XENIA — A whole group of tall basketball players fared better than one team with one really good tall player, and that looked to be a big (and tall) difference in Monday’s nonleague girls basketball game between visiting Dayton Carroll and the host Xenia Buccaneers. Carroll dominated play for a 71-44 win.
Xenia standout and future University of Toledo Rocket Unique Conner was hindered with three first-half fouls, and the Patriots took advantage, early and often. Conner, who entered the game as the Greater Western Ohio Conference’s leading rebounder with a 14.4 rpg average, had her third foul of the game with almost six minutes left to play in the first half. That severely limited her abilities, especially on defense.
Conner is the only player taller than six foot for Xenia (3-10). Meanwhile, Carroll (9-4) came in with three players six foot tall or more: Madison Schroeder (6-foot-1), the top rebounder in the Greater Catholic League with a 12.7 average and one of that league’s top scorers with an 18.4 ppg average, her freshman sister Amanda Schroeder (6-0) and senior teammate Stephanie Townsend (6-1).
That proved to be too many trees for Xenia to deal with.
“With our two bigs — Madison Schroeder and Townsend — we wanted to nose guard a couple of their top shooters on defense, and I think that frustrated them a little bit,” Carroll coach Rob Berry said. “We wanted to pound it in with our two bigs, and even with our guards. We made some good drives, got some great help off the bench from Amanda Schroeder, and it’s just really tough when one’s gotta guard 2-3 bigs.”
Conner and Townsend both fouled out. That left the Schroeder sisters to shred Xenia’s much smaller defense.
Xenia coach Terry Toliver said there was more to Monday’s loss than just a height differential.
“It was just a matter of understanding how hard you’ve gotta play at this level, and how long you’ve gotta compete at this level,” Toliver said. “We got out played. They were smarter than us. … You can have a million athletes, but it doesn’t matter if you don’t understand the game of basketball.”
Madison Schroeder finished with a game-high 27 points, while slashing guard Ellie Rumme finished with 11 for Carroll, which plays next on Thursday at Cincinnati Mount Notre Dame.
Breanna Burnette came off the Xenia bench to lead her team with 14 points. Autumn Meyer connected on three 3-pointers to finish with nine points and Conner finished with seven in the loss. The Bucs return to GWOC South Division play on Wednesday when they’ll host Fairborn.