Boys Basketball: Mount Carmel figures out Hyde ParkMt. Carmel's Terrence Turner (right) looks to pass away from Hyde Park's Kyle Davis during the first half of a basketball game on Sunday, Jan. 8, 2012 in Calumet City, Ill. | John Smierciak~for Sun-Times Media
Updated: January 17, 2012 9:03PM
It may have taken a while, but Mount Carmel finally unlocked the key to dismantling Hyde Park’s defensive scheme on Sunday.
After being swarmed by their Public League opponent’s menacing full-court press in the first half, the Caravan turned up the tempo and sped through the traps en route to a 58-52 victory at the Bob Hambric Shootout at T.F. North.
“The way we’ve played this year, any win is good,” Caravan coach Mike Flaherty said. “They’re a very talented team, but we did enough things well at the end to come out and win.”
The Thunderbird defense was relentless in the first quarter, using its overwhelming baseline-to-baseline ball pressure to sniff out 10 Mount Carmel turnovers.
By the second, however, the Caravan had begun to find its rhythm and took their first lead of the game on a layup by senior wingman Alex Austin (20 points).
Mount Carmel came out firing on all cylinders in the third, weaving through the Thunderbird defense to turn Hyde Park’s press into Caravan fast break points.
Mount Carmel used a 14-2 run to start the half and opened up a 40-29 lead midway through the quarter.
“I just said, ‘We have to do a better job of making decisions about where we’re going with the ball,’” Flaherty said was the message to his team at the half. “We’re really very strong with the ball, but we made some weak passes that were easy to be intercepted. Part of it was what they did. But a big part of it was what we did too.”
The Thunderbirds (6-5) battled back and closed the margin to two points with three minutes, 50 seconds to go on Kyle Davis’ drive to the basket.
Devonte Charles responded for Mount Carmel (4-11) with a strong layup and foul over Hyde Park’s 6-foot-7 junior center Moshawn Thomas.
The Thunderbirds’ other tree, 6-7 senior Frank Williams, went down with an injury to his left wrist at the 5:25 mark of the second quarter and did not return.
Hyde Park pulled to within two again on Marcus Smith’s free throw with 1:55 left, but the Caravan knocked down four free throws in the final minute to seal the win.
Billy Patterson scored 14 points and grabbed six rebounds to help catapult the Caravan. Smith scored 12 off the bench against his former team to lead Hyde Park. Thomas added 11 points and nine boards.
“We gave the kids a week off from practice, and it caught up with us,” said third-year assistant Antonne Samuels, who took over as Hyde Park’s interim coach on Saturday. “You could tell all the players were a little off. Once we get a full practice in, and we get back to normal, everything should be good.”
Hyde Park was taking the court for its first game since head coach Lamont Bryant was relieved of his duties as head coach earlier this week.
It has not yet been confirmed whether Bryant, who is also the school’s athletic director, was fired or suspended.
Samuels declined to comment on Bryant’s status.
“It’s taken a toll on the kids,” said Samuels, who found out on Saturday that he would be the team’s sideline general in Bryant’s absence. “But Monday we go back to school, the break will be over with. We should be back to normal.”