New role suits Wilson well as Carmel wins again
Kimahri Wilson has become the sixth man for Carmel Catholic's boys basketball team, and he has accepted his new role.
The sophomore guard helped lead the Corsairs to a 70-58 win over Palatine in the Martin Luther King Classic at Lake Zurich on Saturday.
Wilson scored 15 of his 18 points in the second half to give Carmel a spark.
"I'm just going with the flow," Wilson said. "If the coach says I'm the sixth man, then I have to do what I have to do coming off the bench to produce. In the second half, when (Palatine) got out of a zone, I was able to get a little more freedom and I took over from there."
Damone Williams-Gray scored a game-high 19 points for Carmel (15-8), which won its fourth game in a row to advance to Monday's 2:30 p.m. championship game against Glenbrook South (15-5). Johnny Roeser added 18 points, including back-to-back dunks in the fourth quarter, and 6 rebounds.
"We knew coming in that it would be a tough game since (Palatine) played really tough (Friday night)," Carmel coach Zack Ryan said. "Second half, when we got into space and got up the floor a little bit and ran our fastbreak, I think that changed the game. I thought our guys battled again and did a good job. It was a good win."
The Corsairs played without forward Jalen Snell who was on a visit to Eastern Illinois University for football.
Carmel held a 12-7 lead after the opening quarter and kept adding to the lead. The Corsairs hit three-straight 3-pointers, including one by Will Schott that bumped the lead to 27-15 with 4:30 left before halftime.
Palatine (8-11) cut its deficit to 30-23 on a short jump shot by Julian Campbell (13 points) with 20 seconds remaining.
Carmel started the second half with a 9-4 run. Williams-Gray made a layup that made the score 39-27, but the Pirates answered with a 13-2 run.
Tommy Swanson came off the bench to finish a layup and get Palatine within 41-40 with 1:41 left in the third. The Corsairs held a 45-42 lead entering the final quarter and then went on a 10-3 run to extend their lead to 55-45 with 5:46 left. Wilson and Williams-Gray each had 5 points during that stretch.
Palatine made another push, cutting its deficit to 55-51 with 4:45 left on David Balanganayi's short jump shot. He finished with 11 points and 7 boards.
Carmel took over from there with Wilson getting a couple of steals and finding Roeser going to the basket on the next couple of possessions.
Marshawn Rayford had a team-high 17 points and 7 rebounds for the Pirates.
"We're doing enough good things to keep us in games, but we're not doing enough to close those games out," Palatine coach Eric Millstone said. "Our fight is good and our hearts are in the right spot. We just have to make a few more plays in longer stretches. (Carmel) was really athletic and they came out shooting the ball very well. They have weapons that you have to account for. You concentrate on shutting one kid down, then two other kids step up."
Palatine meets hosts Lake Zurich (5-15) in the third-place game at 11:30 a.m. Monday.