Waukegan proves too much for Carmel
Carmel Catholic's boys basketball team got its chance to play Waukegan this season after all.
The Corsairs just didn't get the result they wanted.
Jordan Brown scored 10 of his game-high 25 points in a momentum-changing third quarter, Andre White Jr. added 18 points, and host Waukegan pulled away after halftime en route to a 75-51 win over Carmel in a nonconference game Thursday night.
"We wanted to come play here," coach Zack Ryan said after his Corsairs fell to 3-3 with their second loss in three days. "I told (Waukegan coach Ron Ashlaw), 'We want to come play you guys in your gym. You're a really good team. I think it'll be fun for our guys.' We could have easily gone and played somewhere else. It's a good test for us to see where we're at."
Carmel won its Thanksgiving tournament at Grant, where Ryan's team played Waukegan the last three years. Waukegan went to Quincy this year to open the season.
"Coach Ryan always wants to schedule a big game, and he doesn't shy away from it," Carmel senior guard Johnny Roeser said. "I feel like even though we lost tonight's game, it was a good test for us. (Waukegan) is ranked in the state, and we're not. We know how good (other) teams are, and we know how good (Waukegan is). We just got to bring the intensity every game. Now we know what it takes to beat a good team like that."
Roeser, who received his first scholarship offer Wednesday from NAIA Waldorf University in Iowa, led Carmel with 17 points and 7 rebounds. Damone Williams-Gray added 12 points and 7 boards, but Waukegan (3-1) held Grant tourney MVP Kimahri Wilson to just 7 points. The Bulldogs also boasted four players in double figures, as Bryant Brown chipped in 14 points and 9 rebounds, while Jaylin Cunningham scored 10. Javeon Taylor grabbed a game-best 12 rebounds. Bryant Brown and White each sank two 3-pointers.
Carmel actually led 30-27 with less than a minute left in the first half after a steal and layup by Wilson. But Jordan Brown scored in the lane, and then after Carmel failed to finish a fastbreak layup, Bryant Brown didn't at the other end, putting down a dunk to give the Bulldogs a 31-30 lead.
"I thought we did well in the first half, but we didn't play that great," said Ryan, whose team committed 15 turnovers. "Just too many careless turnovers, and against a team like that, it's hard to come back from that."
Jordan Brown scored Waukegan's first 10 points in the third quarter, while he and his teammates ratcheted up their defense.
"I have to give it all to the defense in the third quarter," said Jordan Brown, who's a cousin of Carmel senior Jalen Snell, who's out with a shoulder injury. "We had a different intensity than in the first half. We had a goal to turn it up."
Waukegan, which outscored Carmel 24-9 in the third to take a 55-39 lead into the fourth, played its usual man-to-man defense the entire game. The Bulldogs' traps caused all sorts of problems for Carmel.
"It's all about reads," Jordan Brown said after shooting 12 of 14 from the floor and adding 5 rebounds.
Despite the loss, Carmel doesn't figure to have any regrets scheduling a team that has the potential to be the best in Lake County this winter.
"Waukegan's got a lot of good talent, a lot of good players," Roeser said. "When you fall asleep for a minute like we did, you're up by 1 or 2 and it turns into a 10-point lead for them."