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La Grange Park, IL - Friday, February 8, 2013: Nazareth Academy's Dan Kienzie (2) goes up for a the ball vs Carmel Catholic's Greg Edkins (25) and Billy Kirby (24). | Steve Johnston~for Sun-Times Media
Carmel was cruising along Friday night, taking a 19-point lead into the fourth quarter against East Suburban Catholic foe Nazareth.
The Corsairs were then hit by a 32-point fourth quarter barrage by the Roadrunners and saw their advantage melt down to just three points before finally securing a 79-75 victory in LaGrange Park.
Junior guard Nickai Poyser (19 points) hit 3-of-4 free throws in the final 15 seconds to clinch the win for Carmel (10-13, 3-4).
Nazareth had trimmed the margin to 76-73 on a three-pointer by Chris Swade with 17 ticks left.
“I was getting nervous; the fact that it got that close was not good, we should have put it away a lot earlier,” said Carmel forward Michael Barr. “I think we handled it [the comeback] well and were able to make our free throws and put it away. We needed to take care of the ball better. We got anxious and had too many turnovers down the stretch.”
Barr led four scorers in double-figures for Carmel with 23 points, including a pair of layups in the final two minutes that helped slow down the Roadrunners (10-12, 1-6).
Cullen Barr finished with 20 points and junior center Jack George added 10 points for the Corsairs.
A three-point play by Barr toward the end of the third quarter gave Carmel a comfortable 62-41 cushion, before Nazareth responded with a furious rally.
Nazareth senior guard Dan Kienzle had 15 of his team-high 20 points in the final stanza, including two 3-pointers. Swade finished with 15 points, all in the second half, while John Bonk and Evan McLaughlin each added 12.
“In the fourth quarter we just pressured them a little bit,” said Kienzle. “We know that we have good shooters on our team, so we just kept shooting and we came back.”