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John Carroll boys basketball beats Mount Carmel, 74-59, to close regular season with six straight wins

The John Carroll boys basketball team won its sixth straight game Wednesday evening to close its regular season at 8-5.

The Patriots outhustled and outscored visiting Mount Carmel (10-3) for a 74-59 victory in Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association and Baltimore Catholic League play.

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The game was a fast-paced, high-intensity battle from the tip that John Carroll simply got the better of.

Junior Jeannot Basima, who led the Patriots with 24 points, scored five in the opening quarter to lead his team to an 11-5 lead. Mount Carmel called a timeout with 3:17 left in the quarter, but John Carroll’s lead grew to 18-9 at the end of the period.

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The Patriots pulled away in the second quarter. Tyson Commander’s first basket, a long 3-pointer, put the Patriots up 29-17 with 3:20 to play in the half.

Mount Carmel’s Toby Nnadozie tried to keep the Cougars close, scoring nine of his 15 points in the quarter, but Basima also scored nine in the quarter. His steal and layup, followed by a 3-pointer, helped John Carroll push the lead to 36-22 at the half. Terry Long Jr. added a steal and layup for the Patriots as well.

“Yesterday, we had a great practice and we talked about our energy, how energy in every position mattered for us,” Basima said. “We focused more on defense and the offense came up and that’s pretty much how we came out with the win.”

The energy continued for the Patriots in the second half. A 9-5 run to open the third quarter ballooned the lead to 45-27, and Mount Carmel coach Trevor Quinn needed another timeout.

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Whatever was said in Cougars huddle seemed to work. They responded with a 10-4 run, and it was John Carroll coach Seth Goldberg calling timeout with 2:38 left. Over the next minute, Cougars forward Kevin Kalu scored a pair of baskets and the Patriots’ lead was down to eight, 49-41.

Goldberg called another timeout with 1:42 to play in the quarter. Mount Carmel added one more basket and had the deficit down to six before Commander hit another 3-pointer. The basket, Commander’s second of the quarter, gave John Carroll a 52-43 lead at the end of the third quarter.

Commander made four 3-pointers in the game and finished with 16 points. The shots all seemed to come at the right moment.

“The team found me when I was open and they were confident in me taking the shots,” Commander said. “So, I took it and they were falling in, cause they were late in the shot clock. We needed to shoot, so I was taking the big shot.”

Mount Carmel cut the lead to seven twice, 55-48 and 64-57, in the fourth quarter, but John Carroll was just too much. Commander (seven points in fourth quarter) scored his final basket and Basima (six points in quarter) converted off a steal and feed from Jalen Bryant (17 points) to make it 68-57.

Mount Carmel guard Deon Perry knocked down six 3-pointers to lead all scorers with 26 points.

“I don’t think we came ready to play and to win the game,” Quinn said. “We kind of walked through the first four minutes. We didn’t make shots early, they got out in transition and then we’re playing catch up from there.”

The John Carroll win might have had these two meeting again Monday in the BCL Tournament, but at Mount Carmel. However, the seeding has John Carroll sixth and the Patriots will open play at Mount St. Joe, Monday at 6 p.m.

“We talk about it every day, play hard, play together and we’ve gotten better at that all season,” Goldberg said. “We still have growth to have, but we are getting better. This group of guys love playing together and it shows.”

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