Villa Madonna’s Alex Hengge fends off Carroll County defender Doodle Amick. Former Carroll County standout Whitney Ballinger, now the head coach at Taylor County, shares a laugh with Gallatin coach Holly Roberts, a former rival in the NCKC (below). (Staff photos by David Campbell)
Villa Madonna’s Alex Hengge fends off Carroll County defender Doodle Amick. Former Carroll County standout Whitney Ballinger, now the head coach at Taylor County, shares a laugh with Gallatin coach Holly Roberts, a former rival in the NCKC (below). (Staff photos by David Campbell)
Everything was going Carroll County's way until fouls derailed the Lady Panthers, costing them a 46-23 loss to Villa Madonna in the opening round of the North American Stainless Classic Thursday in Carrollton.

The Panthers led 8-6 after one quarter and trailed only 11-8 with less than four minutes to go in the second. But that's when the fouls started piling up and one-by-one, Carroll's starters went to the bench.

The result was predictable. Villa Madonna, taking advantage of the younger Panthers on the floor, whipped out a full-court press and went to work by closing the half with 14-straight points that were part of a 22-0 run that blew open the game.

"When you get two fouls you have to go to the bench and that's what happened to us," Carroll County coach Paul Stone said. "We had four starters on the bench and that's where most of the turnovers happened. The girls were upset about some of the fouls and the officials missed some, but at least six of the fouls were silly fouls. I don't know when we're going to understand that we can't do that sort of thing."

Carroll (1-7) got a basket by freshman Miranda Groseclose with 1:52 left in the first quarter and the Panthers did not score again until Groseclose knocked down a pair of free throws 1:06 into the third quarter.

In the meantime, Villa Madonna scored 22-straight points to blow open the game. With its starters back on the floor, Carroll lost the third quarter by one point but the Panthers went through another long scoring drought in the fourth to settle their fate.

Fouls and turnovers proved to be Carroll's undoing. The Panthers committed 25 turnovers in all while committing 23 fouls. Groseclose, who led Carroll with nine points, ended up fouling out at the start of the fourth quarter. Villa Madonna's lead reached as many as 30 (46-16) before the Panthers scored the final seven points of the game.

Villa Madonna (6-5) had 21 turnovers of its own but committed only 12 fouls. As a result, the Blue Lightning held a substantial lead at the foul line where they were 14-for-26 to Carroll's 7-for-10.

"We're a young team and I know that but sometimes I wonder what's going through their minds," Stone said. "We just make silly mistakes. Other teams have shot more free throws than us all season long. It's been our problem in every game."

Guard Lauren Dumaine knocked down three 3-pointers to lead Villa Madonna which also had a noticeable advantage in size thanks in large part to the absence of Carroll County's starting center, 5-foot-10 Lauren Moore. Moore is at a family function and may miss the rest of the tournament.

The Panthers now head to the loser's bracket where they will play Henry County today. Carroll County defeated Henry earlier in this month for the Panthers' only win of the season so far.

Pulaski County, which defeated Henry 61-40, will face Villa Madonna in today's semifinals.

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THURSDAY'S GIRLS GAME

North American Stainless Classic

at Carrollton

VILLA MADONNA 46, CARROLL CO. 23



VILLA MADONNA 6 19 9 12 - 46

CARROLL CO. 8 0 8 7 - 23



VILLA MADONNA (6-5) - (g)Dumaine 21, (f)Hennard 7, (g)Hengge 4, Junker 4, (c)Case 3, (f)Aytes 2, McGuire 2, Blom 2, Gleske 1, Loe 0, Stoll 0.

CARROLL CO. (1-8) - (f)Groseclose 9, (g)Kindoll 7, (g)Amick 3, (f)McIntyre 2, Arvin 2, (g)Williamson 0, Burgin 0, Smith 0, Hunter 0.



3-Point Goals - Villa Madonna 4 (Dumaine 3, Hennard 1), Carroll Co. 2 (Amick 1, Groseclose 1). Turnovers - Villa Madonna 21, Carroll Co. 25. Total Fouls - Villa Madonna 12, Carroll Co. 23. Free Throws - Villa Madonna 14-26, Carroll Co. 7-10. Fouled Out - Carroll Co.: Groseclose. Technical Fouls - Carroll Co.: Bench. Next Game - Both teams continue play in the NAS Classic today: Villa Madonna faces Pulaski Co.; Carroll Co. plays Henry Co.