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.
Senior Kylie Terrel prolonged her Hilltop career with 17 points, including 11 in the third period. Baylie Ray added 12 for the winners.
Defense, too, was a highlight for the Lady Aces. Especially the way they dealt with Edwards County inside threat Caelyn Nelson. Haley Maguire was tasked with holding her under 10 points. She did better than that, holding Nelson scoreless on the night.
The win assured No. 6 seed Mount Carmel (15-14), which faces fourth-seeded Fairfield at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday night, of a non-losing season. In the first game on Monday, No. 8 seed Carmi pulled a mild upset by eliminating seventh-seed Hamilton County, 41-33.
Carmi faces the No. 2 overall seed in the sub-sectional, Newton, in the first semifinal game, at 6 p.m. on Wednesday. The championship game, with a berth in the Newton sectional, is Thursday.
Willis said Terrell “does a good job of when there is a post player up against her, of sliding off her body and going and scoring.”
The Lady Aces went into clock-management mode late by design, according to Willis.
“We’re not real good at that,” he said. “At some point, we’re going to have to do that. So, this was a good opportunity.”
Edwards County was led by the scoring tandem of Faith Fields and Malia Schmittler, who both finished eight points.
Mount Carmel won an earlier matchup with Fairfield, 47-37, on Jan. 20 at the Lady Eagle Mid-Winter Tournament at Eldorado. Willis said past results don’t carry much weight in the post season.
“Those things don’t matter a whole lot now,” Willis said. “We’ll have to shoot like we did tonight. We have to stay out of foul trouble. We also have to do a good job defensively, then we’ll see where we’re at. We gave ourselves the opportunity to play (again), and that’s what you want to do.”
Mollie Dardeen wound up with eight points for Mount Carmel. McKenna Zimmerman added five points, including the first of three Lady Aces 3-point field goals in the game. Maguire got one, too, to account for her total of three (Ray hit the other), as Kassidy Drone rounded out the scoring with two points.