ROBINSON, Ill. — After losing their chance at the championship of the Robinson Thanksgiving tournament on Friday, the Lady Aces basketball team had to scramble to hang on to second place Saturday.
Mt. Carmel (4-1) rallied to defeat Indianapolis Guerin, 66-61, to finish behind champion Marshall in the five-team round robin. Marshall had defeated the Aces Friday, 57-53. In between was a 74-51 win over Casey-Westfield Saturday morning.
After a six-point run by Guerin (2-2) put the Golden Eagles up at halftime, 31-27, they extended the lead with the first 11 points of the second half marking their biggest lead of the game 42-27.
Mt. Carmel then clawed its way back with a 16-point run of its own. Three straight 3-pointers by Tyra Buss got the rally started. A free throw by Dylan Marshall followed by a basket by Reagan Keepes sliced the deficit to 42-40, before an old-fashioned 3-point play by Buss put the Aces up, 43-42.
Guerin kept the heat on until Buss clinched the game with another old basket-free throw combo by Buss to account for the final score.
Lady Aces coach Tim Willis said it is still a case of “learning on the fly” for his team that returned only Buss and Keepes as starters from last year and is dealing with the injury loss to Alex Rosignol.
“We’ve just got a lot of inexperience out there,” Willis said. “Our movement on offense is not where it needs to be. We’re behind the eight-ball.”
Buss, off to the best scoring start of her career, recorded 50 points to lead the way. She has now scored 227 points in four games for an average of 45.4 points per game through five games.
Keepes had games of seven, 12 and six points and landed a spot on the all-tournament team along with Buss. We have to free up some shots for Reagan,” said Willis, trying to get his senior more scoring opportunities.
Mt. Carmel plays at Flora tonight. The JV game has been cancelled because of low numbers in the Wolfgals program, so only a varsity game will be played at 7 p.m.
NOTES: Now with 3,658 career points, Buss is second on the Illinois scoring list, just 373 points away from tying Brittany Johnson’s state mark of 4,031. At her current pace, she would become the state’s all-time scoring queen sometime during the Toyota Teamwork Classic, Dec. 23-28. Buss moved up to 17th on the all-time national scoring list (www.nfhs.org).