To all those in the blogosphere who were convinced the Mt. Carmel girls basketball team would get a cushy ride to the state tournament to ensure state starlet Tyra Buss gets a chance to play in the Big House - Redbird Arena - in the state finals:
The Illinois High School Association has certainly not done the Lady Aces any favors.
Not only does long-time nemesis Teutopolis loom for possibly a fourth time in sectional play, the IHSA has also assigned Marshall to the Class 2A regional tournament which will be played from Feb. 10-14.
The Lady Aces will at least get to host the five-team regional, which also includes Casey-Westfield, Robinson and Lawrenceville.
Marshall defeated Mt. Carmel, 57-53, on Nov. 29 at the Robinson Thanksgiving tourney, and for that reason could be accorded the No. 1 seed when coaches gather online to seed the team in January.
The Mt. Carmel winner joins regional champions from Arthur, Carmi and Vandalia in Casey for the sectional tournament from Feb. 17-20. The champion there advances to the Salem Super-Sectional on Feb. 24, one step away from the Final Four in Normal starting on Feb. 28.
Teutopolis, which has eliminated the Lady Aces in each of the last three sectionals, is grouped in the Vandalia regional along with Flora, Greenville, Newton and the host Vandals.
At Carmi, the host Bulldogs will welcome Fairfield, Eldorado, Harrisburg and Hamilton County.
Arthur will play host to Paris, Sullivan, Tuscola, Villa Grove and Georgetown-Ridge Farm.
Mt. Carmel will also host the IHSA Class 2A boys regional tournament, from Feb. 24-28. Carmi, Fairfield, Flora, Lawrenceville and Hamilton Co. have also been assigned there.
Du Quoin will host the boys sectional beginning Mar. 7, bringing in regional survivors from Mt. Carmel, Harrisburg, Anna-Jonesboro and Nashville.
SIU Arena will once again host the Super-Sectional on Mar. 11, with sectional winners from Du Quoin and Vandalia vying for a Final Four berth in Peoria.
The Aces already own wins over Flora and Lawrenceville, and will play Carmi and Fairfield in the Carmi Invitational which begins Jan. 20. The only team Tyler Buss’ team will not have seen before coaches seed the field will be Hamilton Co.