re used to it, though. But it feels good every year. No one had faith in us because we lost our seniors. But our whole team stepped up this whole year. Our hard work paid off.”

“We kind of expected to be here, honestly,” added Even, a sophomore. “If we play the way we needed to play, we should make it here. It was our goal to make it here. It’s not really a secret, honestly. We’ll just do what we do.”

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