File Photo by Cody Bahn
File Photo by Cody Bahn

Fans and coaches in the Fishers High School High School Gymnasium went silent when Carmel Senior Amy Dilk injured her knee Friday in the semifinal round of the Class 4A Sectional 8.

Dilk fell awkwardly after twisting her knee with a little more than three minutes to play in the third quarter and Noblesville leading 34-32. Dilk laid in pain as a trainer and Carmel head coach Tod Windlan tended to the University of Michigan-bound star. The the question on everyone’s minds: Would she return? 

Dilk did come back, scoring nine of her game-high 23 points in the fourth quarter, rallying Carmel to a 50-45 victory over Noblesville to advance to tonight’s championship game against Hamilton Southeastern.

“She gave a valiant effort,” Windlan said. “To comeback like that when it didn’t look like she’d be able to come back and to will her team to victory — she is a very competitive kid.”

Noblesville took a 37-34 lead into the fourth quarter, but Carmel relied on its half-court pressure defense, forcing six Miller turnovers in the final eight minutes, while Dilk and sophomore guard Jasmine McWilliams led the offense. McWilliams finished with 12 points. 

McWilliams cut the Millers lead to one with a pair of free throws with seven minutes remaining, and then Carmel forced a turnover that led to a Dilk 3-pointer from the top of the key to give the Greyhounds a 39-37 lead.

Noblesville senior Emily Kiser buried a 3-pointer with 2:35 to reclaim the advantage, 40-39, for the Millers. But baskets by Dilk and McWilliams put Carmel back on top, 43-40, with 1:55 left on the clock. Then, a steal and a fast break layup by Dilk pushed the Carmel’s lead to 45-40. The Millers couldn’t get it closer than four points the rest of the way.

“We did a really good job of taking care of the basketball the first three quarters, but Carmel is extremely talented, and they turned up their pressure,” Noblesville head coach Donna Buckley said. “We just turned it over too much down the stretch.”

Kiser led the Millers with 18 points and 12 rebounds — a final double-double to end her illustrious Noblesville career. Kiser now will look forward to being Dilk’s teammate as a Wolverine next year at Michigan. 

“I’m really proud of our team,” Kiser said. “We came really far this season, and it was so fun playing as a team the way we did. But Dilk is a great player, and I am looking forward to being her teammate next year. It will certainly be more fun playing with her than against her.”

Noblesville finishes its season with a 15-8 record. The Millers had won nine straight games going into sectional play. 

“I really loved this group of kids,” Buckley said. “They really bought in to how we want to play as a team, and the growth of this team was tremendous.”

Junior Mallory Johnson finished second on the Millers in point with 11. Sophomore Abby Haley had seven. 

Carmel (23-2) will play Southeastern in the bracket’s championship game tonight at 7 p.m.