Basketball

LADY ACES ADVANCE TO TITLE GAME

FT. BRANCH, Ind. - Tyra Buss made more basketball history Friday night at the Toyota Teamwork Classic. But, she saved the ultimate piece of history for tonight.

Buss scored 60 points, a new school single-game record, to lead Mt. Carmel to a 96-79 victory over Gibson Southern. The reigning Illinois Ms. Basketball is now just two points away from tying the state career scoring record of 4,031 points set by Brittany Johnson of Olney.

In the process, the team total of 96 set a single-game mark, and the Lady Aces third-quarter blitz of 43 points is also a new record.

Lady Aces coach Tim Willis said he was unaware of how close Buss was to the record when he pulled her out of the game in the fourth quarter - but he knew she was close.

“We don’t keep track on the bench,” Willis said. “You could hear the crowd buzz so you knew she was close. But at the same time she was taking a lot of hits, and you’ve got to look at the bigger picture.
“If nothing else, Gibson Southern ought to be happy. They’ll have a huge crowd (Saturday) night.”

Lost in all the hubbub is the fact that Mt. Carmel (12-1) will play Big 8 Conference rival Princeton (11-0) in the 6 p.m. championship game at Titan Fieldhouse. The historic game will air live on WSJD 100.5 FM, and will be streamed on our site (Click on ATA Online tab, then Gametracker, on left).

Against a Gibson Southern (6-3) lineup that featured two 6-footers, the Lady Aces - with no one taller than 5-foot-7 - were banged around most of the night.

“Pretty physical I thought,” Willis said. “But the main thing for us was to bounce back from how we played last night, which was pretty lackluster (even though an eventual 75-44 win over South Central, Ind.).”

Mt. Carmel jumped to an 11-2 lead, but the Lady Titans finally took advantage of their inside advantage to pull to within, 39-33, at halftime.

The Lady Aces didn’t have an answer for 6-foot Hannah Cosby, who led Gibson Southern with 33 points, but didn’t need one. In the third quarter, the Aces simply overwhelmed the hosts with points - and not all from Buss.

Granted, Tyra scored 27 of Mt. Carmel’s 43 points in the third period, but that left 18 other points to be scored, and everyone chipped in.

Dylan Marshall hit for five points, Callie Dunkel and Brandi Metcalf four each and Reagan Keepes three during the frame, which ended with Mt. Carmel leading, 82-53.

Buss, with 53 points at the time, did not come out for the fourth quarter, but after Gibson Southern pressed their way back into contention, slicing the deficit from 32 points to 21 in three minutes, Willis inserted Buss again to stop the bleeding. She scored her last seven points at the free throw line, including the ones that broke her previous single-game mark of 54 points set last season.

Buss finished with eight 3-point field goals and hit 16-of-17 at the foul line.

Keepes finished with 13 points, including three field goals from behind the arc.

The Mt. Carmel-Princeton matchup will be the first of the year, after their league game was snowed out Dec. 9.

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