Carmel continues strong play with win at Maine East

Last Saturday the Carmel boys basketball team gave Stevenson, one of the top squads in the state, a run for their money.

The Corsairs lost a tough one to the Patriots, 59-55, but it gave them a spark that carried over against Maine East Wednesday night.

Carmel exploded out of the gate against the Blue Demons and held on late in a 70-60 nonconference victory in Park Ridge.

"It was honestly a confidence builder," said Corsairs 6-3 junior forward Jacob Chajet. "It built us up for this game. Big win today and we feel good going in to the next couple of games."

The Carmel win offset a great game from Maine East senior Derryl Gaddi, who scored a game-high 29 points and hit big shot after big shot.

Junior guard Kaleb Jackson led the way for the Corsairs with 17 points, while senior Peter Stavros scored 12.

Carmel was strong on the boards as well, outrebounding the Blue Demons 29-16, with 6-4 junior forward Noah Lamora pacing the winners with 10 boards.

"We're a bigger team," said Jackson, "and I think we did a good job of getting paint buckets and rebounding."

"We just wanted to play hard against Stevenson, play competitively, and we made a run at the end. Tonight coming in (against Maine East) we knew they were a scrappy team, so we just had to play our game, not do anything too fancy, and stick to our game plan."

James Dwyer of Carmel hit a 3 just seconds after the opening tip, and the first quarter went back and forth until it was tied 14-14 near the end of the period.

Then the Corsairs went on a 19-point run, and when Bryce Smith nailed a 3-pointer with a couple minutes remaining in the second, the advantage was 33-14 visitors.

The lead stayed in the double-digits until the fourth, when Maine East made a run, and when Blue Demons senior guard Jaylen Taylor had a steal and layup, the score was 59-52.

"The plan was to stay composed," said Jackson of the Corsairs' mindset in the final eight minutes. "We knew they were going to foul us, so we just had to take care of the ball and seal the W."

Samy Salem led the fourth quarter charge for Maine East, but 2 late 3s from Jackson, and one apiece from Stavros and Chajet, helped put the game in the win column for Carmel.

The Corsairs improved to 4-9, while Maine East fell to 5-5 on the season.

"Today we were looking to just bounce back and win," said Chajet. "We've been playing well at the end of games - we put up 31 (last week) in the fourth quarter at St. Viator - so we've definitely been building up to this victory."

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