WARRENTON, Ind. — During the last four years, the history being made on a nightly basis by the Mt. Carmel girls basketball team was almost beyond comprehension.
Now that the roundball careers of the most decorated seniors in program history are complete, their achievements are still hard to fathom.
“I hope all of you take the time to realize what we had these past four years,” Lady Aces coach Tim Willis told those gathered Wednesday at the team’s post-season awards banquet held at The Log Inn.
The numbers defied logic: 112 wins over four years, four regional championships (half of the eight won by the Lady Aces all-time), three trips to the Sweet Sixteen, two Big 8 Conference titles and a perfect 29-0 regular season in 2012-13.
Seniors Tyra Buss, Alex Rosignol and Reagan Keepes are all going on to college with scholarships in different sports: Buss with the nationally-hyped recruitment last year that led her to Indiana University, Rosignol with her dream of playing volleyball almost ruined by a knee injury that in the end did not deter Southern Illinois University from granting her wish, and Keepes following her own athletic heart by hitching a ride on what has become an Aces golf pipeline to NJCAA Division I power John A. Logan.
Buss, the two-time Ms. Basketball winner who scored 4,897 points in her star-studded career chocked full of other records and honors, was named the Most Valuable Player and the winner of the Bea Morgan assist award.
“Sometimes we get spoiled. We watch her do things and it’s like ‘OK, that’s ‘T’ being ‘T’,”’ said Willis of Buss. “But go talk to other coaches and other fans.”
Rosignol, her career and season rebounding records all the more impressive because she missed 20 games of her senior year with the aforementioned knee injury, was named the winner of the rebounding award. Keepes won for her offense.
The evening wasn’t all about good byes, however. Though play in the post-Buss & Co. era will certainly be different, the cupboard isn’t close to bare.
“I always hear ‘teams are ready to pay you back,”’ Willis said. “Well I am not going anywhere and neither are the Lady Aces. We are not done. Our goals will not change, our expectations will not be decreased.”
Several underclassmen received honors. Freshmen Eryn Gould and Natalie Laws were named co-rookies of the year. Brandi Metcalf won the hustle award, while Emily Emmons and Dylan Marshall shared the most improved award.
Junior Callie Dunkel won the defensive player of the year award.
Willis challenged those tasked with carrying the Lady Aces torch forward.
“What we expect from you, from our coaches and players, from seniors to incoming freshman, is to be right here again next season celebrating more championships. Basketball at the Hilltop will continue to be the place to watch champions play,” he said.
Willis thanked Susan Zimmerman and Kristine Keepes for their roles as “team moms,” along with Morgan for her continued multiple roles (everything from team bus driver to manager), Mt. Carmel High School Athletic Director Doug Spear, parents and media.
“You guys are the reason we get to do what we do,” Willis said.
Verlin Snow was named the “adult fan of the year.”
Assistant coach Steve Rigg reviewed the junior varsity season and introduced the nine freshman and two sophomores on the team.