Boys Basketball: Mount Carmel handles Lane 59-37
Mount Carmel came into the Lane Thanksgiving Tournament with the goal of testing its depth while getting to play five games in six days.
The Caravan was able to clear its bench by taking care of business early in a 59-37 win over host Lane on Friday night.
“We get to play against teams we normally don’t see,’’ Mount Carmel coach Mike Flaherty said. “We are adding a couple of players in to go along with our regulars and then we will get the football players back.’’
Mount Carmel (3-1) struggled from the field in the first half, but still jumped out to a 34-16 halftime lead. The Caravan shot just 29 percent from the floor and just 54 percent from the free-throw line but compensated by forcing the Indians (0-4) into making 12 turnovers.
“We missed a lot of layups and free throws tonight,’’ Caravan guard David Nichols said. “We are usually pretty strong around the basket. We got away with it now, but against the bigger, better teams it will come back to beat us.’’
One player who didn’t struggle with his shooting was Montana Byrd. He had 12 first-half points, including two three-pointers, on his way to leading Mount Carmel in scoring. Nichols finished with 10 points and nine rebounds as the Caravan sat its starting lineup for almost the entire fourth quarter.
Mount Carmel was able to work Emmanuel Okafor and Gilbert Tyson in with the regulars. It was the first varsity playing experience for the junior forwards who were active defensively and on the boards.
“Both of those guys are pretty talented,’’ Flaherty said. “They just need to get some playing experience.’’
Mount Carmel will get Christian Searles, who was the leading scorer for the Caravan last year, Max Quinnos and Nick Johnson back after the football team wraps up its season Saturday in the Class 7A state finals.
Flaherty doesn’t anticipate being able to use any of them for at least a couple of weeks until they can get in basketball shape and practice with the rest of the team.
Admir Suljik led Lane with 12 points but the Indians were overwhelmed by Mount Carmel’s size advantage.
“Mount Carmel is a great team and they are super athletic,’’ Lane coach Nick Logalbo said. “We are small and young and we tried to play to our strength which is drive and dish for the three but we just aren’t hitting our shots right now.’’