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Article updated: 3/12/2014 11:26 PM
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Achievements keep coming for sectional finalist Carmel
 

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Achievements keep coming for sectional finalist Carmel
  • Carmel's Michael Barr celebrates after the Corsairs' win over Uplift in the Class 3A sectional semifinal at Antioch.

    Purchase Photo | Carmel's Michael Barr celebrates after the Corsairs' win over Uplift in the Class 3A sectional semifinal at Antioch. Steve Lundy | Staff Photographer

  • Carmel’s Billy Kirby celebrates after the Corsairs’ win over Uplift in the Class 3A sectional semifinal at Antioch on Wednesday.

    Purchase Photo | Carmel’s Billy Kirby celebrates after the Corsairs’ win over Uplift in the Class 3A sectional semifinal at Antioch on Wednesday. Steve Lundy | Staff Photographer

  • Carmel’s Jack George, left, and Nickai Poyser try to secure a loose ball during the Corsairs’ win over Uplift in the Class 3A sectional semifinal at Antioch on Wednesday.

    Purchase Photo | Carmel’s Jack George, left, and Nickai Poyser try to secure a loose ball during the Corsairs’ win over Uplift in the Class 3A sectional semifinal at Antioch on Wednesday. Steve Lundy | Staff Photographer

  • Carmel’s Nickai Poyser celebrates after the Corsairs’ win over Uplift in the Class 3A sectional semifinal at Antioch on Wednesday.

    Purchase Photo | Carmel’s Nickai Poyser celebrates after the Corsairs’ win over Uplift in the Class 3A sectional semifinal at Antioch on Wednesday. Steve Lundy | Staff Photographer

  • Carmel’s Jack George, left, drives on Uplift’s Jamaya Wyatt during the boys basketball Class 3A sectional semifinal at Antioch High School Wednesday.

    Purchase Photo | Carmel’s Jack George, left, drives on Uplift’s Jamaya Wyatt during the boys basketball Class 3A sectional semifinal at Antioch High School Wednesday. Steve Lundy | Staff Photographer

  • Carmel’s Jack George, left, looks to shoot on Uplift’s Jamaya Wyatt in the Class 3A sectional semifinal at Antioch on Wednesday.

    Purchase Photo | Carmel’s Jack George, left, looks to shoot on Uplift’s Jamaya Wyatt in the Class 3A sectional semifinal at Antioch on Wednesday. Steve Lundy | Staff Photographer

  • Carmel’s Billy Kirby, middle, looks to pass as Uplift’s Robert Gordon and Daniel Suetan defend in the Class 3A sectional semifinal at Antioch on Wednesday.

    Purchase Photo | Carmel’s Billy Kirby, middle, looks to pass as Uplift’s Robert Gordon and Daniel Suetan defend in the Class 3A sectional semifinal at Antioch on Wednesday. Steve Lundy | Staff Photographer

  • Carmel’s Billy Kirby, left, drives on Uplift’s Daniel Suetan in the Class 3A sectional semifinal at Antioch on Wednesday.

    Purchase Photo | Carmel’s Billy Kirby, left, drives on Uplift’s Daniel Suetan in the Class 3A sectional semifinal at Antioch on Wednesday. Steve Lundy | Staff Photographer

  • Carmel’s Jack George, right, high-fives Billy Kirby during the Class 3A sectional semifinal at Antioch on Wednesday.

    Purchase Photo | Carmel’s Jack George, right, high-fives Billy Kirby during the Class 3A sectional semifinal at Antioch on Wednesday. Steve Lundy | Staff Photographer

  • Carmel’s Nickai Poyser, left, dribbles around Uplift’s Robert Gordon during the Class 3A sectional semifinal at Antioch on Wednesday.

    Purchase Photo | Carmel’s Nickai Poyser, left, dribbles around Uplift’s Robert Gordon during the Class 3A sectional semifinal at Antioch on Wednesday. Steve Lundy | Staff Photographer

  • Carmel’s Michael Barr pulls down a rebound during the Class 3A sectional semifinal at Antioch on Wednesday.

