Carmel suffers heartbreaking triple-overtime loss to St. Patrick
Carmel senior Asher Jackson was just about unstoppable in the first half.
Wednesday at the Class 3A North Chicago sectional semifinal, Jackson scored 19 points before intermission as the fifth-seeded Corsairs hung right with No. 2 seed St. Patrick.
The Shamrocks clamped down on Jackson in the second half and the 3 overtimes that followed -- double and at times triple-teaming him -- but his teammates had his back.
The Corsairs, with a magnificent team effort, rallied time after time but ultimately lost a heartbreaker as St. Pat's won a 71-68 triple-overtime thriller.
"Really proud of our guys for battling back," said Corsairs coach Zack Ryan. "It would have been easy to give up against a team like this but our guys kept fighting. We've just got really good guys on this team.
"What a great game tonight, and what a great atmosphere."
Carmel trailed at halftime, but kept pace in a back-and-forth third quarter.
Then a late flurry at the end of the third by the Shamrocks saw St. Pat's take an 8-point lead.
The Shamrocks led by as many as 10 in the fourth quarter, but Carmel chipped away.
First Jackson was fouled on a 3-point attempt and hit all 3 free throws, then James Dwyer canned a 3-pointer midway through the period.
Dwyer almost hit another 3 just 10 seconds later -- a shot that would have brought Carmel to within 1 -- but the ball went in, rattled around the basket, and somehow fell out.
But Carmel kept rallying, and the Corsairs grabbed the advantage late in regulation on a Bryce Moore free throw, but St. Pat's was able to forge a tie to send the game into extra sessions.
Moore, who was on fire after halftime, scored all 3 of Carmel's points in the first overtime, and the contest went in to a second OT at 56-56.
Moore was the catalyst again in the second overtime, and his late free throw pushed the Corsairs into a third OT.
And with the large crowd roaring, the Shamrocks scored first -- but Jackson responded with a runner in the lane, in traffic, to tie the game at 66-66.
Then St. Pat's played keep away until the final minute, when the Shamrocks' Andrew Ayeni nailed a clutch 3-pointer from the deep corner.
Two St. Pat's free throws made it 71-66, and although Carmel had a few more chances, it couldn't convert.
A layup at the buzzer from Moore, a senior, accounted for the final tally.
Jackson scored 27 points while Moore finished with 20. Teammate Luke Nalewajk finished with 12 boards.
"Asher and Bryce have led our team all season," said Ryan. "The guys feed off them and I thought everyone played really well. We just missed some shots down the stretch, missed some free throws, and ultimately that was it."