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Boys Basketball: De La Salle pulls out 60-57 win over Mount Carmel

BrandHuttDe LaSalle goes up for dunk against Mount Carmel Mouth Carmel Friday December 13th 2013 Chicago. | Gary Middendorf~For Sun-Times

Brandon Hutton, of De LaSalle, goes up for the dunk against Mount Carmel at Mouth Carmel, Friday, December 13th, 2013, in Chicago. | Gary Middendorf~For Sun-Times Media

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Updated: January 16, 2014 6:51AM

Entering Friday’s Catholic League showdown, De La Salle and Mount Carmel were teams headed in opposite directions.

The Meteors had lost four of their first six game to start the season; Mount Carmel had won six of seven.

With the Caravan enjoying home-court advantage, that trend was expected to continue.

But it didn’t, and it was mainly due to Mount Carmel’s woeful performance from the free-throw line.

Three players reached double figures in scoring for De La Salle, led by Brandon Hutton’s 14 points, as the Meteors recorded a 60-57 win over Mount Carmel.

De La Salle (3-4, 1-2) converted 29-of-44 charity tries on the evening. Mount Carmel was just 4-of-17.

It was the second straight wretched performance from the line by the Caravan, which overcame an 8-of-23 performance against Brother Rice on Dec. 6 to record a 63-61 victory.

“We didn’t give ourselves a chance,” Mount Carmel coach Mike Flaherty said. “We almost lost to Brother Rice because we couldn’t make them. We should be better at home but it’s been just the opposite for us.”

The Caravan (6-2, 2-1) led most of the first half behind the play of David Nichols, who scored 13 of his game-high 19 points in the opening 16 minutes. Mount Carmel led by as many as seven, but watched its lead slowly dwindle in the second quarter.

A slam by Hutton (14 points) cut the Meteors deficit to 19-15 and a three-pointer by George Wilborn from the corner trimmed it further at 22-20.

When Aaron Jones buried a three from the top of the key, De La Salle led 25-24 at the intermission.

The Meteors wouldn’t trail again.

“We struggled to get used to the flow of the game,” said De La Salle’s Karl Harris, who finished with 12 points. “We attack (the basket) a lot. We’re gong to get to the line.”

Foul trouble plagued the Caravan much of the second half, with Nichols and Devante Charles saddled with four fouls in the third period. The Caravan trailed 43-39 early in the fourth and had a golden opportunity to draw closer when Nichols was fouled attempting a three. The Caravan’s leading scorer, however, missed all three attempts. To make matters worse, Nichols’ final miss was rebounded by De La Salle and resulted in a baseline basket by Martez Cameron for a 45-39 lead.

It was a huge five-point swing.

“Our best shooter missed three (free throws),” Flaherty said. “We missed 1-and-1s. It’s concentration, focus.”

De La Salle converted 14-of-22 free throws in the final quarter to secure the win.

The Meteors hope this win is the start of better days.

“I think it’s big to get the Catholic League win,” said Karl Harris, who finished with 12 points. “We went out and played hard and executed.”

Caleb Williams scored 12 points off the bench for Mount Carmel, which hopes to have last year’s leading scorer, Christian Searles, back in the lineup soon.

“Searles has a Jay Cutler high ankle sprain,” Flaherty said. “He needed a good rest (from football season). We need him at 100 percent the rest of the way.”

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