    Purchase Photo | Carmel’s Michael Barr pulls down a rebound during the Class 3A sectional semifinal at Antioch on Wednesday. Steve Lundy | Staff Photographer

  • Carmel’s Nickai Poyser, left, strips the ball from Uplift’s Jamaya Wyatt during the Class 3A sectional semifinal at Antioch on Wednesday.

    Purchase Photo | Carmel’s Nickai Poyser, left, strips the ball from Uplift’s Jamaya Wyatt during the Class 3A sectional semifinal at Antioch on Wednesday. Steve Lundy | Staff Photographer

  • Carmel’s Lee Bowen, left, fights for a loose ball with Uplift’s Chris Williams in the Class 3A sectional semifinal at Antioch on Wednesday.

    Purchase Photo | Carmel’s Lee Bowen, left, fights for a loose ball with Uplift’s Chris Williams in the Class 3A sectional semifinal at Antioch on Wednesday. Steve Lundy | Staff Photographer

  • Carmel’s Nickai Poyser, left, dribbles around Uplift’s Jeremy Roscoe in the Class 3A sectional semifinal at Antioch on Wednesday.

    Purchase Photo | Carmel’s Nickai Poyser, left, dribbles around Uplift’s Jeremy Roscoe in the Class 3A sectional semifinal at Antioch on Wednesday. Steve Lundy | Staff Photographer

 

The list was already long.

And on Wednesday, it got even longer.

Story Continues Below

The Carmel boys basketball team added yet again to its season of "first-evers," "record-setters" and "drought-breakers" with a 55-46 victory over Uplift in the semifinals of the Class 3A Antioch sectional semifinal.

Not only did the Corsairs earn an opportunity to play in Friday's sectional title game and win their first sectional championship since 1985, they also notched their 25th win of the season, a school record.

"We've piled on so many things this year. What a great accomplishment for the boys," said Carmel coach Tim Bowen, whose team is now 25-8. "It's so cool."

Bowen pointed out that earlier this season the Corsairs took first place at the Crystal Lake tournament as well as the Martin Luther King tournament at Lake Zurich, while finishing second at the Jacobs holiday tournament.

"We've never had a 6-0 start either, and we did that. We got the record for wins. We now have back-to-back Sweet 16 appearances," Bowen said. "Wow. That's a load of stuff."

In Friday's sectional title game against top-seeded North Chicago, Carmel will seek to avenge its 17-point loss that occurred to North Chicago in the same game last year.

"We're not done yet," said 6-foot-10 Carmel center Jack George, who tied Billy Kirby for team-high scoring honors with 16 points apiece. "Ever since last year in the sectionals with them beating us pretty bad, we've been waiting all year for this. We've been working hard all summer to get to this point where we are now.

"This year, we expected to be at this point. Anything less would have been a disappointing season. Last year, it was different, because we were the underdogs. This year, the expectations were higher and we had more of a target on our backs."

Carmel hit the bullseye with its strategy against Uplift.

The Titans love to rev the tempo and run up and down the floor in transition. But Carmel was patient in the half-court set, worked the ball into the paint and slowed the pace of the game.

"We controlled the ball," said Kirby, who scored most of his points on powerful drives to the basket. "They are really good in transition and scoring coast to coast and for some stretches of the game, especially early in the game, I thought we did a good job of stopping them."

The Titans (25-5) got going again late in the game, but didn't have enough time to finish the job.

Guard Jeremy Roscoe scored 10 of his game-high 24 points in the final minutes to cut Uplift's 15-point deficit down to 6 points with 1:30 left.

He then cut it to 5 points with a 3-pointer with 35.5 seconds remaining, but Kirby and Michael Barr combined to hit four straight free throws to seal it for Carmel.

"We really tried to up the tempo and we got back into the game," Roscoe said. "But we didn't attack early on and it was like we were waiting to see what was going to happen.

"They made us play their game."

Uplift, which was down by 14 points at halftime and as many as 17 points in the second half, also got 12 points out of forward Jamaya Wayatt.

Nickai Poyser added 9 points for Carmel.

"Our issue is that we should have played aggressive from the start," Uplift assistant coach Antwione Allen said. "We fell behind and it's hard to get back. If we had played like we did (in the fourth quarter), we would have been in a better situation at the end of the game."

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