IN THE CLASSROOM
Class 3A Carmel Regional
February 17, 2012Richmond Burton High School
Class 3A Carmel Regional
by Joe Stevenson firstname.lastname@example.org
RB suffers late letdown
Rockets lose by 2 points in final--MUNDELEIN – Richmond-Burton desperately wanted Erin Thomas to touch the basketball one more time, but Carmel, knowing all too well what had happened 20 seconds earlier, did not let that happen.
R-B trailed by a point with 13 seconds remaining and tried to free up Thomas for a drive to the basket. The Rockets figured Thomas either could get to the basket herself or find an open teammate. But they were unable to shake Thomas free.
Forward Alex Callanan drove the lane and banked an 8-foot shot that rolled off the rim. Carmel rebounded and Kaitlyn Lynch made 1 of 2 free throws to seal the 31-29 victory at the IHSA Class 3A Carmel Regional girls basketball championship Thursday night.
“I didn’t really get worried all the way,” Thomas said. “I always had faith, we have such an amazing team. They covered me pretty tight on that play.”
Third-seeded Carmel (18-12) advances to face Vernon Hills at 8:10 p.m. Tuesday in the St. Viator Sectional. The Corsairs were playing in Class 3A this season after a new rule from the IHSA that allowed private schools affected by the multiplier to move down a class in sports in which they have not won a regional in five years.
No. 6 R-B (20-8) was poised to keep the Corsairs in Class 3A another year after grabbing a 27-24 lead
The Rockets committed turnovers on their next five possessions and Carmel, with two free throws from Kathleen Fellicelli and four from Sarah McHugh, took a 30-27 lead.
“We’ve worked a lot on defense, that’s where we thrive,” said McHugh, who led the Corsairs with 12 points and six rebounds. “Our offense wasn’t doing very well, so we had to make up for it with defense.”
R-B had a shot in the last minute. Thomas, who will play at NCAA Division I Loyola, drove for a layup to cut the lead to 30-29. Cassidy Kloss missed the front end of a bonus free throw opportunity and Callanan rebounded. R-B called its last timeout to set up the final play.
“We wanted to run Erin around the double screen and get it to her,” Rockets coach Melanie Hinz said. “We told them if they couldn’t get it to her to drive and try to get to the basket or get fouled.”
Carmel had Fellicelli, its best defender on Thomas, with others aware of helping on her.
“We figured [Thomas] was going to get the ball,” Carmel coach Kelly Perz said. “Defense is kind of the way we’ve been winning games, and that’s what won us the game tonight, no doubt about it.”
The stretch with the five consecutive turnovers will haunt the Rockets more than the last possession. They finished with 26 for the game, nine in the final quarter.
“[Turnovers] are something we kind of struggled with all season,” Hinz said. “I knew if we had that amount we’d probably lose. Our defense was good. We used a 3-2 zone because we’ve had success against teams that drive well playing that. But turnovers will kill you.”
Thomas finished with 12 points and playing on a sprained right ankle that kept her out of three games previous to Tuesday’s regional opener.
“It’s a lot better tonight,” she said. “The adrenaline kicked in and I wasn’t even thinking about [the ankle]. It was the last thing on my mind.”
Fox added 11 points and 12 rebounds, while Callanan grabbed 10 rebounds as the Rockets held a 37-24 edge on the boards.
“That’s the most amazing game we’ve ever played,” Fox said. “Our first goal was to win the [Big Northern Conference East Division], our second was to win the regional. Even though we didn’t do that, I couldn’t ask for a better team or a better game.” (NWHerald 2/17/12)