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Few fourth-quarter deficits worry the St. Patrick boys basketball team. Particularly not one as manageable as 7 points.
It takes just a few 3-pointers to erase that. And the Shamrocks can hit 3-pointers faster than you can say "new ballgame."
On Friday night at Carmel, it took St. Patrick less than three minutes at the beginning of the fourth quarter to turn its 7-point deficit into a 4-point advantage. The visiting Shamrocks hit three 3-pointers in successive possessions and then hit another after that to set the table for a 61-56 East Suburban Catholic Conference victory over Carmel.
St. Patrick, which improves to 16-7 overall and 4-3 in the ESCC, drained 10 shots from 3-point range on the night.
"The 3-point game is a big part of our offense," said St. Patrick sophomore guard Nick Coleman, who scored 10 of his 12 points, including two 3-pointers, in the fourth quarter. "In the fall, before the season even started, we'd get in before practice and do 30 minutes of just 3-point shooting. The whole team would do it every day. We still do it now, and we even stay after practice to keep shooting 3-pointers.
Another sophomore guard, Isaac Moore, led St. Patrick with three 3-pointers while senior guard Keith Langston chipped in with two makes of his own from long range. He finished with 10 points.
Senior guard Royale Ewing paced St. Patrick with 15 points, including a 3-pointer as well.
St. Patrick, which averages about eight 3-pointers per game, has had more than 10 3-pointers in a game multiple times this season.
"Three-point shooting has been the strength of our program over the last few years," St. Patrick coach Michael Bailey said. "This team is a very good-shooting team. It's a point of emphasis in practice. We never feel like we're out of a game. With the way we can shoot the basketball and with the way we can pressure on defense, we've always got a shot."
Carmel (11-13, 3-5 ESCC) handled St. Patrick's pesky full-court press fairly well, until the fourth quarter. That's when the Shamrocks seemed to dial up the intensity.
"We got tentative. In the first half, we were attacking the press. We went after them," Carmel coach Tim Bowen said. "Then we sat back on our heels in the fourth quarter. We were too worried about protecting the ball and we didn't see the floor. We missed some guys who were wide open under the basket."
The Corsairs didn't miss everyone.
Junior forward Jack George got most of his points under the basket for Carmel. He pumped in 15 points, 13 of which came in the second half. Junior guard Nickai Poyser added 12 points for the Corsairs while Cullen Barr and Michael Barr each chipped in with 9 points.
"I'm devastated after this loss. I feel bad for all the seniors (on Senior Night)," George said. "I think the fact that (St. Patrick) hit so many 3-pointers kind of unnerved us and when they started doing it in the fourth quarter, we really couldn't recover."