Boys Basketball: Mount Carmel turns St. Laurence inside-out
By Steve Millar For Sun-Times Media February 14, 2014 9:24PM
Updated: February 16, 2014 2:12AM
Mount Carmel didn’t want to turn Friday night’s game against St. Laurence into a three-point contest. That’s what happened in the first half as the Caravan, relying almost entirely on guards David Nichols and Christian Searles, led just 24-23 at the break.
“We got a couple of offensive rebounds in the first half, but for the most part we weren’t taking advantage of our size advantage,” Mount Carmel coach Mike Flaherty said. “We were settling for three-pointers. You have to recognize where your strengths are.”
The Caravan did that in the third quarter. Gabe Grant got going inside, scoring 10 of the team’s 25 third-quarter points as host Mount Carmel pulled away for a 60-49 Catholic League North win.
Nichols (25 points, 5 rebounds), Searles (17 points, 7 rebounds) and Grant (12 points, 7 rebounds) formed quite the trio as Mount Carmel (19-7, 9-2) earned its ninth straight victory.
Matt Gurgone led St. Laurence (5-17, 0-11) with 14 points.
Grant scored two quick inside buckets in the opening moments of the third period to set the tone. Gilbert Tyson fired up the team with a huge dunk off a steal.
The Caravan shot 11-of-14 from the field in the third as Grant took advantage of his inside touches and Nichols converted three fast-break layups.
“I was just playing really lazy in the first half,” Grant said. “I had to get something going because we clearly had a size advantage. Coach (Flaherty) drilled us at halftime about not getting the ball inside at all. It just happened to be me who got the ball when we went inside.”
The Caravan closed the third quarter on a 10-2 run to extend the lead to 49-35.
“We all played with intensity in the second half and we all helped each other out,” Nichols said. “(Flaherty) drew up some good plays to get Gabe the ball.
“Whether we’ve been beating good teams or beating bad teams lately, the constant has been us playing hard every game.”
Mount Carmel finished 24-of-50 from the field. St. Laurence was 17-of-38.
St. Laurence, which got 10 points from Quentin Forberg and eight from Bob Kelly, matched the Caravan shot for shot in the first half, leading twice and forcing seven ties.
In the end, though, the Caravan’s steak remained intact.
“Ever since we beat Bolingbrook (on Jan. 20), we’ve been playing great as a team,” Grant said. “We all love playing together and that’s big. It’s a fun ride.”