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Carmel meets challenge from Sanders, McNamara
By Bill Pemstein | Daily Herald Correspondent
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Published: 1/12/2013 8:19 PM

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After one quarter of basketball action at Carmel, junior guard Kathleen Felicelli was on pace to score 40 points in an East Suburban Catholic Conference battle with visiting Bishop McNamara on Saturday.

But she had other issues to deal with. Like, take a turn trying to guard Khadaizha Sanders, a splendid sophomore guard.

“She’s really good,’’ Felicelli said. “And she’s just a sophomore.”

Sanders scored a game-high 28 points. Still, Carmel (13-7) opened up a double-digit lead late in the fourth quarter. And then Sanders scored 9 points in the last two minutes and made things interesting.

Carmel withstood the challenge and posted a 55-49 victory.

“We were up 12,’’ said Carmel coach Kelly Perz. “But she (Sanders) is lightning-quick. She scored that layup in three seconds.”

Despite Sanders’ heroics, Carmel’s balanced scoring looked enough to put this game away. On a driving layup from Paige Gauthier (6 points), the Carmel lead was 48-36 with three minutes to play. And then Sanders went into her act. Her steal and layup cut the lead to single digits. Her next shot was 3-pointer and the Carmel lead was just 48-44.

“Sanders is very special,’’ said Bishop McNamara coach Julie Gonski. “We also played a little better defense.”

Sanders battled a little foul trouble but was there down the stretch.

“It was a lot of back and fourth,’’ Sanders said. “But we missed some key shots. We also get a little lazy in games. But I love this team. We have good team chemistry.”

Felicelli opened the contest with a steal and layup. She scored her team’s first 7 points and led the Corsairs with 20 points.

“She had a good game,’’ Perz said. “And she guarded Sanders. Kathleen is a tough kid.”

To show what kind of afternoon she was having, Felicelli beat the first quarter buzzer with a 3-pointer.

“Our team has a vast range of girls who can score,’’ Felicelli said. “This game was so intense. I was really pumped up for it.”

After one quarter, Felicelli had 10 points and teammate Leah Lach had 3 points. The rest of the Carmel team got busy offensively before halftime.

Senior center Kayla Quinn (6 points, 11 rebounds) scored both of her buckets in the second quarter.

“Kayla has done a better job lately on the glass,’’ Perz said.

Leading 28-22 at halftime, Carmel had back-to-back baskets from Claire Ogrinc. Felicelli closed the third quarter with consecutive jumpers as the third quarter lead increased to 38-30.

Nicole Bitter’s free throw with 10 seconds to play gave her 7 points. Lach also scored 7 points. Kloss finished with 5 points. Another McNamara sophomore, Corinne O’Conner, added 12 points for the visitors.

Carmel doesn’t get much rest this week. On Monday, Carmel plays Waukegan. On Tuesday, it’s high-scoring Lena Munzer and the Highland Park Giants.