Basketball

The Lady Aces basketball team is apparently picking up right where they left off last year.

Mt. Carmel turned a close game into a rout with torrid shooting from beyond the arc line, pulling away to an 84-55 victory in the season and Big 8 Conference opener Tuesday at the Hilltop.

Coming off an undefeated 29-0 regular season last year, and counting a win in the final regular-season game of the 2011-2012 season, the win extends Mt. Carmel’s regular-season winning streak to 31 over parts of three seasons.

“I can’t remember a team which shot the ball that well consistently from the start of the game to the end,” said Lady Aces coach Tim Willis, who opened his 10th year at the helm with win No. 178.

After holding off Washington’s inside advantage enough to grab a 35-32 halftime lead, the Aces unleashed a barrage of 3-point field goals in the third quarter, matching their first half total with another 35 points in that single frame alone.

The Lady Aces hit 14 3-pointers in all, seven coming from Tyra Buss (including four in a row at one point) and six from Reagan Keepes, whose total of 18 points all came from beyond the arc.

“We knew we had to skip the ball and shoot the three. It was our game plan coming in,” Willis said.

The Lady Aces held Ally Hunsinger, last year an all-Big 8 Conference selection, to only seven points. Junior Callie Dunkel drew her much of the night, which led to praise from Willis, along with sophomores Annie Dardeen and Dylan Marshall.

“We have some kids who need to be defensive players,” Willis said. “We’ve got kids who can score. So, those three really stepped up to the challenge tonight.”

Buss resumed her pursuit of the state career scoring record with a season-debut total of 49 points. The reigning Illinois Ms. Basketball is now 551 points away from tying the record of 4,031 points set by Brittany Johnson of Olney.

NOTES: Buss, now with 3,480 career points, moved into 23rd place in the all-time national scoring listing, passing former collegiate and Olympic great Cheryl Miller.

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