Blog Post #62 – Carmel Girls Basketball Weekly Recap 11/28

Girls Basketball Weekly Recap


Gabe Perrin, Co-Sports Director

It was a busy Thanksgiving week for the Lady Hounds, as they faced off against two of their Sectional 8 rivals, the Noblesville Millers and the Hamilton Southeastern Royals. Let’s take a dive into what went down in those two matchups.

November 23rd vs #3 Noblesville (69-53 Loss)

This was a very up and down game for the Hounds, as they rendered the 5th best Junior in the nation, Ashlynn Shade, scoreless for the first 14 minutes of the game. However, the Hounds were caught lacking in other defensive areas, as Millers Junior Kaitlyn Shoemaker drained four perimeter 3-pointers in the first half, eventually ending the night with 18. Offensively, the Hounds had to rely on Mackenzie Thomas’ inside attack, which was a tough ask as Thomas had to match up against the Millers’ 6’4 Center Brooklyn Smitherman. But, the Hounds stayed well within the game, as they were only down 10 at the half. However, the second half was the decider in this one, as Ashlynn Shade started doing Ashlynn Shade things in the early part of the 3rd quarter. Shade not only impressed with her shooting range, but also proved herself as a skilled interior scorer as Mackenzie Thomas had to stay on the bench due to foul trouble. In the late 4th quarter, a trio of Hannah Lach 3s brought the Hounds within 4, but it proved to be too little, too late as the Hounds ultimately couldn’t find a way to match up with the Millers’ scoring prowess as they moved on to 6-0 on their impressive 2021 campaign with a 69-53 win against the Hounds.


Noblesville Scoring: Shade-20, Shoemaker-18, Wilson-9


Carmel Scoring: Thomas-17, Lach-9, Roper-9, Carter-6


November 26th at #17 Hamilton Southeastern (68-67 OT Win)

Without a doubt the most consistent the Hounds have played all season. The Hounds offense came up huge in the opening 8 minutes of the game, as Seniors Laura Valiente and Emily Roper took charge of a transition-heavy offense and started the game on a 21-6 run. In the second quarter, sisters Maya and Riley Makalusky showed some offensive power for the Royals as Mackenzie Thomas remained on a bench due to foul trouble. However, Valiente and Roper continued their connection, and the Hounds held on to an 8-point lead after the 1st half of play. But once the second half started, the Royals’ comeback commenced with a pair of huge 3s for Junior sharpshooter Lauren Stewart. But once again, Roper and Thomas showed their strength within the paint throughout the 3rd quarter against a heavily mismatched Royals frontcourt. The hounds maintained a single digit lead for the majority of the second half until the final 3 minutes of the 4th quarter, which saw a series of Hounds turnovers give the Royals a 6 point lead with just a minute to go. However, an opposing series of turnovers via the Royals handed the Hounds the ball back with just 7 seconds left, down 2. Valiente, who was a great contributor to the offense all afternoon, sank a floater at the buzzer to tie the game at 55 apiece and send the Hounds on their first overtime journey of the season. It was a rough start for the Hounds in overtime, as Riley Makalusky dominated the paint on a careful Mackenzie Thomas who didn’t want to pick up her 5th and final foul. Once again, the Hounds found themselves by multiple possessions going into the final minute of Overtime. However, with star Freshman Maya Makalusky fouled out, the Hounds had an easy time getting the ball in the paint to Thomas. Directly after a gutsy 3 ball from Freshman Ava Carter, Thomas put in a trio of contested layups, but the Royals answered back with a score of their own to take the lead with 20 seconds remaining. But it was Thomas who saved the day for the Hounds, rolling in what would be the game-winning layup with just 7 seconds remaining. Royals Junior Olivia Brown failed to get a shot off before the buzzer sounded, and the Hounds took the win in the annual Black Friday rivalry matchup for a 2nd year in a row. 


Carmel Scoring: Thomas-24, Roper-16, Valiente-14


Hamilton Southeastern Scoring: Riley Makalusky-23, Maya Makalusky-17, Stewart-12


This Week’s Takeaways: It certainly seems like the Hounds are finally finding their identity after a few weeks of on-court action together. While at points in the first few games of the season, it seemed like they were forcing themselves to try and be a perimeter shooting team, they realized their strengths are found down in the paint, not only with their taller power players, but with smaller guards like Mackenzie Woods and Hannah Lach. The transition offense did look strong at points both in the games against Noblesville and HSE, but in both games, errant passes and frequent calls for traveling shut down any momentum the offense had gathered. The question of who to start at point guard, however, is the one thing that Coach Trimpe should be unsure about. She has started both Taryn Fisher and Mackenzie Woods in the first 5 games, but Ava Carter’s clutch performances off the bench in both games has to beg the question on if she may deserve a spot in that starting 5. The Hounds are still missing their superstar Michigan commit Kate Clarke with a back injury, and all reports suggest that they may have to deal with her absence for quite a few more games. However, once she is inserted back into this lineup, that may solve the lineup issues the Hounds have faced. 

Defensively, the Hounds did well guarding the paint in both of this week’s matchups, but at times, their 3-2 zone was exposed by crafty perimeter shooting. That is something that may need to be fixed with a switch to a man style of defense. But the shining star of the Hounds defense is that full or half-court press. It is a Trimpe favorite, and you can see why. It is the easiest way to expose inexperienced guards, and that is exactly what the Hounds have been doing. Even the Royals’ Olivia Brown, a solid guard who started on Varsity for HSE last year, struggled with the trap defense all throughout Friday’s matchup. 

Overall, the Overtime win against HSE was a huge momentum booster for the Hounds, and should prepare them well for the busy 3-game week they have in front of them.

The Week Ahead: Tuesday, November 30th @ Lawrence North (5-3)

Thursday, December 2nd vs West Lafayette (5-2)

Friday, December 3rd vs Warren Central (3-2)

– Gabe Perrin, Co-Sports Director