Cougars drop Gilman in battle of unbeatens behind guard’s 22 points (VIDEO HERE!)

Mount Carmel’s Deon Perry (1) is defended by Gilman’s Malik Missouri during the first half of Wednesday’s MIAA A Conference basketball game. Perry scored 12 of his game-high 22 points in the first quarter, leading the Cougars to their fourth victory in as many games, 64-54, in Baltimore County. (photo – SportsMajors)

by Derek Toney

With several options at his disposal, Deon Perry doesn’t have the burden of having to score for Our Lady of Mount Carmel’s boys basketball team. But Perry is still the proverbial straw that stirs the Cougars.

The junior guard scored 22 points, leading the Cougars to a 64-54 victory over Gilman School in a battle of MIAA A Conference unbeaten squads in Baltimore County. Freshman Andrew Dixon added 13 points for Mount Carmel (4-0 overall and MIAA A), and Kevin Kalu finished with 11.

The Old Eastern Avenue school started fast, thanks to Perry, and never trailed to continue its promising start in this abbreviated campaign due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Cougars and St. Frances Academy now have the only clean sheets in MIAA A, as well as Baltimore Catholic League play.

Perry said defense was Mount Carmel’s tenor Wednesday.

“We studied Gilman’s strengths and played defense the way you supposed to play,” said Perry, 5-foot-9. “They were some minor mistakes, but, as a collective unit, we made the right plays on offense and defense.”

The Cougars swallowed Gilman (3-1, 3-1 MIAA A) in the early stages of the fourth quarter, holding it to a free throw to build an 18-point advantage. Junior guard Toby Nnadozie also reached double figures with 10 points for Mount Carmel, which won at McDonogh School Monday afternoon.

Perry, who scored 15 of his 18 points in the first half against McDonogh, dropped four 3-pointers in the opening seven minutes Wednesday, pacing the Cougars to a 20-5 advantage. Mount Carmel settled for a 20-8 lead after one.

“I was letting the game come to me and taking what they gave me,” said Perry. “I’m making the reads and taking the shots I need to take. It’s not possible without my teammates. They’re making the passes and scoring with the ball as well.”

Gilman shaved the deficit to 32-26 at half, then down to 37-34 after Kolt Pearce’s 3-pointer with five minutes left in the third. Perry’s basket and a runner from Nnadozie cooled the Greyhounds’ surge, and Mount Carmel itched its advantage to 47-38 after three.

Perry opened the scoring in the fourth quarter, then Kevin Kalu’s effort a score off a loose ball followed by a Nnadozie’s transition dunk and Mitchell Kalu’s offensive board and score as Mount Carmel went on a 10-1 run for a 57-39 lead with 5:19 left in regulation.

Cougars coach Trevor Quinn was pleased to see Perry’s fast start Wednesday after “not shooting the ball great” in the first few games. The Cougars were able to stay compose through early foul troubles and Gilman’s multiple defenses.

“We did a pretty good job attacking, never got flustered or confused,” said Quinn, in his second season. “It was a good win.”

Junior guard Christian Winborne scored 20 points for Gilman, and Rayuan Lane added 12. The Greyhounds scrapped back from an early 15-point deficit, but fell apart in the fourth quarter.

“We’ve struggled the last couple of games making shots,” said Gilman coach Will Bartz. “We’re getting the shots we’re looking for…Mount Carmel is a really good team and we can’t get away with missing as many shots we did.”

It won’t get easier for Gilman, which host undefeated St. Frances Friday afternoon in MIAA A play. Mount Carmel travels to Glenelg Country School Friday, looking to keep its perfect run intact.

Perry broke a smile when discussing the Cougars’ potential.

“It’s pretty cool. When we practice, we’re all locked in,” said Perry. “As we long as we stay focused in practice each day, we’re going to keep getting better.”

Our Lady of Mount Carmel 69, Gilman School 54   

Gilman – Christian Winborne 20, Rayuan Lane 12, Jalen Marshall 8, Matthew Cooper 6, Malik Missouri 5, Kolt Pearce 3. Totals 18 14-19 54.

Mount Carmel – Deon Perry 22, Andrew Dixon 13, Kevin Kalu 11, Toby Nnadozie 10, Mitchell Kalu 5, Dominic George 2, Artemus Brown 1. Totals 23 12-18 64.

Gilman 9 17 12 16 – 54

Mount Carmel 20 12 15 17 – 64