MT. CARMEL – A new era in Lady Aces basketball begins tonight in Washington.

Call it the “Post Tyra Buss Era” or whatever you like, but it will be the first since 2010 that Buss has not been on the floor dominating play in a Lady Aces uniform.

Not only is Buss’ magic now property of the Indiana Hoosiers, but Alex Rosignol and her career rebound record has graduated along with arc-line maven Reagan Keepes.

So, the cupboard is bare, right? Not exactly. The personnel losses have not tempered the enthusiasm of veteran coach Tin Willis, who knows that great young talent is coming up through the pipeline. The future starts now.

“It’s always exciting to see a new group coming through,” said Willis (204-100 career mark), set to begin his 11th year at the helm. “We’re excited to get the season started and see where we’re at and what we need to improve on. Hopefully by the time February rolls around, we’ll be going in the right direction.”

The junior varsity game begins at 5:30 p.m. CST followed by the varsity tilt at around 7 p.m.

Washington is already off to a 2-0 start. The Lady Hatchets beat North Knox, 68-48, on Nov. 11, followed by a 54-24 win over county rival North Daviess on Friday.

Even in the best of times, facing an opening-night opponent with games already under its belt is challenging. “It’s not a perfect scenario. But I talked to (Washington coach) Gretchen Miles the other day and I don’t think she’ll have much sympathy for us,” Willis said with a smile.

Brandi Metcalf and Callie Dunkel will start at guard tonight for the Lady Aces. Dylan Marshall, Annie Dardeen will start along the line along with Kylie Applebey. Willis said “a lot of kids will play in the game, to get them out there and get their feet wet a little bit.”