Carroll County senior Evan McMahan reached 1,000 career points the hard way on Tuesday. The senior was fouled on a 3-point attempt with just two-tenths of a second left in a loss to Louisville Collegiate. (Staff photo by David Campbell)
Carroll County senior Evan McMahan reached 1,000 career points the hard way on Tuesday. The senior was fouled on a 3-point attempt with just two-tenths of a second left in a loss to Louisville Collegiate. (Staff photo by David Campbell)
The game may not have been on the line but that doesn’t mean Evan McMahan wasn’t facing a tremendous amount of pressure when he stepped to the line with just two-tenths of a second left on the clock in Carroll County’s home finale against Louisville Collegiate on Tuesday.

Sitting on 997 career points — and with the Carroll student section cheering his every attempt — McMahan took a breath and calmly hit all three free throws to reach the coveted 1,000-point milestone, the first Panther to reach the career scoring mark since Dallas Gibson in 2012.

Collegiate ended up with the 70-60 win, but for McMahan, it’s a game he’ll never forget.

“It’s a special moment. I’ve been dreaming of this since I was a little kid,” McMahan said. “Just to see your dreams come true is pretty awesome.”

McMahan entered the game needing 23 points to reach the career milestone and through three quarters it didn’t appear as if the Carroll star would even come close. The taller Titans had shut down Carroll’s offense and McMahan had just 10 points entering the final frame.

McMahan admits that he was nervous about chasing the milestone and didn’t allow the game to come to him like he normally does. It wasn’t until the fourth quarter that the senior settled into a groove and began ripping off points.

“I wasn’t taking the best shots, I don’t think. I was trying to force the ball a little bit,” McMahan said. “I should have been passing more and taking it to the basket more and that’s what I started doing in the second half and why I started scoring points late.”

With McMahan struggling — he had only five points by halftime — it was up to eighth-grader Deaton Oak to carry the offensive load for the Panthers. The sharpshooter hit four 3-pointers in the first half and scored 16 points by the break as Carroll trailed only 34-31 at intermission.

Collegiate (17-12) scored five quick points in the third to go up eight but Carroll rallied behind an 11-3 run to tie the game 42-42 with 3:36 left in the third. It was an Oak trey — his fifth of the game — that knotted the score.

But the Panthers collapsed shortly thereafter and five turnovers over the final three minutes fueled Collegiate to a 14-0 closing run that put the Titans ahead 56-42 at the break to all but end the game.

Carroll (6-21) outscored Collegiate 18-14 in the fourth and pulled within six (58-52) on two McMahan free throws with 4:03 to play but got no closer.

“That three and a half minute stretch in the third is what killed us,” Carroll coach Brian Crank said. “We had worked hard and tied the game and then it was turnover, turnover, turnover and that was the difference in the game. We were even until then and we outscored them in the fourth. That three and a half minute stretch in the third is what killed us.”

With the game all but over, the only drama was whether McMahan would get his 1,000-point at home or have to go after it on the road at Walton-Verona on Thursday.

McMahan opened the fourth with a basket and scored 13 of Carroll’s 18 points in the period. His two free throws with 2:14 left in the game put him three away from the mark but he missed his next four attempts from the floor.

With 11 seconds remaining, Crank called a timeout and drew up a play specifically to get McMahan an open 3-point look. The play worked and McMahan fired the shot only to have it clang off the rim.

Collegiate got the rebound, Carroll quickly fouled and the Titans’ Noah Breitenstein hit the second free throw with 4.3 seconds left. The Panthers quickly pushed the ball down the floor and McMahan missed another trey, but the ball went out of bounds off a Collegiate defender.

Finally, on the third attempt, McMahan took the inbound pass and forced his way into two Collegiate defenders, drawing the foul and the three free throws. He then walked to the line and hit the shots.

“I’m not going to lie, I’ve never been so nervous in my life until that time. Never,” McMahan said. “I just had to breathe. I knew that if I took my time and shot the way I had been shooting free throws the whole game, I was going to make them.”

“It was obviously meant to be because we drew up a shot for him and he missed, and he missed another one and then got the foul practically as time expired,” Crank said. “You don’t see that very often.”

McMahan’s 23 points and 11 rebounds led Carroll County while Oak scored 19 and set a new career-high in the process. Tyler Stewart, another senior, added three 3-pointers and scored 15 points for the Panthers.

Barrett Myers led four Collegiate players in double figures with 19 points. Six-foot-10 senior guard Ryan McDaniel, who has drawn interest from Duke in the past but has signed to play at Division II Alabama-Huntsville, scored 18 points including 11 points during the Titans’ decisive 14-0 run in the third. Eli Allen added 13 points and 6-foot-5 freshman Tyler McDaniel scored 10.

Neither team shot the ball particularly well with Collegiate hitting 24-of-54 (44 percent) overall and Carroll 20-of-51 (39 percent) although both knocked down eight 3-pointers. The Titans held a 34-29 rebounding edge.

Carroll closes out the regular season at Walton-Verona on Thursday in a game that was moved up a day from its initial Friday slot. The Panthers then face Owen County in the opening round of the 31st District Tournament at Henry County on Monday.

———

TUESDAY’S BOYS GAME

at Carrollton, Ky.

COLLEGIATE 70, CARROLL CO. 60



COLLEGIATE 13 21 22 14 — 70

CARROLL CO. 15 16 11 18 — 60



COLLEGIATE (17-12) — (g)Myers 19, (g)R. McDaniel 18, (g)Allen 13, (f)T. McDaniel 10, (f)Stevens 6, Weaver 3, Breitenstein 1, Good 0, Grewal 0, Austin 0.

CARROLL CO. (6-21) — (g)McMahan 23, (g)Oak 19, (g)Stewart 15, Cole 2, Yocum 1, (f)Walker 0, Supplee 0, Duncan 0.



3-Point Goals — Collegiate 8 (Allen 3, R. McDaniel 3, Myers 1, Weaver 1), Carroll Co. 8 (Oak 5, Stewart 3). Rebounds — Collegiate 34 (Stevens 8, T. McDaniel 8, R. McDaniel 8), Carroll Co. 29 (McMahan 11). Turnovers — Collegiate 11, Carroll Co. 14. Total Fouls — Collegiate 12, Carroll Co. 17. Free Throws — Collegiate 14-24, Carroll Co. 12-14. Fouled Out — None.