MT. CARMEL – After one half of solid inside defense against a taller Flora team, things began to unravel for the Mt. Carmel Lady Aces in the third quarter Monday night.
What began as a drip, drip, drip turned into a torrent in the fourth quarter as the Wolfgals pulled away to a 47-36 non-conference win at the Hilltop.
“I thought we started to slide a little bit in the second quarter,” said Mt. Carmel coach Tim Willis after Flora (6-1) had spoiled his team’s home opener. “We get going 100 miles per hour and aren’t sure what to do with the ball, and that leads to turnovers. With this team, it’s about teaching patience.”
Those turnovers led to more Flora offensive opportunities. A second-half adjustment made things easier inside for center Kylie Cox, who led all scorers with 18 points, despite a 28-24 Mt. Carmel rebounding advantage on the night.
“Cox did a nice job,” Willis said. “We talked to our guards about making sure they couldn’t make that lob pass (to Cox). There were times we had some good weak-side help, and times we didn’t.”
The Lady Aces struggled mightily with their own offensive opportunities, shooting only 25.6 from the floor on the night. Yet, they managed an 18-16 lead at halftime.
“Early we ran our sets relatively well,” Willis said. “We did a decent job defensively. It felt as if they got a lot of points at the foul line. In the second half, we just rushed.”
The game was tied, 29-all, at the end of the third quarter before the all-senior Flora lineup outscored the hosts 18-7 in the decisive fourth frame.
Callie Dunkel led Mt. Carmel (3-3) with 11 points. Freshman Kylie Applebey finished with 8 points while holding her own against Cox. Dylan Marshall led the Aces on the boards with 10 rebounds.
Flora shot much better from the field, finishing at 40.5 percent on 17-of-42 accuracy. Joining Cox in double figures for the Wolfgals were Brooke Bayles with 11 points, and Macy Warren with 10.
Mt. Carmel is off until next Monday (Dec. 8) when the Lady Aces play at Big 8 Conference favorite Princeton.