Basketball

Hatchets edge Aces for Big 8 title

MOUMT CARMEL, Ill. – Mount Carmel came within 1.6 seconds of winning its first-ever Big 8 Conference boys’ basketball championship. Thanks to Billy Fleetwood, the Golden Aces will have to wait a little longer.

Fleetwood hit two free throws with 1.6 seconds left to give Washington a 58-57 victory in a winner-take-all game on Friday night at the Hilltop. Mount Carmel (23-4, 5-1 in Big 8) had its’ 11-game winning streak snapped when Justin Carpenter’s 50-foot heave fell short at the buzzer.

Junior Aces fall at state tourney

INA, Ill. – If Belleville West Junior High School does go on to win the state junior high school boys basketball title, the Westerners will long remember their quarterfinal game on Saturday against Mount Carmel – a game that tested them as perhaps they had not yet been in an undefeated season.

Mount Carmel held an improbable 26-17 lead at halftime. However, things changed in the second half as West began to play more like a 24-0 record would indicate. They overwhelmed the Junior Aces 38-13 in the second half to advance on with a 55-39 victory in the SIJHSAA Class L state tournament at Rend Lake College.

Lady Aces fall in regional final

Often times, championship games will come down to one or two good plays that will decide the outcome. Unfortunately for the Mount Carmel Lady Aces, Newton made two big play inside the game’s final two minutes that swung the IHSA Class 2A regional championship in its favor. From there, the No. 2 sub-sectional seed Lady Eagles held on for a 53-48 win on Thursday night here.

Aces win, ready for showdown

MOUNT CARMEL, Ill. – The stage is set.

Mount Carmel defeated Mount Vernon, Indiana, 78-58, in Big 8 Conference play Tuesday night, ensuring a winner-take-all regular-season finale against the other 5-0 team in the league – Washington – on Feb. 17 at the Hilltop.

In their 14 years in the league, the Golden Aces have never won more than three Big 8 games in one year. Even with that enormous monkey on their back, the ninth-ranked Aces jetted out to a 19-7 first-quarter lead and never looked back.

Mount Carmel (23-3, 5-0 in Big 8) won with perhaps its most balanced attack of the year. Five players finished in double figures.

Lady Aces move on in regional tourney

FAIRFIELD, Ill. – The Mount Carmel girls’ basketball team opened post-season play Monday night with one of its best performances of the year.

“It was awful nice to actually put four quarters together,” said Lady Aces coach Tim Willis after his team had posted an impressive 47-22 victory over Edwards County in the quarterfinals of the IHSA Class 2A regional tournament in Fairfield.

Willis pointed to only a brief stretch of sub-par play -- “at most a two-minute stretch in the third quarter. Other than that, I thought we played very well,” he said.

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