OAKLAND CITY, Ind. — It looks like the Illinois girls state basketball scoring record will have to wait until Saturday.
South Central, Ind. held Mt. Carmel scoring phenom Tyra Buss to 37 points — her second-lowest total of the season — in pool play Thursday night at the Toyota Teamwork Classic. The Lady Aces (11-1) still had enough firepower to overwhelm the Rebels, 75-44, in a game played at Oakland City University’s Johnson Center.
But, the 63 points Buss needed to surpass Brittany Johnson’s state mark of 4,031 career may be out of reach in tonight’s 7:15 p.m. pool play finale at Gibson Southern, so the record should fall in the finals on Saturday.
Buss entered the night with the nation’s top scoring average of 45.5 points per game (according to maxpreps.com), but was bothered by South Central’s triangle-and-two defense which allowed the Rebels, down early 26-4, to fight their way back to within 12 points by halftime, 38-26.
“Our effort in the second quarter was really bad,” said Mt. Carmel coach Tim Willis. “We let down and we have to get over that.”
The Lady Aces responded to what Willis indicated was a stern halftime talk by scoring the first 15 points of the third quarter to again secure control of the game. Brandi Metcalf, Reagan Keepes and Buss each hit 3-point field goals to finish the surge which made it 53-26.
“Our kids responded with a far better attack in the third and fourth quarter,” Willis said.
Buss recorded 12 steals while adding nine rebounds and six assists in the win. Keepes also hit double figures for the Lady Aces with 12 points.
Elizabeth, Ind.-based South Central (1-8), in the Toyota field for the first time, was led by Kelsey Miller with 17 points.
Defending champion Mt. Carmel and Gibson Southern, tonight’s pool-round opponent, are both 2-0 in the pool. So, they will play tonight for a berth in the Saturday night championship game. The loser will end up in the third-place game.