Friday, Dec. 17, 2010
By Patrick McGavin
Joshua Gilbert felt like his heart was his throat during the final dramatic seconds of Leos conference showdown at Mount Carmel.
Having fouled out with three minutes remaining, Gilbert had to watch the agonizing moments from a fixed perspective. I wanted to be out there, he said. As the final shot of the Caravan bounced off the rim as time expired, Gilbert had a moment to exhale.
The Leo senior guard scored 10 of his 17 points in the fourth quarter, including eight straight as the No. 16 Lions fought back from an eight-point fourth quarter deficit to outlast Mount Carmel 65-63 Friday night.
The Caravan seized its largest advantage at 56-48 with just under four minutes remaining. After two free throws by Paul Beene (19 points), Gilbert nailed a three-pointer from the left baseline with 3:22 remaining to pull the Lions within 56-53. On the ensuing possession, Gilbert was fouled attempting a three-point shot and converted all three to force a tie.
I really wanted that four-point play, Gilbert said. After I hit the first one, that gave me a lot of confidence. I just wanted to do whatever I had to help the team win.
Leo (7-0, 3-0 Catholic East) won despite having three starters foul out. Gilberts lay up concluded his personal 8-0 run and put the Lions up 58-56. Maurice Joiner, who scored all 10 of his points in the second half, scored on a put back that provided the Lions a lead it never relinquished.
Despite missing some critical free throws, Mount Carmel (5-3, 2-1) still had several chances in the closing moments. Alex Austin (14 points) converted two key free throws to pull the Caravan within two with 29 seconds remaining. After Joiner split two free throws for a 65-62 Leo advantage with 15.9 seconds to play, Malcolm Hill-Bey (19 points) was fouled going to the basket with 6.9 left. After hitting the first shot, he missed the second free throw.
Mount Carmel star guard Tracy Abrams (11 points) missed a three-pointer, but the Caravan maintained possession on the held ball with 1.2 seconds remaining. A final shot bounced off the rim.
We had that eight-point lead, but we didnt make good decisions offensively, Mount Carmel coach Mike Flaherty. We took some shots we didnt need to take instead of forcing them to come out and guard us defensively. Give Leo credit for making the plays at the end.