First-year Jacobs boys basketball coach Jimmy Roberts isn't into moral victories.
But the Golden Eagles' boss liked his team's effort despite a 63-53 loss to Carmel Catholic in semifinal action of the Hinkle Holiday Classic hosted by Jacobs Friday night.
Jacobs (5-4) will play Larkin for third place at 6 p.m. while Carmel (10-2) will tangle with Zion-Benton for the title at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday.
"The kids really competed and played extremely hard," said Roberts. "Their experience was key tonight. Every time we had a run (Carmel) showed poise and didn't let us get any closer. There were a lot of positives and we can learn from this game."
The Golden Eagles had no answer for the Corsairs' 6-foot-10 senior center John George, who delivered 23 points on 8 of 10 shooting from the field with 12 rebounds and 2 blocked shots.
"It was a very physical game early," said George. "Once we got used to their physicality we made shots and got in a rhythm. Jacobs made many runs at us, but we kept our poise. We have a lot of experience and we have been in a lot of close games."
Backing George's effort were Michael Barr, Bill Kirby and Chris Duff, who scored 10 points each. Nickai Poyser added 9 for the winners.
Jacobs, which never led in the game and trailed by as many as 13 in the first half, climbed to within 4 of the Corsairs, 41-37, after a 12-footer by Matt Bindi at the buzzer to end the third quarter.
The Golden Eagles couldn't get any closer as Carmel scored the first 5 points of the fourth quarter on a long 3-pointer and then a layup by Duff to extend the lead from 4 to 9, 46-37, with 6:09 remaining in the contest.
The Corsairs' biggest lead of the game was 14, 61-47, after a resounding dunk by Barr with 1:55 left in the game.
"These kids showed a lot of poise when Jacobs made any type of run in the game," said Carmel coach Tim Bowen. "You can't ask much more than that from a group of kids. We played with a great amount of desire and we have great senior leadership."
For Jacobs, Ben Murray led the way with 16 points, including a 7 of 7 effort from the free-throw line. Chris Orange added 14 points including a pair of 3-pointers.