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Article updated: 2/27/2013 11:37 PM

Carmel keeps regional title hope alive

By

The number 13 certainly was a number that came up a few times on Wednesday night in Norridge. In this case, it sure seemed lucky.

Carmel Catholic's boys basketball team is in pursuit of history. The last time the Corsairs won a regional final was 21 years ago.

But Carmel has a shot at a regional championship this season, as the sixth-seeded Corsairs bounced No. 11 Johnsburg 57-41 in a Class 3A Ridgewood regional semifinal on Wednesday night.

Jack George led the Corsairs with 14 points and 9 rebounds. Brothers Michael and Cullen Barr each teamed up with 13 points.

Carmel next faces No. 3 Ridgewood (18-9) in the regional championship at 7:30 p.m. Friday. The Rebels got past Kelvyn Park 70-47 in the other semifinal.

Carmel has won six of its last seven games and improved its record to (13-13).

Reaching that 13th win has been something that's eluded the program in recent seasons.

"It's been a long time to get this many wins," Carmel coach Tim Bowen said. "To do what we've done, we're pretty happy about it."

The Corsairs' defense and rebounding were key in subduing the Skyhawks' shooting on Wednesday night.

"Our defense has been pretty helpful," Bowen said. "Early on, we were trying to cover their 3s and stop them from trying to penetrate. Our defense was pretty instrumental."

Carmel also had huge rebounding edge of 34-14 over Johnsburg (13-15).

The Corsairs went on a 13-0 run to pull out of a 4-4 tie in the final four-plus minutes of the first quarter for a 17-4 lead.

Cullen Barr dropped in a 3-pointer to beat the buzzer.

"We've definitely figured it out," said Cullen Barr,who also pulled down 14 rebounds. "We've had some major letdowns this year and we've definitely learned from it. We just want to keep things rolling right now.

"We've definitively been through every situation."

Carmel held a 22-12 advantage at the break. Then the Corsairs extended the lead to 38-21 by the end of the third quarter behind Cullen Barr scoring 8 points in the period.

In the fourth quarter, Johnsburg -- which finished 7-for-30 from 3-point range -- rallied back from long distance as Drew Talbot dropped one in. That made it 47-37 in Carmel's favor with 1:45 left.

The Corsairs went on to make 10 of 12 free throws to finish it.

"I thought we shot the 3s too much," Johnsburg coach Mike Toussaint. "We wanted to get some inside touches and attack them. We settled for the 3 too much.

"Carmel blocked a few shots inside. We just didn't play our game. Maybe it's a credit to (Carmel). We didn't follow the gameplan that we practiced."

Colin Ridout led the Skyhawks with 9 points.

North Chicago 78, Antioch 37: At North Chicago, the host Warhawks and top seed in the Antioch sectional, cruised in capturing the Class 3A regional semifinal.

No. 16 Antioch ended its season with a 3-24 record.

North Chicago will play in Friday's 7:30 p.m. regional final against the winner of tonight's game between No. 8 Prosser and No. 9 Northside Prep.

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