Basketball

Aces turn fortunes around, beat Nashville

BENTON, Ill. – Mount Carmel was almost to the breaking point on Saturday against Nashville at the Rich Herrin Shootout.

Nashville (15-11) led, 35-29, with five-plus minutes remaining. The Hornets had controlled the pace of the game to that point, willing to wait however long it took to capitalize on even the smallest of Mount Carmel mistakes on defense.

Then, like a shot in the dark, the Golden Aces rebounded, spurting ahead on a seven-point run that completely changed the tenor of the game. Nashville never fully recovered, as Mount Carmel (22-3) ran off to a 52-44 win, it’s 10th straight.

Aces extend streak, Buss ties Johnston

OLNEY, Ill. – It has been a busy week for the Mount Carmel boys basketball team. The Golden Aces recorded back-to-back wins on Tuesday and Wednesday, and both were milestone wins for coach Tyler Buss.

Tuesday, the Aces throttled ancient-rival Lawrenceville, 69-43, for Buss’ 100th win in six years at the Hilltop. One night later, No. 101 – a 43-32 non-conference win at Olney – tied Buss for second place on the school’s all-time win list. He is now even with Rick Johnston, who was 101-91 in seven years from 1994-2001. Cliff Garrett, who guided the Aces to the state championship in 1927, is the all-time leader with 123 wins (He was 123-23 in five years between 1924-29.).

It's bombs away for Olney girls in win

OLNEY, Ill. – Even after their fourth-highest offensive output of the season, Mount Carmel girls basketball coach Tim Willis wondered how many more points his Lady Aces could have scored against Olney on Monday night.

“I was probably more frustrated with our offense than our defense,” said Willis. “We’ve talked about it all year. We have to execute late, and we need to slow down. We’ve got to get the look that we need. A couple of times we were throwing the ball all over the place. Not necessarily a turnover, but not the shot we wanted.”

As good as the Lady Aces were on offense, Olney was that much better. The Lady Tigers, in fact, were nothing short of amazing from the arc line, drilling 12 3-point field goals in a 67-50 non-conference win at Ron Herrin Gym.

Junior Lady Aces finish 4th at state

INA, ILL. – With leading scorer and playmaker Maya Smith at the end of the bench on crutches, the Mount Carmel Middle School Junior Lady Aces had to adjust and learn to play without her.

Unfortunately, that bit of on-the-job training had to come in the third-place game of the SIJHSAA Class L state tournament at Rend Lake College.

Learn, the Lady Aces did well. Adjust they did, too. But by the time they got into a newfound rhythm, Centralia had built a commanding lead. The Tigerettes bolted to an 18-3 lead at the end of the first period, and never looked back in a 59-41 triumph.

Aces go OT to win Top 10 battle

PINCKNEYVILLE, ILL. – Mount Carmel basketball coach Tyler Buss admits he didn’t like what he was seeing in the third quarter of Saturday’s game against Alton Marquette.

“I didn’t like our body language. It looked like it was going to go south in a hurry,” said Buss, with his team trailing the Explorers, 24-15, with 4:22 left in the period, their largest deficit of the game.

Then, “they did a good job of regrouping, got some stops, got out in transition a little bit, and got some mojo back.”

Indeed, they did.

Mount Carmel went on a 9-0 run to tie the game at 24-24.  From there, the Aces forced overtime, before hanging on for a 34-32 win in a battle of Class 2A Top Ten teams at the Panther Basketball Showcase here.

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