Basketball

WASHINGTON, Ind. — After a regular-season finale that was forgettable for a variety of reasons, it was time for Golden Aces basketball coach Tyler Buss to look ahead to the IHSA Class 2A regional tournament, which his No. 1 seeded team hosts beginning tonight.

“We faced a lot of adversity tonight,” said Buss after Mt. Carmel’s 67-61 Big 8 Conference loss to Washington. “We let some outside factors bother us a bit too much. In the grand scheme of things, we’ll get on the bus and forget about this and concentrate on winning five games in a row (the number of post-season wins needed to make it to the 2A Final Four in Peoria).”

Reece Metcalf led the Aces with 22 points, one of three players in double figures. Levi Laws and C.J. Diel added 15 each.

Mt. Carmel (19-8) fell short of its first 20-game win regular-season since 1997, but enters post-season play with a 10-2 record against Illinois opposition.

“I’ll be hard pressed to find a team as battle-tested as us,” Buss said. “But it’s how we play (this) week (in the regional). Everyone is now 0-0 heading on.

The regional tournament opens tonight at the Hilltop at 6 p.m. with two games. The Carmi-Lawrenceville game at 6 p.m. will provide Mt. Carmel’s Tuesday opponent in the 7 p.m. semifinal.

Tickets are $5 for all sessions, a price set by the IHSA. The 3-point shootout competition precedes the Friday championship game, at 5:30 p.m.

NOTES: Doors to the Hilltop open at 5 p.m... No. 2 seed Fairfield (20-8) is not the only team heading into the post-season. The Mules lost to Carmi (17-9), 67-64, Friday, a loss which also cost them sole possession of the East Division championship of the Black Diamond Conference... Flora enters at 21-8, Lawrenceville is 12-15, and Hamilton Co. is 6-21... A total of 740 schools are playing in this year’s IHSA tournament, the largest field since 1990... A total of 169 schools are after the Class 2A title.

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