Basketball

CASEY, Ill. — Different year. Different gym. Same result.

No. 2-ranked Teutopolis ended Mt. Carmel’s season at the IHSA Class 2A girls sectional level for the fourth straight season Thursday, pulling away in the second half for a decisive 49-31 victory over the eighth-ranked Lady Aces.

Mt. Carmel, despite struggling from the field, trailed only 20-17 at halftime.

And, they were still hanging around, within 29-26 on a 3-point field goal by Brandi Metcalf, before things suddenly went from bad to worse.

T-town (27-5) went on a 12-point run, and suddenly it looked like the last three years all over again with the Lady Wooden Shoes in control 41-26 at the end of the third quarter, and Mt. Carmel having to force the action to try to get back into contention.

“I thought we played hard,” said Mt. Carmel coach Tim Willis. “Obviously we didn’t shoot the ball very well. They were able to take advantage and got some easy looks. We just got into a jam at that point.

“Against T-town you can’t get down 10 points or you’re in trouble. We tried to call as many time outs as they’d give us to slow them down.”

Two third-quarter 3-point field goals by Cierra Thompson helped fuel the Teutopolis getaway, which ended with a 21-9 advantage in the frame.

The loss brought to an end one of the greatest chapters in Mt. Carmel sports history. Tyra Buss put 15 points up to lead the Lady Aces, bringing her career point total to an astounding 4,891 points, the highest total in Illinois history and the second-best in U.S. history at the high school level.

The reigning Ms. Basketball will attend Indiana University next fall.

Buss’ two senior running mates, Alex Rosignol, also may bid farewell to the Hilltop hardwood, but not to sports in general. Rosignol, the career rebound record holder, will play Division I volleyball at SIU in the fall, while Keepes will be a few miles away from Carbondale, playing Division I junior college golf at John A. Logan in Carterville.

The seniors were 110-17 during their time at the Hilltop, a mark future Lady Aces teams will be aiming at for perhaps years, if not decades, into the future.

“It’s a bitter pill,” Willis said. “We asked our kids to play hard and they did. We just didn’t get the job done tonight. We’ll keep knocking on that door until we get it.”

Madeline Hartke followed Thompson in scoring for the winners, finishing with 17 points.

The 2,100-seat Casey gymnasium, built in 1928, was filled with an even split of Mt. Carmel and Teutopolis fans. They were treated to a couple of sideshows. A tornado warning issued for Clark County forced the evacuation of the gymnasium prior to the 3-point shootout competition, which Buss
advanced to state in by hitting nine 3-ball shots out of 15.

With fans huddled in school hallways waiting out the weather, the power went out briefly, with only security lighting on in the corridors.

The weather delayed the start of the 3-point shooting by around 45 minutes, and the tip of the game itself was delayed by 10 minutes.

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