By Mike Duffin
Mount Carmel had to withstand a late rally by St. Laurence for coach Mike Flaherty to earn his 700th victory Friday night in Burbank.The Caravan had to hold their breath as Jim Schicks desperation shot from about 60 feet missed the rim as time expired, giving Mount Carmel a 58-55 victory in the Catholic League South showdown.The Vikings, who hit 11 three pointers in the game, closed the fourth quarter out with a 13-3 run. The Caravan missed five of their 10 free throw attempts in the final period.Were working hard, Flaherty said. Its been a struggle for us.Alex Austin led Mount Carmel (6-12, 3-4) with 27 points, six rebounds and five steals. The senior guard scored eight of his teams 12 fourth-quarter points.Hes been around a long time, Austin said of Flaherty. I just wanted to be part of history.Flaherty, who does not know how many career losses he has, is in his sixth year as the Caravan coach. He coached at Mendall Catholic for nine years and Thornridge for 21 years.Its more about the six games Mount Carmel has won this year than the other teams in the previous 35 years, Flaherty said.So what makes Flaherty such a special coach?He doesnt have favorites, Austin said. Everyone is equal to him. He invests equal time with everyone.The Caravan built a 15-5 lead in the first quarter on an 11-0 run, with Billy Patterson contributing four points. The Vikings cut the deficit to two points on Ryan Risleys three pointer with 6:41 left in the first half. It was the fourth three pointer St. Laurence converted on their last five possessions, but the Caravan responded with a 13-2 run to reestablish the lead.Risley and Schick each scored 16 points for St. Laurence (3-16, 1-6). Billy Patterson scored eight points and grabbed four rebounds for the Caravan.