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The Caravan

The student news site of Mount Carmel High School

The Caravan

The student news site of Mount Carmel High School

The Caravan

The Caravan reach state finals, cap off historic season

Matthew Malloy ’25
Starters for the Caravan excitedly wait for player introductions and tip-off for the Semifinal game against Mt. Zion.

Caravan head coach Phil Segroves and the basketball program haven’t always had the ability to come out and win more than thirty games. In fact, when Coach Segroves first became head coach, the Caravan were stuck at around five or six wins each year and struggled just to win over Catholic League opponents. 

Over the years, many players were recruited, coaches came and went, and fans saw the number of wins increase. The program had been established as one of the best teams in the state and the 2023-2024 season was highly anticipated.

The team finished the regular season with a record of 26-5. Led by seniors Angelo Ciaravino, Lee “Tre” Marks, and Christian Uremovich, the Caravan had their eyes set on a state championship heading into the playoffs.

“What’s the first thing you think about when you think of Mount Carmel?” said Coach Segroves. “I coached Mount Carmel football for 19 years. Nobody loves it more than me. But as the Athletic Director and Head Basketball Coach, I see it as the sky’s the limit.”

Coach Phil Segroves high fives Grant Best and Christian Uremovich during a time out in the Semifinal game. (Matthew Malloy ‘25)

The team began their historic run with convincing wins in the Regional Semifinal game against Solorio Academy with a score of 62-8, and the 82-58 win in the Regional Championship against Bogan High School.

After winning their regional, the Caravan had a very close win against Hyde Park in which senior Christian Uremovich had a game winning putback-and-one shot in the last few seconds of the game. After sinking his free throw, the Caravan was off to the Sectional Championship, the round in which they lost last year to Simeon Career Academy. 

MC had many fans in attendance to see the team rout the De La Salle Meteors 73-57 at Hinsdale South High School. 

The Caravan then traveled to UIC to play the St. Patrick Shamrocks. Even though MC trailed for a majority of the game, they were able to pull away in overtime and win 56-46. 

The Caravan were finally Super Sectional champions, and this was the first time in 39 years that the team headed down state.

“This means a lot to us and to our community,” said Ciaravino, a Northwestern commit, about the team’s feeling at the start of the postseason. “We’re looking to make our mark on the history here at Mount Carmel.”

Senior captain Angelo Ciaravino does his signature move during player introductions moments before tip-off in the Semifinal game. (Matthew Malloy ‘25)

The buses were loaded up, fans bought tickets, and the players bonded over the fact that no matter what happened at the University of Illinois’s State Farm Center, they would be a part of Mount Carmel basketball history.

In order to make it to the State Championship game, the Caravan would first need to take down the Braves from Mt. Zion. It was a close game, with the score tied 30-30 at halftime. 

However, junior guard Grant Best went three-for-three from beyond the arc and had a total of 14 points, just like his teammate and other junior guard Cameron Thomas. 

A big surprise that came in the semifinal game was Lee “Tre” Marks subbing in for Ciaravino with 2:48 left in the first quarter. Marks hadn’t played since February 6th when he suffered an elbow injury in a Caravan victory against Leo High School. 

“My job is to support my teammates and just do what I can for them,” said Marks. “If I’m being honest I didn’t think I was going to come back. I really wanted to go out and help my team especially [in the two losses to Brother Rice and DePaul College Prep to end the regular season].”

With Best, Thomas, and Marks’ incredible performances, the Caravan were able to take down Mt. Zion 65-49 and were heading to the state championship game for the first time since 1985. 

Junior guard Cameron Thomas jumps over a Mt. Zion defender to knock down one of the many shots he made during the Friday morning game. (Matthew Malloy ‘25)

“I feel like we’re the deepest team in the state right now,” said Ciaravino after winning against Mt. Zion. “No matter what, we just get it done the difficult way.”

The team would face DePaul College Prep, the defending 2A state champs, a familiar opponent that they had lost to in the final game of the regular season. The only CCL team to ever make it to a 3A championship was Fenwick in 2017, losing to Morgan Park in overtime, so this would guarantee the first ever 3A champ from this conference.  

