Hyde Park and Davontae Hall take down Mount Carmel

Davontae Hall played his role to near perfection on Wednesday in Darien, leading the Thunderbirds to a 51-48 win against Mount Carmel in the Class 3A Hinsdale South Sectional semifinals.

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Hyde Park’s Davontae Hall (1) reacts after winning the game against Mount Carmel.

Hyde Park’s Davontae Hall (1) reacts after winning the game against Mount Carmel.

Kirsten Stickney/For the Sun-Times

As a freshman and sophomore, Davontae Hall was a blur. He was always the fastest player on the court. At times, it seemed that his goal was simply to showcase that impressive quickness.

Hall is Hyde Park’s senior leader now. He’s a first-team All-City guard, and he knows how to use his quickness. He knows the right moments to press all the way down on the gas pedal and when to ease up a bit.

Hall played his role to near perfection on Wednesday in Darien, leading the Thunderbirds to a 51-48 victory against Mount Carmel in the Class 3A Hinsdale South Sectional semifinals.

The Caravan had a chance to tie the game on the last shot, but guard DeAndre Craig’s three-pointer rimmed out.

Hyde Park (23-7) held Craig, also a first-team All-City guard, to 12 points.

“I was looking forward to the matchup,” Hall said. “It was tough. Everyone locked in on defense and communicated, so we did well.”

Hall, who had 16 points, ripped away a steal on the first play of the game, then sealed the win with two free throws with 17 seconds left.

In between, he deferred more to his teammates. Junior Camron Williford had 13 points and Damarion Morris scored seven for the Thunderbirds.

“I started off slow, but Cam picked me up,” Hall said. “My teammates all had my back, and I just helped finish it off.”

Hyde Park led throughout. Mount Carmel closed the deficit to one on two free throws by Craig with 2:08 left.

“We fought all the way through,” Caravan coach Phil Segroves said. “Two times it looked like the door was closed, and our guys mounted an unbelievable comeback, scrapped and got back in the game.”

Senior Elijah Jointer led Mount Carmel with 13 points and 11 rebounds. Sophomore Angelo Ciaravino added 11 points and five rebounds.

“We’ve been working really hard to build this,” Segroves said. “If you want to be an elite program in Chicago, you have to continue to work. Being 28-5 has to be one of the top teams [in Mount Carmel history] in 122 years. I’m awfully proud of our guys.”

Hyde Park took its lumps in the Red-South/Central this season, losing to Simeon, Curie and Kenwood. The Thunderbirds beat Hillcrest to win the Big Dipper Holiday Tournament but fell short in most of their big games.

Somehow, the team’s chemistry never fell apart during the rough times.

“It’s all about trusting the process,” Williford said. “Coach always says there is going to be adversity, and we have to keep pushing through. We just kept working and trusting the coaches.”

Hyde Park will face Simeon in the sectional championship game Friday. The Wolverines dominated the first matchup, winning 79-49. That was the first big Red-South/Central game for the Thunderbirds, though. They fared much better in the losses to Curie and Kenwood and nearly beat Young on the road in the city tournament.

“We’re trying to accomplish something big here,” Williford said. “We want to go to state, and we aren’t accepting anything less.”

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