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Boys Basketball: Thornwood defeats Mount Carmel 56-46

Mount Carmel's Gabe Grant (left) Thornwood's Rashaad Alexander (right) chase down loose ball during Crete-Monee boys basketball shootout Crete Il.

Mount Carmel's Gabe Grant (left) and Thornwood's Rashaad Alexander (right) chase down a loose ball during the Crete-Monee boys basketball shootout in Crete, Il., on Saturday, Dec. 21, 2013. | John Smierciak/For Sun-Times Media

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Updated: December 28, 2013 12:21AM

Thornwood took 15 less shots from the field than Mount Carmel, was outrebounded 33-22, and struggled to get separation from the Caravan all day Saturday.

Yet the Thunderbirds found a way to grind out a win.

Thornwood jumped ahead 4-3 and led the rest of the way in a 56-46 victory over the Caravan at the Crete-Monee Shootout.

“We’ve talked to the guys about establishing a lead and building on it,” Thornwood coach Paul Slavich said. “Mount Carmel kept fighting back, but we found a way to win. I guess it’s a good sign to get wins when you’re not playing well.”

Rashaad Alexander had 15 points and Chelby Frazier 12 for Thornwood (7-2).

Gabe Grant paced Mount Carmel (8-3) with 15 points and 10 rebounds.

Alexander hit a pair of key three-pointers late in the third quarter, helping stretch the Thornwood lead from 28-23 to 34-25.

Abdul Ogunnaike added a layup at the third-quarter buzzer to push the lead into double digits.

“We called out single-high,” Alexander said. “It’s a screen offense. My guys set screens and got me open and I just knocked down the shots. It feels good to beat Mount Carmel. They’re a good team.”

Thornwood was mostly one-and-done on offense, but shot at a 47 percent clip from the field (15-of-32). Mount Carmel’s dominance on the boards led to a lot of second chances, but the Caravan finished just 15-of-47 (32 percent) from the field.

Thornwood led 16-9 after one period. In the second quarter, Mount Carmel forced five turnovers and took 10 more shots than the Thunderbirds, but went just 2-of-16 from the field and could not close the gap, going into halftime down 24-17.

“I’m getting frustrated,” Mount Carmel coach Mike Flaherty said. “I feel like we’re a lot better than we’re playing. We’ve had a lot of periods of bad basketball and we’re struggling to get 32 good minutes. We’re playing too much selfish, one-on-one basketball on offense.”

Donte Thomas had eight points and 10 rebounds for Thornwood.

Montana Byrd finished with 12 points, while David Nichols (5 rebounds) and Emmanuel Okafor (6 rebounds) tallied seven points each for the Caravan.

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