Carmel cruises to win on senior night

After winning the Class 3A state title last year, it was going to be a very special senior night for the Carmel Catholic girls basketball team Wednesday night.

And while the Corsairs did get off to a bit of a slow start against visiting Joliet Catholic after one quarter, No. 3-ranked Carmel turned up the heat in the second quarter to take a commanding 39-18 lead into halftime.

From there, the Corsairs (19-5, 4-2) kept things rolling as they posted an impressive 60-30 East Suburban Catholic Conference victory over the Angels, who fell to 12-14 overall and 0-6 in the ESCC.

Moving the ball on offense and teamwork was the name of the game for Carmel despite only holding a slim 15-12 lead after the first quarter.

But an impressive 17-2 run really put the Angels on their heels as an inside basket by senior Mia Gillis gave the Corsairs their biggest lead of the game at 32-14 with 3:29 left in the second quarter.

"I'm really proud of the five seniors that started tonight. Obviously they're a big part of the program getting where it is today," said Carmel coach Ben Berg, whose team outscored Joliet Catholic 24-6 in the second quarter. "We started off a little slow, but we picked the energy and got into transition to get some easy baskets."

Junior Ashley Schlabowske scored 12 of her game-high 14 points in the first half to help set the tone for the Corsairs while Gillis also hit double figures in scoring with 12 points.

The third quarter was when Carmel really started to pull away as a 3-pointer by junior Keira Ackerson and a basket by Gillis gave the Corsairs a comfortable 54-24 lead with 2:18 left in the period.

Michigan State-bound senior Jordan Wood (8 points) played more of a playmaker role for Carmel while senior teammate Kyla Smith also scored 8 points.

"They were playing box-and-one so they were playing her (Wood) man-to-man and zone against everyone else so we had to get her open with some screens and Jordan has always been a willing passer," added Berg. "She makes the right plays so she got some assists and got other people to score and that was the good thing about tonight we had a lot of people scoring."

Joliet Catholic was led in scoring by Symone Holman with 9 points while teammate Layla Pierce had 6 points. Ackerson chipped in 6 points for the Corsairs.

"The scoring was spread out. We've been struggling to score a little bit of late, so it was good to see a lot of people put the ball in the basket," added Berg.

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