ANDERSON — Emiley Carlton spent the last four years helping rejuvenate the Eastern Hancock girls basketball program, culminating in a 2016-17 season that included an appearance in the regional finals.
Before she takes her talents to Millikin University in Illinois, Carlton spent one final day playing high school basketball in Indiana.
Carlton took part in the Indiana Class Basketball All-Star Classic Saturday, conducted at Anderson University. Despite a furious comeback from a 17-point deficit, her White team fell to the Red team 90-87.
A 16.3 points per game scorer her final season with the Royals, Carlton was tasked with focusing her all-star appearance on the defensive side of the ball.
“This was really cool for me because I’ve been an offensive player in high school,” Carlton said. “Here, I was a defensive player. And I’ve never done that before, so it was cool to let someone else take the lead.”
Carlton had the unenviable task of guarding Lawrence North star Mya Parker. The 5-foot-9 power forward was the named player of the game after scoring 23 points for the Red team. There wasn’t much that Carlton, or anyone else, could do to slow down Parker.
“I’m worn out,” Carlton said after the game. “I’m going to go to bed and crash out as soon as I get home. She was a really outstanding player, she can shoot it anywhere on the court. I was in her face a couple times, and she shot it right over me. Also, she can drive it, you don’t get a lot of girls who can do both really well.”
Carlton made a defensive impact late as the difference on the scoreboard narrowed. She blocked two shots and collected two steals to help the White team mount the comeback that came up just short.
“It was really exciting to come back like that because we were down by nearly 20 at one point,” she said. “It kind of sucks that we worked that hard to come back and couldn’t finish it out.”
Carlton also scored four points and grabbed two rebounds on the night.
At Millikin, Carlton expects to play behind the team’s leading scorer, Emily Schultz. The senior plays the same position and is someone who the coaches hope will mentor Carlton for a year as she develops her college game.
“They said I remind them of her,” Carlton said. “They said they want her to be a mentor for me over the next year, so I can learn from her and follow in her footsteps.”
Carlton will be majoring in athletic training.