Carmel muscles up against Mundelein
Mundelein sophomore center Scottie Ebube, who's long and strong, provides a physical challenge even for Carmel Catholic's Jalen Snell.
Mind you, Snell is 6 feet 4 and 255 pounds and has football scholarship offers from Western Illinois, Southern Illinois and Eastern Illinois.
Carmel traveled to Mundelein on Wednesday night for a Lake Zurich MLK tournament game, and Snell along with Lukas Galdoni were tasked with defending the 6-8 Ebube. Galdoni, a big-bodied Butler baseball commit, started. Snell came off the bench.
"We tried our best just to contain him as much as we could because we knew he was going to be a big part of their (game plan)," Snell, an all-conference lineman for the Corsairs in the fall, said of Ebube. "We won't see too many guys (the size of Ebube)."
While Snell and Galdoni focused on shutting down Ebube, their teammates took care of the scoring, as Carmel led nearly the entire night in posting a 55-50 win. Johnny Roeser had 16 points, 6 rebounds, 6 steals and 3 blocks, Kimahri Wilson added 16 points and 7 boards, and Damone Williams-Gray contributed 15 points and 7 rebounds.
Carmel (14-8) will play Palatine at 2:30 p.m. Saturday at Lake Zurich, as the tournament resumes, while Mundelein (11-7) will take on Grayslake North at 11:30 a.m.
Conor Enright scored a game-high 19 points, including five 3-pointers, to lead the Mustangs against Carmel. Ebube finished with 14 points on 6-of-10 shooting and was kept off the glass (3 rebounds). Ebube came in averaging 16.5 points per game.
"We just kept throwing bodies at him and he got tired," said Williams-Gray, another big body (6-4), who's still deciding whether he wants to play basketball or football in college. "I'd say that's probably the hardest 14 points he ever worked for."
Carmel limited Ebube and Enright to 1 shot each in the second quarter, and while the two sophomores each made it (Enright's basket was a 3), the Corsairs led 25-16 at halftime. Mundelein responded in the third quarter, getting a pair of 3-pointers from Enright and one from Jack Bikus (5 points), while scoring 22 points to get within 42-38 at quarter's end.
But Carmel retained the lead throughout the fourth, sealing its third win a row thanks to the free-throwing shooting of Roeser and Wilson. Roeser went 3 of 4 from the stripe in the fourth, and Wilson made 5 of 9 attempts.
Enright scored 5 points down the stretch to cut an 11-point deficit for the Mustangs to 54-48 with 27 seconds left, but the hosts ran out of time.
"It was a physical game, and we got to be able to play through the physicalness of the game," Mundelein coach Matt Badgley said. "They pushed us out of our offensive stuff. We're still young and trying to learn how to be able to do our things. (Carmel) took advantage of those things."
Snell (5 points) added a free throw in the final seconds. Wilson, who came off the bench, sank three 3-pointers. Galdoni had a bucket and 4 rebounds.
"I thought both teams played really hard, but at the end of the day it's a credit to our guys for executing our game plan," Carmel coach Zack Ryan said. "They have two really good players (Enright and Ebube), and I thought we just battled and fought and stayed together."