With 21 turnovers as a testament, the Carmel boys basketball team had big trouble with Wauconda's full-court pressure Wednesday night.
But the host Bulldogs had even bigger trouble with Carmel's bigs.
The tall tandem of 6-foot-9 center Jack George and 6-foot-6 forward Cullen Barr teamed up to dominate the paint and push their way around for more than half of Carmel's points in the Corsairs' 50-40 nonconference victory over Wauconda.
George pumped in a game-high 16 points while Barr added 15 points to help Carmel improve to 6-9 on the season.
"Both of our games really complement each other. We can both shoot inside and out," George said. "(Barr) can get rebounds, I can get rebounds. He can get blocks, I can get blocks. We feed off of each other. One of us will do something good, and the other will do something good."
This is the first full season that George and Barr have spent so much time on the same team, since Barr is a senior and George is a junior. Yet, the two grew up pushing each other at recess and at other school events as both attended St. Joseph grade school in Libertyville.
"We work out together a lot. He keeps me on my toes and I keep him on his," Barr said. "It's really nice having (George) around and it's been nice getting to play with him my final year. We just have to keep it going now."
The Corsairs could do without all the turnovers, though.
They had a hard time cracking Wauconda's press in the fourth quarter, committing nearly half (10) of their turnovers in the final eight minutes.
Carmel, which was tied with Wauconda 19-19 at halftime, had built up an 11-point lead early in the quarter but saw that shrink to as few as 6 points several times due to mistakes in the press breaker.
"There were just way too many turnovers for us," said Carmel coach Tim Bowen, who also got 9 points from junior guard Billy Kirby and 8 points from junior forward Michael Barr. "And it's not like we don't see it. We see pressure defense in our league like this every night. So for us to have 21 turnovers was not real good. We usually like to be the team that causes the turnovers, not be on the other end of it. But Wauconda was doing something pretty good out there to us."
Wauconda, which had only 7 turnovers of its own, got a team-high 14 points out of senior guard Austin Swenson. He hit a couple of 3-pointers while teammates Keith Blomberg (8 points) and Dion Head (9 points) hit big 3-pointers during Wauconda's rallies in the fourth quarter.
"We forced some turnovers, we just weren't always able to capitalize on them. We had some missed layups and sometimes we coughed the ball right back up," said Wauconda coach Scott Luetschwager, whose team drops to 10-8 on the season. "We're trying to do more with the press. At the end of this game, we knew we could get some turnovers with it. We've had a couple games that we've been able to get back in by pressing and causing other teams problems."