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Haughton's 23 points help No. 2 John Carroll boys basketball hold off No. 5 Poly, 75-67

The John Carroll boys basketball team brings plenty of senior star power to the court with standout guards Immanuel Quickley and Montez Mathis heading the list.

Quietly, fellow senior guard Nigel Haughton has taken on many roles for the No. 2 Patriots this season and, time and time again, proved his worth to help bring the team’s success.

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Tuesday against No. 5 Poly, he was just fine taking on the lead role in the fourth quarter.

Every time the visiting Engineers would get close, Haughton made sure to keep them at a distance. He scored eight of his game-high 23 points in the tough minutes late that helped John Carroll secure a 75-67 win over Poly in a nonleague game.

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John Carroll senior star Immanuel Quickley scores 10 of his game-high 21 points in the third quarter to lead the way.

John Carroll improved its record to 18-5, while Poly, which got 21 points from senior guard Demetrius Mims, fell to 10-5.

“The game was very intense. It was a private school vs. public school — two top-notch teams — so I knew it was going to be a tight game down the stretch,” he said. “I was feeling good. Immanuel was out [with foul trouble], so I knew someone would have to step up, so it might as well been me.”

Trailing by as many as 16 points in the second quarter, the Engineers would cut the lead to 60-58 early in the fourth quarter with momentum favoring them.

After one free throw from Qadir Ismail made it 61-58, Haughton went to work at both ends of the court. He had a midcourt steal, which he converted into a layup, and scored on another drive shortly after to make it 65-59 with 5:16 to play. With 3:24 left and the lead at 65-61, he hit a big 3-pointer to again swing the momentum.

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St. Frances junior Bass Diop finished with 18 points and six rebounds but did some of his best work on defense, cooling off All-Metro guard Demetrius Mims in the second half as the Panthers rallied from an early nine-point deficit for a 65-57 win.

In the closing minutes, Kentucky-bound Quickley (20 points) hit four free throws and Yavuz Gultekin (15 points) made two more to seal the win.

Mathis, headed to Rutgers, was the fourth Patriot in double figures, with 11 points.

John Carroll coach John Zito used Haughton at point guard at the start of the season when Quickley was out of the lineup and now has him as a combo guard.

“Nigel had an unbelievable game, and I think on any other team Nigel’s name is a much bigger name,” Zito said. “He’s one of the guys that unfortunately isn’t highlighted as much as he should be, and his role has constantly changed for us and whatever it is, he just gets it done.”

The Engineers were coming off a disappointing performance in a 71-64 loss to Chicago-power Simeon on Saturday, a game in which they relinquished a lead in the fourth quarter. On Tuesday, Poly coach Sam Brand didn’t have as hard a time having to settle for a tough loss.

“I’m proud of our guys — I would have liked to close it out with a win. But Nigel was unbelievable for them — made shot after shot and stepped up,” he said. “I told them after Simeon I can accept certain losses with a certain kind of effort. I didn’t like what I saw in the fourth quarter against Simeon, but we gave it our all out here today and I’m proud of them.”

Sophomore guard Rahim Ali finished with 18 points for the Engineers, who were able to convert only 22 of 39 free throws in the game.

P—Mims 21, Ali 18, Jones 5, Horton 7, Walker 4, Lewis 12. Totals: 19 22-39 67.

JC—Quickley 20, Mathis 11, Haughton 23, Gultekin 15, Byers 2, Ismail 1, Goyena 3. Totals: 23 20-32 75.

Half: JC, 45-38.

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