Host Carmel had a tough time putting away Joliet Catholic on Saturday afternoon in East Suburban Catholic Conference girls basketball action.
But a late third-quarter surge helped carry the Corsairs to a 46-36 victory over the Angels in Mundelein.
Carmel (10-8, 2-3) took an early 6-0 lead on two 3-pointers by sophomore guard Jackie Meier, who scored 10 of her game-high 18 points in the first quarter.
Joliet Catholic (9-7, 0-3) trailed 15-10 after one quarter, but the Angels outscored the Corsairs 11-9 in the second quarter to go into halftime trailing 21-16.
The third quarter was a real defensive struggle, with Carmel outscoring Joliet Catholic 10-4.
But a 3-pointer by Carmel senior Juli Taylor with one second left in the period was the proverbial back-breaker for the Angels as the Corsairs took their biggest lead of the game at 31-20 heading into the fourth quarter.
"We had better possessions on offense in the second half, and late in the third quarter we got a 10-point lead," said Carmel coach Ben Berg, whose team only hit 13 of 22 free throws. "I thought both of our guards (Meier and Erin Quinn) really stabilized us a lot and they played good defense."
Joliet Catholic refused to fold in the final quarter, and Kate Ponce's third 3-pointer of the contest cut the Corsairs' lead to 37-30 and gave the Angels a glimmer of hope with 1:57 to play.
But a free throw by Quinn (11 points) and a left-handed, fastbreak basket by Meier with 1:22 remaining made the score 40-30 and pretty muched sealed any hopes of a Joliet Catholic comeback down the stretch.
"Everybody passed the ball a lot and there was a lot of teamwork out there," said Meier, who hit a season-high point total. "We just had to take care of the ball and play good defense and that was pretty much the key."
Ponce led the Angels with 11 points, while teammate Lindsay Fonck added 8 points. Senior Kristine Ruhl chipped in 6 points for the Corsairs, but she played limited minutes in the second half because of foul trouble. Corsairs junior Beth Scudder added 5 points.
"(Kaitlyn) Lynch did a real good job of rebounding and playing defense for us," said Berg, whose team committed 4 turnovers in the fourth quarter. "She (Lynch) does a lot of different things for us."