Injuries hit Mount Carmel, but Caden Workman sticks with blue-collar game for Brother Rice. ‘Caden is a rock.’

Brother Rice’s Caden Workman has never had to look too far for basketball role models or some pointers on how to play inside.

His mother, Kristin, played basketball for Trinity Christian College and his father, Mark, played in high school. Both spent most of their time on the court battling in the lane.

“Both my parents are pretty tall, so they both played down low,” Workman said. “A lot of my moves in the post come from them.”

Those moves are paying off for Workman, who is playing a big role in his first varsity season.

The junior forward scored 10 points and pulled down eight rebounds Friday night as the host Crusaders knocked off Mount Carmel 69-59 in a Catholic League Blue showdown in Chicago.

Marcos Gonzales scored 20 points, including 13 in the fourth quarter, to lead Brother Rice (25-3, 6-1). Zavier Fitch finished with 19 points and 10 rebounds, while Tyler Wooten added 13 points.

Northwestern recruit Angelo Ciaravino and Noah Mister each scored 17 points for Mount Carmel (26-4, 6-1). Grant Best added 12.

Ciaravino, making his return after missing five games with what coach Phil Segroves called a “lower-body injury,” added eight rebounds.

Mount Carmel, though, has lost forward Lee Marks for the season. Segroves said Marks fractured his elbow Sunday in a freak accident against Leo.

“It was great to have him back,” Segroves said of Ciaravino. “But you get one great player back and you lose another.

“It’s always good to have Angelo on the floor. He had some extra bounce. Angelo’s the ultimate competitor. He’s wanted to be back on the floor for weeks now.”

Workman, meanwhile, worked his way into the starting lineup right away and has become a mainstay in Brother Rice’s lineup.

“A lot of guys left last year, so I knew there might be a chance for another big man to slide in,” Workman said. “I try to do my best to fill that role.

“I wasn’t expecting as big of a role as I have, but I worked really hard to get to this point and I’m going to continue to do so.”

Friday’s game was a nip-and-tuck battle most of the way, with the largest lead for either team through the first three quarters being four points.

The Crusaders, though, opened the fourth quarter with a 12-4 surge to take control. Gonzales scored seven of those points, but pointed toward the other end of the court as being the difference-maker.

“We had two, three, four possessions in a row where we got stops and we scored on the other end,” Gonzales said. “It was having that toughness on the defensive end and that mindset that we had to lock down and get some stops.”

When it comes to toughness, Gonzales said Workman does the essential work and then some.

“Caden is a rock,” Gonzales said. “He’s our glue guy. He does everything for us. He’ll do all the dirty work. He’s just a tough guy.

“I’ve played with him since I was young, and I wouldn’t want to have anyone else as a teammate more than him.”

Mount Carmel’s loss leaves DePaul Prep as the lone unbeaten team in the Catholic League Blue with a 7-0 record. All three contenders have one game left.

The Crusaders now turn into Caravan fans as a Mount Carmel win Monday over DePaul, combined with a Brother Rice win Tuesday over St. Ignatius, would result in three-way tie for the championship.

Either way, Workman helped keep the Crusaders alive.

“It always feels good to contribute no matter what, but especially in a game like this,” he said. “The stakes are high, and it’s a big rivalry game.”