FLORA, Ill. — Riley Raber’s 3-point field goal, banked in with 49 seconds remaining lifted Mt. Carmel past Flora, 47-42, Saturday, salvaging a weekend split for the Golden Aces after a tough 78-73 double overtime loss to Vincennes Lincoln in the Big 8 Conference opener one night earlier.
Aces coach Tyler Buss said the “gutty” win over Flora was a good bounce back after an emotionally and physically demanding loss on Friday.
“I told the guys in the lockerroom that we played pretty last night and didn’t win,” Buss said. “It’s kind of ironic that the winning shot was a bank shot because we couldn’t hit the normal shots.”
After Raber’s game-winner, Levi Laws added four free throws to cement the win.
Reece Metcalf led the way with 19 points. Flora (3-1) was paced by guard Bryce Pearce, also with 19 points.
Mt. Carmel (5-2, 0-1 in Big 8) had a four-game winning streak snapped in the loss to Vincennes (3-0, 2-0 after a Saturday league win over Boonville).
Thomas Allen hit a 3-pointer with 6.6 seconds left in regulation to tie the game at 62-62 to force extra time. At the end of the first OT, the game was still tied, 66-66.
The Aces jumped to a 71-66 lead after scoring the first five points of the second OT, but could not hold the lead.
The Alices ripped off the next eight points — including a basket by reserve Braeden Fields — to go ahead for good.
Despite the loss to the two-time defending champion Alices, Buss learned a thing or two about his team.
“I wasn’t sure we could handle a tough, physical game,” Buss said. “But we proved we could tonight. Vincennes is going to win a lot of games. We gave them everything they wanted.”
Reece Metcalf scored 23 points, his final point elevating him to a spot in the coveted 1,000-point club at the Hilltop.
He became only the 11th boys player to achieve the standard in over 100 years of Aces basketball.
There are seven girls in the club for a total of 18 1,000-point scorers.
“We had a ceremony planned to stop the game, but we were on a nice little run and we didn’t want to mess up the momentum we had,” Buss said. “We’ll probably do something to honor him at the next home game.”
He won’t be the last Aces player to reach the milestone this season. Laws began the night only 67 points shy of the mark and scored 28 to lead the team.
Laws added six points Saturday and is now within 19 of the 1,000-point mark.
“He makes it real easy as a coach,” said Buss of the play of his junior guard. “You give him a high ball screen and let him make the decision. He hasn’t scored as much this year, but did a good job of recognizing the situation that we were going to need points out of him.”
Josh Sprinkle scored 25 points to lead Vincennes. Brandt Nowaskie added 17 points, Avory Mickens 15 and Tyjuan Hawkins - who got the final rally started with a 3-pointer - finished with 13 points.