Balanced effort helps Carmel trip up St. Viator
Finding balance was a big key for Carmel Catholic in a rivalry matchup on Friday night.
Bryce Moore led the way with 13 points and 8 rebounds and Luke Nalewajk added 11 points and 11 rebounds in a strong second half effort as the Corsairs got past St. Viator 45-36 in an East Suburban Catholic Conference boys basketball game in Mundelein.
"We've been able to win in multiple ways and it's not always pretty," Carmel coach Zack Ryan said. "Sooner or later, we've got to figure out how to do it. You have to win in a grind-out game like this and it gets a little ugly, chippy and physical. A part of that is our conference. It's good that we can win in different ways. I'd like to be a little cleaner sometimes, but a win is a win in our conference, and we'll take a win any way we can get it."
Carmel improved its overall record to 13-7 and 4-3 in the ESCC while St. Viator drops to 4-9 and 1-3.
The Lions built a 4-point advantage into the third quarter and led 25-21 with 5:41 left.
The Corsairs responded with a 12-2 run as Josh Stewart dropped in a pair of free throws that made the score 33-27 with 24 seconds remaining.
"We knew coming in that (St. Viator) was going to give us a good game and they're a good team," Ryan said. "We were ready, and St. Viator played a good first half. I was just happy with the way our guys responded. We were able to get some good stops in the third quarter to help us extend the lead a little bit."
In the final quarter, the Corsairs were able to extend the lead out to double digits as Nalewajk and Moore took over the scoring and on the boards.
"I saw a resiliency," Nalewajk said. "There was a stretch that we got down, kept fighting and didn't give up. We stuck through adversity, and we stuck together as a team. We truly played a team game. I can't do anything without the team behind me. Rebounding is a five-man game, it's a team sport and my guys found me to score layups and grab rebounds."
Hunter Duncan led the way for the Lions with 11 points and Eli Aldana added 8 points.
St. Viator stayed with Carmel for periods of the game until the third and fourth quarter.
"You never want to lose to anybody, especially to a rivalry team," St. Viator coach Mike O'Keefe said. "Down two at the half, I thought our offense wasn't flowing as it normally does. Defensively and transition we got beat quite a bit. We were in a pretty good position at halftime. We did get some positive momentum going into the third quarter.
"(Carmel) is a very talented team. Their length, their size their physicality on both ends of the court wore us down a bit as the game progressed. Give the credit to (Carmel), they played a heck of game over the last 8 to 10 minutes and picked up the W."