EVANSVILLE, Ind. - Reece Metcalf’s free throw with 9.3 seconds remaining in overtime gave Mt. Carmel a 62-61 lead over Evansville Day Tuesday night.
That’s when things really got interesting.
Day (3-6), which carried a two-game winning streak into the game, had one last chance, with an inbounds play on their baseline with 1.3 seconds to go.
The Eagles were determined to free up 6-foot-3 senior Will Stevens for something better than a catch-and-shoot, and kept moving him around as both teams jockeyed for position by splitting four consecutive time outs.
Finally, it was time to play it out.
“We didn’t execute the last (play) the way we wanted,” said Mt. Carmel coach Tyler Buss. “We wanted Levi Laws nose to nose with (Stevens) but we did a good job of getting a hand up and forcing a tough shot.”
Stevens was free to move initially out of the stack up the lane, but once with the ball only had time for an 18-foot fallaway that drifted off the mark.
With that Mt. Carmel (9-5) had ended a 17-day hiatus with a 62-61 non-conference win. And, avoided dealing with the pain of losing an 11-point lead in the fourth quarter, then having to scramble just to get to overtime.
The Aces led 47-36 at the end of the third quarter, their biggest margin of the game.
It was gone barely three minutes later as Day opened the fourth quarter on a 15-0 run to go up, 51-47.
Mt. Carmel recovered in time to force overtime. Laws hit a shot with one minutes left to tie the game at 55-all.
The host Eagles, after working the clock, had a shot from John Grimm deflected by the Aces’ Riley Raber at the regulation horn, forcing the extra four minutes of playing time.
“We never apologize for wins, but we’ve got to stop making it so tough on ourselves,” Buss said. “I was proud of our defense at the end, though. We got the stops we needed to win the game.”
Metcalf led the Aces with 20 points, though he struggled at the free throw line, hitting only three of eight shots.
Laws had 18, while Raber and Austin Thompson held things together inside in the absence of foul-plagued C.J. Diel, with point totals of 11 and 10, respectively.
Day was led by Grimm and Derek Hammelman with 16 points each. Stevens finished with 14 points.
Mt. Carmel won the JV contest, 46-27, uncorking nine 3-balls in the win, four by Austin Murk.
NOTE: Mt. Carmel hosts Boonville Friday in search of its’ first Big 8 Conference win of the year. While the Aces are 0-2 in the league, the Pioneers are winless on the season, at 0-10, and 0-4 in the Big 8.