In the opening game of the season, Carmel Catholics girls basketball team had a chance to win in the final seconds.
Instead, Prairie Ridge saw its own chance, and the Wolves took their opportunity, beating Carmel 49-48 in opening-game of the Mundelein Turkey Tournament on Monday afternoon.
The Corsairs were down by 1 point with the ball and made a couple of passes in an attempt to set up a final shot. But the Wolves Alex Neckopolous stepped in under the basket and got a game-ending steal.
I felt there were a lot of those plays in the game, Carmel Catholic coach Kelly Perz said. There was a fumble-bumble, and out of bounds.
Maybe first-game jitters. Theyre still figuring out how to play with each other, the chemistry ... Who might take the last shot? Those roles havent been defined on our team.
The Corsairs were led by Kathleen Felicelli with 16 points, and Nicole Bitter added 8 points.
Carmel jumped out to a 13-2 lead in the first quarter as its press defense caused Prairie Ridge some problems. The Corsairs led 15-5 heading into the second quarter.
Prairie Ridge took advantage of numerous Corsairs fouls and made 14 of 16 free throws in the second quarter. Carmel had a 28-27 lead at the break.
The Wolves carried their momentum into the second half and outscored the Corsairs 16-6 in the third quarter to lead 43-34.
We were sloppy on offense and didnt take care of the ball, Perz said. Defensively, we got in foul trouble in the first half which let (Prairie Ridge) back into the game.
We just didnt make our free throws (27 of 37). All those things dont add up to getting a victory.
Carmel tried to rally in the fourth quarter with a 13-4 run that tied the game at 47-47 on a pair of free throws from Felicelli with 1:07 left in the game.
Prairie Ridge got a big bucket from Neckopolous (team-high 11 points) with 50 seconds left, making the score 49-47.
Felicelli (10 of 17 at the foul line) made 1 of 2 free throws with 35 seconds remaining and cut the deficit to 1 for Carmel.
The Wolves missed the front end of two one-and-bonus opportunities in the final 12 seconds to give the Corsairs chances to win.
It was kind of ugly, Prairie Ridge coach Rob Baker said. We werent making shots at the beginning. We were all nervous for the first game and had to settle in.
(Carmels) press is different than most others do, with three people up front. We were throwing the ball over them on the inbound pass.
Carmel takes on Highland Park at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday at Mundelein as the tournament continues.