HUNTERTOWN — It’s a contentious race for No. 1 in the SAC, but Carroll continued to make a case for its share Friday night against Northrop (10-10). The Chargers defeated the Bruins 72-56 at home to improve to 14-3 on the season.

“We knew they were going to come out here with all they’ve got after we beat them in the holiday tournament, so we just know we had to come out here and be solid, and we were able to do that,” Carroll senior Richie Gross said.

The Bruins were coming off one of their strongest stretches of the season Friday, winning four of their past five matchups including a 66-64 win over Homestead on Jan. 31. In the end, the Chargers were able to capitalize on missed opportunities while spreading the wealth on offense.

“We made enough plays to hold them off,” Carroll Head Coach Marty Beasley said. “I thought we did some really good things. We gave them too many and-ones and 3-point plays with the pressure, and we turned the ball over, but I thought our guys played a pretty full game and showed their composure for the most part.”

Carroll scored nine of its 14 first-quarter points from beyond the arc Friday, including a pair of 3-pointers by junior Ryan Preston, to lead the Bruins by five.

Devin Baney, a 6-foot-7 senior, scored an and-one to start the second quarter, bringing Northrop within two points of Carroll, but it ended up being the Bruins’ only bucket of the quarter. The Chargers took a 10-0 run — their largest of the game — while giving up just a trio of Northrop free throws to lead 30-15 at halftime.

Carroll led by as many as 21 points in the third quarter. However, the Bruins caught a late spark with back-to-back 3-point plays by Qualen Pettus and Khamani Smith, as well as a 3-pointer by Nick Haines. Gross helped the Chargers extend the lead again to 16, scoring 10 points in the quarter.

Carroll finished off the Bruins at the free throw line, making 15 of 20 on the night.

“We’re just trying to get better right now,” Beasley said. “It’s a sectional opponent, a conference team on our floor.”

As a team, the Chargers made 60% of their field goals Friday, and 44% from three. The Bruins made just four of 18 baskets from beyond the arc.

Gross led all scorers with 20 points on the night, while pulling down five rebounds.

“Richie plays really hard,” Beasley said. “He’s quick, he can finish around the rim, he does all the stuff that we need him to do — he rebounds, he defends, he handles the ball. He’s a complete player.”

Preston, Ray Vollmer and Jalen Jackson each added 12 points for the Chargers, and Jackson and Sam Strycker each grabbed a team-high nine rebounds.

Pettus led Northrop with 16 points and five rebounds on the night. Smith added nine points and five rebounds.

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