By Steve Metsch
Trey Davis lived up to his name, hitting five three-point shots in St Laurence’s regional opener against Mount Carmel.
But his defense sealed the victory on March 4.
With the host Vikings clinging to a 75-72 lead and 13.9 seconds left, Mount Carmel inbounded the ball to Andre Bennett.
As he dribbled just inside midcourt, searching for an open player, Davis stole the ball from Bennett.
“I was reading the play ... Took a chance and jumped it,” Davis said.
Bennett had to foul Davis with 7.3 seconds left, hoping he’d miss two freebies and give Mount Carmel another chance.
But Davis, just as fellow senior Finn Walsh had with 34.9 seconds left, calmly sank each free throw and iced a 77-72 win for St. Laurence.
“Davis is a great player for them. With that being said, he was aggressive on Andre Bennett on back-to-back possessions,” Mount Carmel Head Coach Phil Segroves said.
Matt Hawkins and Deandre Craig were hot in the second half for Mount Carmel. Hawkins scored 16 of his 19 points after halftime, and Craig scored 20 of his game-high 24.
“We had a great play drawn up at the end. We had Matt Hawkins as an option in one corner and they weren’t looking for him. They were looking for Deandre with the ball screen. Which we did. Hawkins was open in the corner but we couldn’t get him the ball with the steal (by Davis),” Segroves said.
Davis and Walsh both stepped up with sharpshooter Darius Wilson benched by a nagging rotator cuff injury.
Davis scored 23. Walsh added 16 and made numerous sharp passes and gritty defensive plays. Anthony Lenard added 15 and Aaron Wofford had 13.
St. Laurence Head Coach Jim Sexton said Walsh is playing “like he doesn’t want his senior year to end.”
“Trey’s not a big talker,” Sexton said, “but he’s leading by example ... Most of our guys have the green light, Trey especially.”
Davis, who never met a shot he didn’t like, feels “comfortable at any point ... half court, full court.”
Walsh felt no pressure shooting his free throws with a 73-72 lead. “I shoot so many (during practice) in an empty gym. It’s the same thing when it’s packed.”
Walsh shrugged off Mount Carmel students who chanted “haircut, haircut” – referring to his unruly mop of curly blonde hair - whenever he had possession.
“It’s always nice to beat a neighborhood rival, especially when they have a student section that’s letting us hear it. We got the final laugh,” Walsh said.
The win put the Vikings (15-16) into the regional final March 6 on their home court against highly touted Bogan (26-3), which beat Johnson, 63-21.
Fans of Mount Carmel (13-18) were roaring during a furious rally that erased a 15-point deficit in the third quarter, cutting the lead to 69-68 with 2:40 left and 73-72 with 1:32 to go.
Craig scored four three-pointers in the second half. “I had to be a man and play,” the 14-year-old said.