Cougars drop Calvert Hall behind junior’s monster double-double (VIDEO HERE!)

Mount Carmel’s Kevin Kalu slams home two points during the first half of Friday’s Baltimore Catholic League basketball contest. The senior went for 17 points and 19 rebounds, leading the Cougars to a 79-62 victory over Calvert Hall on Old Eastern Avenue (photo – Jimmy Fields Sr.)

by Derek Toney

In the final seconds of Friday evening’s boys basketball contest between Our Lady of Mount Carmel and Calvert Hall College, Cougars coach Trevor Quinn tried to get Kevin Kalu’s attention as he positioned for a free throw attempt.

“One more rebound,” Quinn said.

Kalu didn’t get the rebound. But, once again, he did more than enough for the Cougars. Mount Carmel remained undefeated with a 79-62 victory over the Cardinals in Baltimore Catholic League action in Essex.

Junior guard Deon Perry finished with 25 points and Toby Nnadozie added 20 for Mount Carmel (8-0 overall, 3-0 BCL). Karim Harris and Mike Williams led Calvert Hall (5-3, 0-2 BCL) with 22 and 21 points, respectively.

Kalu posted a double-double with 17 points and 19 rebounds – falling a board shy of 20. The 6-foot-8 senior transfer from City College has been the dominant post player in this truncated BCL campaign.

“He’s been unbelievable,” said Quinn. “He let his play doing the talking. He doesn’t try anything outside that skill set.”

Buoyed by improving his foot work, Kalu uses either side of the glass to shield opposing defenders and quickly finishes second chance opportunities on offense. Defensively, Kalu has been a vacuum, swiping six shots Friday.

Kalu brings a simple approach.

“I go into every game trying to out-rebound everybody,” said Kalu, whose brother Mitchell is a freshman reserve.

The final seconds of the first half Friday best illustrated Kevin Kalu’s season. He got a hand on Samartine Bogues’ attempt, then he and his brother quickly surrounded Calvert Hall’s Jonah Biggers. Kalu sprinted down the court after teammate Dominic McKenna-George stole the ball, got a pass from Kevin Chinnia and put down a two-handed dunk as the buzzer sounded, putting the Cougars up 37-27.

“He’s a big difference,” said Perry. “His inside game has gotten way better. As far as him scoring basketball, it opens everybody up on the perimeter. All our players get open shots based off how he plays.”

Despite solid play from Kalu, Perry, Nnadozie and precocious freshman guard Andrew Dixon (11 points), Mount Carmel couldn’t shake a fast improving Calvert Hall squad. Down 15 midway in the third, the Cardinals were within 63-55 early in the fourth after Keaton Eyring’s layup off Antonio Foxwell’s steal.

Foxwell drained a 3-pointer, keeping The Hall in striking distance at 68-58. Mount Carmel scored the next 10 points, including a Kalu offensive board and basket, to put the game out of reach.

Cardinals coach Jason Hasson said his team wasn’t able to dictate tempo Friday.

“They’re [Mount Carmel] way too good to play in the half court,” said Hasson. “We get a little run, then they would get a dunk or a 3 and that killed momentum. They got a lot of size, a lot of shooters, a lot of ballhanders, they’re tough. They protect the rim so they can take chances.”

Deon Perry (left) and Kevin Kalu helped keep Mount Carmel undefeated Friday evening. The Cougars host Mount St. Joseph in a key Baltimore Catholic League match Monday.

Mount Carmel remains perfect along with three-time reigning BCL Tournament champ St. Frances Academy (4-0) atop the BCL standings with two weeks left. Next week, the Cougars  host Mount St. Joseph (Monday) in a rematch of last year’s BCL Tournament semifinals, and Archbishop Spalding (Friday), which has won seven straight after an opening loss to St. Frances.

“It’s good to be 8-0, but it really doesn’t mean anything,” said Kalu pointing to remaining matches with St. Joe (3-1 BCL), Spalding (3-1 BCL), St. Frances and John Carroll School. “I’m excited. I think we can do something special.”

Our Lady of Mount Carmel 79, Calvert Hall College 62

Calvert Hall – Karim Harris 22, Mike Williams 21, Antonio Foxwell 7, Isaiah Williams 5, Tim Downs 3. Jonah Biggers 2, Erring 2. Totals 25 8-11 62.

Mount Carmel – Deon Perry 25, Nnadozie 20, Kevin Kalu 17, Andrew Dixon 11, Mitchell Kalu 4, Kevin Chinnia 2. Totals 27 20-27 79.

Calvert Hall 13 14 24 11 – 62

Mount Carmel 16 21 25 17 – 79