Carmel runs past Marist
It had to be asked on Valentine's Day.
What do you love, Asher Jackson and Bryce Moore?
"Basketball," the Carmel Catholic sophomores said, in sweet unison, following the Corsairs' 62-30 rout of visiting Marist in an East Suburban Catholic Conference boys basketball game Friday night.
The pair scored all of the hosts' points in an explosive 9-0, fourth-quarter run -- in a fantastically frenetic 41 seconds -- that expanded Carmel's lead to a resounding 51-24.
The best eye candy in the stretch?
Moore's dunk to cap it at the 5:34 mark.
"I love my team," said Corsairs coach Zack Ryan, whose team won for the 10th time in its last 12 games to improve to 16-11 overall, 3-5 in the ESCC. "We dealt with some adversity this week; I was sick and missed two practices, and my assistant got sick. But it's nice, being able to trust our players like we do.
"We were more aggressive, offensively, in the second half, after I was happy with our defense in the first half. Our transition looked much better after halftime, allowing us to score on layups and open 3s, plus that dunk."
The 6-foot-2 Jackson tallied 10 of his game-high 19 points in the fourth quarter and connected five times from 3-point terrain. Moore, a 6-4 guard/forward, netted all 6 of his points after intermission.
The tireless catalyst behind the Corsairs' 40-point second half was junior point guard Kimahri Wilson (12 points, 6 rebounds, 4 steals). He opened the second half with a trey after a Moore steal and gave Carmel a 29-19 advantage on a basket off a Moore assist with about 90 ticks left in the frame.
Wilson then collected 2 steals in the final quarter, with one preceding a slick, underhanded pass to Jackson on a fast-break layup.
"I told our guys at the half, 'Sprint, and Kimahri will find you,' " Ryan said.
Marist (9-13, 2-6) found twine only once in the second quarter, with its lone field goal in the 8 minutes coming at 1:16.
Carmel, which struck for 4 of its 10 3-pointers in the first quarter, led 22-11 at the break. Senior guard Joey Halaburt (6 points) and junior guard Syone Usma-Harper (9 points) each hit a pair of triples in the opening stanza on Senior Night in Mundelein.
"We were strong on defense," Jackson said three days after Carmel poured in 36 second-half points in a 57-54 defeat of visiting Deerfield. "Strong defense leads to points in transition. We executed better in the second half. Kimahri got us going.
"And we weren't selfish."
They didn't just celebrate Valentine's Day and Carmel's varsity seniors Friday night. Before the tip, everybody in the place applauded retiring PA announcer Mike Fitzgibbons for his 25 years of service at home hoops games.
The longtime voice of Carmel Catholic basketball had to battle to be heard during that thrilling 9-0, 41-second spurt in the fourth quarter.
He was up against the Corsairs' rabid, deafening fans in the student section.
"The energy of the crowd," Moore said, "helped us in the fourth quarter."
Corsairs junior reserve guard Jalen Burton contributed 6 points, including 4 in a 29-second span in the fourth quarter.
Forward-center Jabari Hill led Marist with 8 points.