Carmel Catholic's boys basketball team seems to be gaining confidence each time out.
Now, if only that would translate into a few more victories.
The Corsairs are staying with most of their competitors before coming up short, most recently in close losses to Lake Forest and Vernon Hills.
Add another to the list of close calls as East Suburban Catholic Conference foe Nazareth topped the Corsairs 49-46 in Mundelein.
"We make good comebacks," Carmel coach Tim Bowen said. "We cut it to 1 or down to 2 or 3 and we get an opportunity to take the lead. But we fumble the ball and it goes the other way for a 3-point play or a foul. It's just an unfortunate thing for us.
"You've got to win some games, and win some of the close ones, to gain some confidence playing that way. You've just got to be a little bit tougher, pull through a couple of games and show we can actually do it."
Carmel (3-6, 0-2) lost its fourth straight game. The Corsairs played without senior forward Dan Feld, who missed the game because of migraines.
"You hate to lose a guy who gives you a double-double," said Bowen, whose team returns to action against ESCC rival St. Viator in Arlington Heights this evening. "We're not sure when he'll be back."
The Corsairs fought hard down to the final seconds and found themselves down by 3 points with a chance to force overtime. But a final 3-point went off the mark as time expired.
Nazareth (5-1, 2-0) also helped its cause by turning the ball over 3 times and missing a couple of shots over the last couple of minutes.
"We did some things and got into bad spots on the floor," Nazareth coach John Bonk said. "We were not smart with the ball. We gutted it out, though, and defended on the other side of the floor. This is a game we would have lost last year.
"Any time you get a win on the road it's big."
Carmel played from behind for most of the game and only led twice in the first half.
Nazareth's A.J. Ryan broke a 12-12 tie three minutes into the second quarter, hitting three consecutive treys as part of a 16-8 run that put the Roadrunners ahead 28-20 at the half. Ryan also had a game-high 26 points.
The Corsairs worked their way back into the contest and trailed 37-34 at the end of three quarters. Carmel tied the game at 37-37 on John Busse's 3-pointer with 7:35 remaining.
Carmel stayed in the game by forcing several turnovers down the stretch but still couldn't get closer than 1 point the rest of the way.
"Our guys were playing some pretty good defense," said Bowen, whose squad allowed 21 second-half points. "Our group that played in the second half did a much better job on the defensive side of the ball."
Connor Jordan led the Corsairs with 20 points, 6 rebounds and 5 steals. Brandon Motzel added 9 and 6 boards, and Tim Hendricks chipped in with 8.
Nazareth's Ryan Powers scored 15 points and had 13 rebounds.