2016-'17 Season Coverage
updated: 1/17/2017 10:30 PM

Snell's sharp play helps Carmel past Vernon Hills

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By Bill Pemstein
Daily Herald Correspondent

It's a play you might see in the fourth grade. A free-throw shooter realizes his foul shot is off so he charges through the lane and beats all the other players to the ball and makes a layup.

Carmel Catholic sophomore Jalen Snell pulled off that hustle play Saturday morning.

"My shot felt off, so my first instinct was to go for the ball," Snell said.

Snell was a force for Carmel (7-11), registering a double-double, as the Corsairs pulled away from Vernon Hills 63-44 in the fifth annual Martin Luther King Classic at Lake Zurich.

Snell finished with 16 points and 11 rebounds. Sophomore Johnny Roeser (15 points, 12 rebounds) also had a double-double for the Corsairs (7-11).

"Jalen played great," coach Zack Ryan said. "He brings a little swagger out there. This was really his coming-out party. He's a big, strong kid who brings in energy for us."

The 6-foot-3 Snell isn't the tallest player around, but his football background helps block out players.

"I still like basketball better than football,'' he admitted.

On consecutive drives to the basket by Vernon Hills senior guard Chris Mariella with five minutes to play before halftime, Carmel's lead was cut to 21-19. But Vernon Hills never scored another point in the quarter, as Carmel went on a 13-0 run to close out the half.

"No. 44 happened," Vernon Hills coach Matt McCarty said of Snell. "They got so many second-chance points. We played well at times. But we still gave up a lot of points."

While Snell and Roeser dominated on the boards, fellow sophomore Evan Myers landed four 3-pointers and finished with 14 points.

"That's my role,'' Myers said of shooting 3-pointers. "I was feeling it today. We had a big win last night (against Nazareth) and we wanted to build on it today."

With Carmel up 34-19 at halftime, Myers opened the third quarter with his final 3-pointer. Snell had back-to-back buckets to hike the Carmel lead to 47-29 entering the fourth.

"We've been doing better defensively," Ryan said.

Mariella (16 points) continued to get the basket in the second half.

"We shot OK at 45 percent," McCarty said. "But Carmel took 57 shots and we had only 44 attempts. We've had a good week of practice. The boys are still buying into the program."

Both teams resume the tournament Monday morning. Vernon Hills plays host Lake Zurich at 9 a.m., and Carmel battles Maine East at 10:30 a.m.

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