The 3-point arc didn't have cooties.
Neither did the area just inside the arc.
And yet, the Carmel boys basketball team kept its distance on Monday night at Lake Zurich.
The Corsairs didn't attempt many 3-pointers, or even many mid-range jump shots for that matter. With all the points in the paint that Carmel got in a 58-47 victory over Lake Zurich, offense from the perimeter wasn't necessary.
The Corsairs, who won the Martin Luther King tournament at Lake Zurich with a perfect 5-0 record, scored 18 of their 21 field goals from inside the paint.
They took it to Lake Zurich for one high percentage shot after another, and were 0-for-5 from 3-point range.
"Most of our points usually come from the paint," said 6-foot-10 Carmel center Jack George, who finished with a game-high 23 points and 15 rebounds. "We can shoot from outside, but our strength really is in the low post.
"Any time there's an opening, we know we've just got to get in down there and pound and pound and pound. Eventually, it's just going to work."
George, who put an exclamation point on the "paint-heavy" win with a big dunk on the last basket of the game, scored 9 points in the fourth quarter to help Carmel break open a close game and pull away.
C.J. Duff, a 6-foot-1 guard who likes to get to the basket, also got hot late. He scored 7 of his 10 points, all of which came in the paint, in the fourth.
"We just had to make sure that we kept attacking the basket and that we finished," said Duff, who made the all-tournament team along with teammate Michael Barr. "Coach pushed (the idea) of getting it inside. With a 6-foot-6 guy (Barr) and a 6-foot-10 guy (George), we have to be getting it inside."
Carmel is now 17-3 on the season after its perfect showing at the tournament. The Corsairs are off to their best start in years.
"We're just so happy and fortunate to be in this position right now, compared to where we were last year," said Carmel coach Tim Bowen said, whose team went 15-14 last season. "We look back at how hard the kids have been working and what they've been able to do and we're very, very proud of them.
"We've done a good job of being patient and really running our stuff and it's tough to defend us when we do that. We'll take a jumper, but we'd rather work it inside. That's our bread and butter."
Lake Zurich's bread and butter is often 3-point shooting.
But against Carmel, the Bears' long shots weren't falling much. They were 6-of-21 from 3-point range.
"What we talked about is that they were over there shooting all these layups and we were shooting all the perimeter shots," said Lake Zurich coach Billy Pitcher, whose team drops to 12-8 on the season. "We didn't shoot particularly well from there."
Junior guard Mike Travlos did get three 3-pointers to go down for Lake Zurich, which finished with a 4-1 record over the tournament. With 20 points, Travlos was the only Lake Zurich player to reach double-figures. He was also named the most valuable player of the tournament.
Carmel 32, Lincoln-Way Central 28: Earlier on Monday at the MLK tournament at Lake Zurich, Carmel squeaked out a win in a slow-paced game against Lincoln-Way Central.
Michael Barr paced the Corsairs with 13 points and was the only player for Carmel in double-figures.
Mundelein drops two: At the MLK tournament at Hononegah, Mundelein lost to Normal West (66-61) and Jacobs (84-69) to fall to 1-17 on the season.
Against Normal West, the Mustangs squandered a 15-point halftime lead.
Derek Parola paced Mundelein with 24 points while J.T. Michalski added 13 points.
Against Jacobs, Mundelein was down by only 6 points at the end of the third quarter. But Jacobs made a few key fourth-quarter plays and then started knocking down free throws to close out.
"We just couldn't get stops when we needed them," Mundelein coach Corey Knigge said. "We had chances, but you need to make your own breaks and we didn't do that."
The Mustangs got 27 points from Parola and 24 points from Michalski.