Mundelein holds off Carmel's comeback attempt

It took a long time for host Mundelein to shake crosstown rival Carmel Catholic Tuesday night in the second round of the Mustangs' Thanksgiving tournament.

But in the end, Mundelein got the job done as the Mustangs managed to hold off the pesky Corsairs 56-48 down the stretch to remain undefeated at 2-0 in the early stages of the 2022-23 boys basketball season.

Carmel Catholic (1-1) came out strongly as the Corsairs built a 16-11 lead after one quarter only to see Mundelein outscore them 18-7 in the second quarter as the Mustangs took a 29-23 lead into halftime.

Six-foot-6 Mundelein senior Chris Martin (13 points, 12 rebounds) really came alive in the second half as his two free throws followed by a 3-pointer by teammate Evan Salvador (10 points) gave the Mustangs their biggest lead at 46-30 with 6:29 to play.

"I think we did well. It was a very physical game and it was good to be able to power through and be successful," said Mundelein coach Matt Badgley, whose team led 41-30 after three quarters. "He (Martin) has been on varsity for four years. He's been in development, and to get him to this point has been really good for us."

The Corsairs kept battling back in the fourth quarter as a 3-pointer by junior Kaleb Jackson (game-high 21 points) cut the Mustangs' lead to 49-41 with 2:18 to play.

Jackson hit another 3-pointer to make the score 52-46 with 57 seconds remaining before he added 2 free throws with 26 seconds left to pull Carmel to within 52-48.

But that is as close as the Corsairs would get the rest of the way as 2 free throws by Salvador pretty much put the outcome out of reach with 23.5 seconds to go. Senior Emmanuel Willoughby added a basket with nine seconds left to account for the final score.

Willoughby had a team-high 14 points and 5 rebounds for the Mustangs while teammates Kevin Moyer and Vinny Rogalski scored 8 and 6 points, respectively. James Dwyer hit double figures for the Corsairs with 11 points while teammate Jacob Chajet chipped in 6 points. Mundelein's Michael Farina scored 5 points while Davion Jones added 4 points for Carmel.

"I think we missed some shots and they did a good job making free throws," said Carmel coach Dmitry Pirshin, whose team plays Lakes on Wednesday when the tourney continues. "We had opportunities, but we didn't hit our shots. We only have one returning starter so a lot of guys have new roles."

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