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Boys Basketball: Mount Carmel withstands St. Ignatius

Updated: March 4, 2014 10:45PM



Mount Carmel’s Christian Searles and Co. like to run.

St. Ignatius, well, the Wolfpack does not. At all.

But playing against a patient Ignatius squad, Searles and the Caravan did what it had to Tuesday night.

Finally able to get out and run in the third quarter after a sluggish first half, Mount Carmel prevailed 51-43 over St. Ignatius in a Class 4A Oak Lawn Regional semifinal.

“It’s frustrating playing them because they make you play defense longer than the average team would,” Searles said. “We like to run, get a steal and do something instead of just playing defense like we should.”

Mount Carmel (21-8) will play Catholic League rival St. Rita at 7 p.m. Friday for the regional title.

Searles (13 points, 4 rebounds, 3 assists, 3 steals) led the Caravan, with David Nichols (14 point) and Gabe Grant (11 points, 8 rebounds) contributing.

With the game knotted at 21 in the third, the backcourt duo of Searles and Nichols shook off the sluggish pace. Nichols hit a hard baseline drive, adding a fast-break bucket seconds later.

Searles did his damage from distance, drilling a three-pointer from the top of the key before adding two free throws. Montana Byrd capped the 12-0 run with a corner three on a Searles assist.

“Going deeper into the playoffs, we have to play smart basketball,” Searles said. “If we have a lead late, we’ve got to preserve it, not jack up a quick shot.”

Byrd helped give Ignatius a taste of its own medicine in the fourth, capping a minute-long, pass-heavy possession with a three-point play with 4:01 remaining, putting Mount Carmel up 43-34.

“We do like to push the tempo,” Grant said. “We’re not satisfied with this win. We know St. Rita is a really good team, and we have to have some intense practices the next couple of days. We’ll push each other and keep working.”

Aaron Allen (10 points), Daniel Ogele (9), Lester Larry (8) and William Fleming (8) led St. Ignatius (13-16).



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