Carmel cruises past Mundelein into regional final

The crosstown rivalry between No. 3-seeded host Carmel Catholic and No. 5 Mundelein had even more at stake than usual Monday.

The game would mean the end of the season for one team in this Class 4A regional semifinal girls basketball game.

The Corsairs (16-15) started off fast and never looked back as they built a 32-11 lead at halftime before cruising to a lopsided 57-28 victory to advance to the regional finals at 7 p.m. Thursday.

Carmel will host No. 2-seeded Lake Zurich in that title game as the Bears rolled to a 57-21 victory over Waukegan in their semifinal game.

Mundelein (15-17) was never really in the game. The Corsairs got five 3-pointers in the first half alone from senior Keira Ackerson (career-high 23 points) to build the huge lead entering the second half.

“I was very proud of the girls how we got into transition, shared the ball, and found the open person,” said Carmel coach Ben Berg, whose team took a 46-20 lead into the fourth quarter. “She (Ackerson) took about 55,000 shots before the season started so she's prepared herself for this moment and she's a great teammate and a great captain. They (Lake Zurich) have big-time size and it's going to be a challenge for us.”

Besides Ackerson, Carmel also got a big game from senior Ashley Schlabowske with 9 of her 15 points in the first half. Carmel sophomore Josie Hartman scored 7 points.

“It was really good. We were trying to force our tempo, and we really pushed the ball up the floor,” said Ackerson, who had seven 3-pointers. “They (Lake Zurich) are a very big team so we're going to really have to be physical and just do what we do best which is playing fast and shooting.”

The Mustangs were led by Rylan Foster with 8 points and Erin Frank with 7 points. But Mundelein was never able to seriously cut into the huge deficit that it faced from the first quarter on.

“I felt some shots didn't fall for us in the beginning and it was a little bit of a rough start,” said Mundelein coach Sarah Teipel, whose team was also plagued by numerous turnovers in the first half. “So it was tough to get some rhythm going, but I felt like we battled. I'm proud of the growth we had this year, and I never felt like they gave up.”

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