“Whoever we play tomorrow we’re going to be ready,” said Ciaravino prior to DePaul’s semifinal game against Peoria-Richwoods. “We want to come out ready to kill and have our foot on the gas.”

The Caravan made sure to get plenty of rest Friday night and watched a lot of film on the Rams from DePaul. 

While the Caravan were looking to make history by winning for the first time in 39 years, the Rams were looking to make history by being the first team to win back to back championships after switching divisions from 2A to 3A. 

It seemed like no matter which way one looked at it, this game had plenty of things on the line. Coach Segroves was looking to come full circle in being a head coach. Ciaravino, Marks, and Uremovich wanted to play well in their last high school game. Thomas, Best, and sophomore Noah Mister wanted to support their upperclassmen teammates. And the entire team wanted to change what happened the last time they played DePaul. 

All the anticipation and excitement built up to 5:30pm on Saturday. The lights were dimmed, players were introduced, and plenty of MC fans made the trip down to watch them play. 

DePaul came out hot, scoring multiple threes in the first few minutes. Even with a dominant performance of 24 points from Ciaravino, the Caravan could just never take the lead. In a race against time and foul trouble, MC players continued to shoot threes and find gaps in the Rams’s defense. Everyone from the Caravan side of the court, whether it was a starter or reserve, played the game with extreme intensity. 

Senior Angelo Ciaravino soaks up the state championship atmosphere by looking up to the thousands of seats in State Farm Center. (Matthew Malloy ‘25)

Even with a great amount of hustle, the Caravan weren’t able to win. They fell to the Rams 49-41. 

“What an unbelievable run,” said Coach Segroves after the game. “They’re great young men and extremely hard workers.” 

Emotions ran high after the game, and for some, the realization set in that they had just played their last game not only at MC but in high school overall. 

“Since the day I stepped on campus for open gyms everyone just accepted me, even beyond basketball,” said Uremovich, who transferred in prior to the start of this year. “This has been a great experience and I’m glad I’m finishing out my high school career here.”  

Senior Christian Uremovich scans the court for DePaul defenders while his teammate shoots a free throw in the state championship game. (Matthew Malloy ‘25)

The Caravan finished their season with a record of 32-6. While a state championship banner and ring would’ve been nice, the fact that this is the first time in almost four decades that the Caravan made it to this point is an accomplishment in itself. 

While many have questions and concerns about that state championship game and future of basketball at MC, it looks as though the senior captain is focused on what’s really important.

“We’ll always remember this moment forever,” said Ciaravino. “We fought, battled, and built a special bond with each other. I know we’ll never forget this.” 

The Caravan pose with the trophy and medals they were awarded after the state title game. (Matthew Malloy ‘25)

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About the Contributor
Matthew Malloy ’25, Staff Writer
Matthew Malloy is a junior at Mount Carmel High School. He resides in the Southside of Chicago in the Beverly neighborhood and attended St. John Fisher Elementary School. Matt is currently a member of the student council, The Merchant, varsity golf team, varsity volleyball team, and the Caravan Media Group in which he is the play by play announcer for all home football and basketball games. As for academics, Matt is in the top 10 for the class of 2025. He first gained interest for journalism by watching ESPN’s College GameDay and reading The Beverly Review. His favorite sports commentators are Dick Vitale, Gus Johnson, Ray Clay, and Jim Nantz. As for favorite sports teams, Matt likes the Chicago White Sox, Chicago Blackhawks, Chicago Bulls, Manchester United F.C., Chicago Bears, Notre Dame Fighting Irish, and his favorite golfers are John Daly, Bryson DeChambeau, and Collin Morikawa. His favorite band is the Red Hot Chili Peppers and his favorite album is The Dark Side of the Moon by Pink Floyd. Matt’s favorite movies are Goodfellas and Asteroid City while The Office, Freaks and Geeks, and Friday Night Lights are his favorite TV shows. He and his cousins are continuing the tradition and legacy of the O’Connor family at Mount Carmel as he is the nephew of Dan O’Connor ‘95 and grandson of Frank O’Connor ‘61 and Kathy O’Connor, who works in the spirit store and is an avid supporter of Mount Carmel.