The message that Carmel Catholic girls basketball coach Kelly Perz has been trying to impart on her young Corsair team is that patience can sometimes pay off.
"I have been preaching that all season long that passing up a good shot for an even better one is the type of team we want to be," Perz said.
Add in the challenge of slowing down Larkin senior Marlee Kyles and the importance of patience in the game plan was that much greater.
On Friday afternoon in the second round of the Blue Devil Classic at Warren, Carmel used a patient offense and the play of freshmen Katie Lach and Ranya Jamison to hold off the Royals 55-49. Carmel improved to 1-1 in the tournament and 9-4 overall. Larkin evened its record at the tournament to 1-1 and fell to 6-5 overall.
"We executed our offense really well today," Perz said. "I am hoping that this will carry over from here on."
Carmel also did its best to slow down Kyles. The Arizona-bound Kyles still managed to put up 36 points before fouling out with a minute to play.
"Our whole game plan today on defense was to stop her," Lach said. "We knew that if she dribble penetrated into the lane to be ready for the kick out pass and we were ready."
Kyles never seemed to find the same rhythm she had in the Royals' win on Thursday. Her 46-point effort broke her own school record and established a new tournament mark.
Larkin dug itself a deep hole near the end of the first half. After Kyles hit a pair of free throws, Carmel ripped off 12 of the next 14 points including 6 consecutive free throws from Lach to move the margin to double digits. During that span, Kyles picked up her third foul forcing her to sit the rest of the first half.
"Knowing how good (Kyles) is we wanted to make sure that she wasn't going to alone beat our team," Perz said. "She is probably the best player we will have faced all season."
Lach, who led the Corsairs with 18 points, was key during the run scoring 6 points and dishing out 2 assists.
"Katie has a real good instinct and has a real good knowledge of the game for her age," Perz said. 'She has a great motor and simply doesn't quit."
Kyles came back to start the fourth quarter and immediately ignited the Royals' offense. She scored 6 straight points during a 9-2 Larkin run that brought the Royals within 48-42 with 4:07 to go.
"I thought the girls did a great job with Marlee on the bench to keep us in the game," Larkin coach Steve Knapp said. "You saw once she came back why she is, in my opinion, the best point guard in the state."
Carmel silenced the run with 5 quick points from Jamison (15 points) to send the margin to a more comfortable level. Kyles did hit 3 more throws to pull Larkin within 52-49, but fouled out moments later.