The post-season is here for the Mt. Carmel Lady Aces basketball team, ready or not.
Saturday against Eldorado in the regular-season finale, the Lady Aces didn’t always look ready.
“I sure hope we play better (this) week,” said coach Tim Willis after a 75-55 non-conference win over Eldorado, the final tuneup before the IHSA Class 2A regional opens tonight at the Hilltop.
“About half way through the second quarter I thought our focus really drifted. The second half we didn’t play very well at all.”
Mt. Carmel (24-4), ranked ninth in the 2A poll last week, begins post-season play Wednesday at 8 p.m. against Lawrenceville.
The Lady Aces are seeded second behind Marshall in the five-team regional which opens tonight with a 6 p.m. single game between Little Illini Conference foes Casey-Westfield and Robinson.
Mt. Carmel jumped to a 24-12 lead over Eldorado at the end of the first period and coasted in from there.
That was the problem, according to Willis.
“We can’t come out and play four or five minutes of sloppy ball. That will get you beat,” said Willis, who collected coaching victory No. 201 in the process. “That was our focal point in the last couple of weeks. I thought we had it going in the right direction, then we slid back,” Willis said.
Tyra Buss endured a rough night physically and still scored 47 points. She hurt her right thigh in the first half but played through it, hobbling for a short time.
Buss was also the main target of Eldorado’s constant physical play.
She probably established some kind of record for most state honors bestowed on one athlete in one night: two. Before the game, the reigning Illinois Ms. Basketball drew a standing ovation from the home crowd belatedly for being recognized for breaking the state scoring record in December.
Soon into the game, Buss received yet another ovation after scoring her ninth point and setting the state single-game points record she set last year as a junior.
Reagan Keepes added 12 points for Mt. Carmel.
Eldorado was led by Abby Steed with 13 points, followed by Jacqlyn Artman with 11.