FAIRFIELD, Ill. – The Mount Carmel girls’ basketball team opened post-season play Monday night with one of its best performances of the year.

“It was awful nice to actually put four quarters together,” said Lady Aces coach Tim Willis after his team had posted an impressive 47-22 victory over Edwards County in the quarterfinals of the IHSA Class 2A regional tournament in Fairfield.

Willis pointed to only a brief stretch of sub-par play -- “at most a two-minute stretch in the third quarter. Other than that, I thought we played very well,” he said.


BENTON, Ill. – Mount Carmel was almost to the breaking point on Saturday against Nashville at the Rich Herrin Shootout.

Nashville (15-11) led, 35-29, with five-plus minutes remaining. The Hornets had controlled the pace of the game to that point, willing to wait however long it took to capitalize on even the smallest of Mount Carmel mistakes on defense.

Then, like a shot in the dark, the Golden Aces rebounded, spurting ahead on a seven-point run that completely changed the tenor of the game. Nashville never fully recovered, as Mount Carmel (22-3) ran off to a 52-44 win, it’s 10th straight.


OLNEY, Ill. – It has been a busy week for the Mount Carmel boys basketball team. The Golden Aces recorded back-to-back wins on Tuesday and Wednesday, and both were milestone wins for coach Tyler Buss.

Tuesday, the Aces throttled ancient-rival Lawrenceville, 69-43, for Buss’ 100th win in six years at the Hilltop. One night later, No. 101 – a 43-32 non-conference win at Olney – tied Buss for second place on the school’s all-time win list. He is now even with Rick Johnston, who was 101-91 in seven years from 1994-2001. Cliff Garrett, who guided the Aces to the state championship in 1927, is the all-time leader with 123 wins (He was 123-23 in five years between 1924-29.).


OLNEY, Ill. – Even after their fourth-highest offensive output of the season, Mount Carmel girls basketball coach Tim Willis wondered how many more points his Lady Aces could have scored against Olney on Monday night.

“I was probably more frustrated with our offense than our defense,” said Willis. “We’ve talked about it all year. We have to execute late, and we need to slow down. We’ve got to get the look that we need. A couple of times we were throwing the ball all over the place. Not necessarily a turnover, but not the shot we wanted.”

As good as the Lady Aces were on offense, Olney was that much better. The Lady Tigers, in fact, were nothing short of amazing from the arc line, drilling 12 3-point field goals in a 67-50 non-conference win at Ron Herrin Gym.


INA, ILL. – With leading scorer and playmaker Maya Smith at the end of the bench on crutches, the Mount Carmel Middle School Junior Lady Aces had to adjust and learn to play without her.

Unfortunately, that bit of on-the-job training had to come in the third-place game of the SIJHSAA Class L state tournament at Rend Lake College.

Learn, the Lady Aces did well. Adjust they did, too. But by the time they got into a newfound rhythm, Centralia had built a commanding lead. The Tigerettes bolted to an 18-3 lead at the end of the first period, and never looked back in a 59-41 triumph.