'Twas three nights before Christmas, and guess who delivered?
Cassidy Kloss, as in Santa Claus.
"I get that a lot," Kloss said with a jolly laugh.
Kloss showed up in a merry way for Carmel Catholic's girls basketball team in the fourth quarter Saturday night, scoring all 9 of her points to help rally the Corsairs to a 29-21 win over host Warren in the last of four games on Day 1 of the Blue Devil Classic.
"One good thing happened and it just kept sparking more and more," Kloss said of the Corsairs' furious fourth. "I think everybody just got into the flow of it. We got our adrenaline pumping, and I think it helped."
Carmel (8-4) trailed 21-16 midway through the fourth, but finished the game with a 13-0 run. The Corsairs scored 15 points in the final quarter, after trailing 17-14 after three.
"We came out strong in the first quarter and got up by a big lead, which was 5 in this game," said Carmel coach Kelly Perz, whose Corsairs led 7-2 after the opening eight minutes. "And then a lid went on the basket. We weren't making strong moves to the basket or underneath the basket. We were just fading away and whipping the ball at the rim, hoping it went in."
Perz calls them "hope" shots.
"They actually run for those," the coach said. "They know the difference between a good shot and a 'hope' shot."
Warren junior Cassie Christie (team-high 6 points, 5 rebounds) sank a 3-point shot in the fourth and the Blue Devils, who trailed 12-9 at halftime, were looking good. But Kloss' layup -- only the second field goal of the half by Carmel -- proved to be just the start for the Corsairs.
After Warren's Alyssa Phillips (4 points, 11 rebounds) hit a free throw, Kloss completed a three-point play with 2:49 left to trim Carmel's deficit to 22-21.
"Cass made that layup and I felt like the lid came off," Perz said.
Kayla Quinn (6 points, 8 rebounds) then hit 2 free throws to put the Corsairs up 22-21 with 2:02 left. Claire Ogrinc (8 points, 6 boards) kept it going for Carmel by hitting a jumper, and then Kloss unloaded a 3-pointer from the left wing and splashed it with 52 seconds remaining to make it a six-point game.
A pair of free throws by Ogrinc capped the stunning flurry.
Kloss, a junior who started on varsity last winter, began the season in the starting lineup but has been coming off the bench the last few weeks. She's fine with whatever role she has.
"I guess it really doesn't matter to me," Kloss said. "I can't complain. I'm playing. What's more important to me, as opposed to starting, is being in at the end of the game."
Kloss finished 3 of 5 from the floor, making her only 3 attempt. She also had 4 rebounds and 3 steals.
"She's working really hard in practice to get that starting spot back," Perz said. "She does a lot of good things for us."
Warren (6-6) turned the ball over 25 times in losing for the third time in four games.
"Until we get improvement from our guard play and our perimeter play, we're going to continue to struggle in these situations," Blue Devils coach John Stanczykiewicz said. "It's getting to be an old record. All we can do is try to point them in the right direction, try to coach them up and try to get them to do the right things."