Cameron Thomas makes triumphant return from charter school to help Mount Carmel. Again. ‘It feels like home.’

After spending his freshman year at Mount Carmel, Cameron Thomas and his family decided to make a big change. He headed to Legacy Early College, a charter school in South Carolina.

Things never quite clicked there for Thomas, who missed being a part of the Caravan and decided to return last spring.

“It feels like home,” Thomas said. “I’m really glad that I came back. I think it was a great decision. The coaches love me, the team loves me, everybody loves each other, and it’s a family environment.”

Thomas has been a welcome re-addition for Mount Carmel.

The junior guard continued his major contributions Tuesday night, scoring 11 points and pulling down 10 rebounds as the visiting Caravan rallied from a nine-point halftime deficit for a 63-50 win over St. Laurence in a Catholic League crossover.

“This is his first year really playing varsity basketball because his time was limited last year in South Carolina,” Mount Carmel coach Phil Segroves said. “When Cameron Thomas goes downhill, he’s a problem.

“We’re trying to teach him that — kind of take out some of the (Allen) Iverson moves, going side to side, and get him going downhill.”

Lee Marks had 18 points and eight rebounds to lead Mount Carmel (22-3). Grant Best added 14 points and 10 rebounds, while Christian Uremovich had 10 points and seven rebounds and Noah Mister managed nine points.

Zerrick Johnson scored 15 points for St. Laurence (12-9). Bradley Stratton contributed 12 points, Josh Pickett finished with 10 and Khalil Jones chipped in with eight.

Mount Carmel persevered without Northwestern recruit Angelo Ciaravino, who sat out with what Segroves called a “lower body injury.”

“Angelo’s fine,” Segroves said. “He’s going to take a rest. He’s going to take the rest of the week off. Like most high school kids who have been playing a lot of basketball, their bodies are beat up.

“We think it’s really good for him to take some time off and get ready for the stretch run.”

Thomas, who felt ready to step up with Ciaravino out, is starting to fit in more and more on Mount Carmel’s roster.

“At first, I had to learn how to play my role and it was tough, but I’ve adjusted to it,” Thomas said. “I’m getting better at it and I’m working on continuing to get better at it.

“It’s defense first. If my coaches need me to get a basket, I can get a basket for them, too.”

Thomas said he went to South Carolina for “more exposure,” but it never felt right.

“They played in the (National Interscholastic Basketball Conference) against Montverde and IMG and all the top teams,” he said. “But it wasn’t a good fit for me, so I decided to come back and coach Segroves welcomed me with open arms.”

Mount Carmel scored just four points in the second quarter Tuesday and trailed 28-19 at halftime but found its groove in a big way with 25 points in the third quarter.

The Caravan led 44-38 after three and opened the fourth quarter on an 8-0 run to take control.

Marks, who Segroves said had “the game of his life,” powered the comeback.

“Coach in the locker room at halftime was getting us locked in,” Marks said. “It was inspirational. He was yelling at us, but in a good way to get us going.”

Thomas also played a big part, knocking down some key shots and stepping up huge on the boards.

He feels he’s back where he belongs.

“It was mainly just the family environment and the coaches,” Thomas said. “They’ve always been supportive of me, so that’s what I was missing.”