The Mt. Carmel Lady Aces were seeing red Saturday afternoon. And it was more than the color of Lawrenceville’s uniforms.
The Lady Aces routed the Indians, 88-46, in non-conference action at the Hilltop, still seething after Thursday’s upset loss at Mt. Vernon, Ind.
It also got them ready for the next visiting team in red, Indiana Class 2A No. 1-ranked Princeton (13-0), which arrives tonight for a much-ballyhooed, sold-out rematch, this time in a decisive Big 8 Conference game.
It took a while before Mt. Carmel (13-3), ranked ninth in last week’s Class 2A poll, was able to pull away from Lawrenceville (4-8). The Lady Aces led only 20-12 at the end of the first quarter.
“I thought we got off to a sluggish start, but we were working on some things we are putting in for (tonight),” said Lady Aces coach Tim Willis.
Mt. Carmel was a different club in the second quarter, outscoring the Indians 36-10 for a halftime advantage of 56-22.
By the end of the third quarter, with Tyra Buss and all the starters long gone, the score was 78-32.
“We executed better in the second period and got some points off the press. And, we’re home,” Willis said.
Buss scored 40 points to lead the way, 32 of those in the first half. Reagan Keepes added 14 points, including two of the Lady Aces’ five 3-point field goals.
Dylan Marshall scored eight, with Alex Rosignol and Brandi Metcalf adding seven points apiece.
Princeton won the first matchup between the two, 84-82, on Dec. 28 in the championship of the Toyota Teamwork Classic, scoring the last five points on free throws in the closing seconds.
Willis isn’t sure what to expect tonight, given the buildup on both sides of the river.
“Normally when one game is really really close the second game isn’t necessarily that way,” said Willis.
“The key for us is getting off to a good start. We know the crowd is going to be electric. We’ve got to react to how the game is being officiated.”
And we’ve got to get the ball inside to (Rosignol) early, and get her unwound.”
Rosignol, and her return from a knee injury since the last meeting, provides Mt. Carmel with the biggest wild card as the two teams get ready for the 7:30 p.m. game, preceded by a JV game at 6 p.m.
The game was sold out within minutes Friday morning. Many on a waiting list were able to procure tickets, however, because of unclaimed student passes by midday Friday.
• Mt. Carmel won the JV game Saturday, 43-23. Freshman Eryn Gould paced the winners with 12 points.