VINCENNES, Ind. -- There are no moral victories in Big Eight basketball, but Friday night in Vincennes surely felt like one for Mount Carmel.
Head coach Tyler Buss' team fell behind to a 10-point deficit against the hosting Vincennes Lincoln but rallied back, creating a nailbiter of a game in their 65-59 loss to Lincoln.
"Where we've gotten in this program, I don't want to come on the road in the Big Eight and be satisfied with being close," coach Buss spoke of his team. "That's not what this program is anymore -- but, with this young group that we've got and some of the pieces that we've got to get going, there was a lot of good there.
It was a really competitive, solid game between the two teams in a battle, with Lincoln emerging from the first half with a 34-29 lead after a 5-0 run to end the half. The third quarter would be all Alices.
The Alices charged out of the break, seizing a nine-point lead in under just three minutes of the quarter. To Mount Carmel's credit, they continued to fight despite a steady third quarter deficit. Mount Carmel senior Bret Doan hit a big three to reduce the deficit to 48-41 just before the end of the third quarter, setting the stage for an Aces rally.
Coach Buss' team answered the bell, fiercely fighting against despite the deficit. Doan continued his strong play, scoring 10 of Mount Carmel's 12 points in a four minute stretch. The Aces had some opportunities with the lead reduced to just two, but just couldn't get the ball in the basket.
Still, the late perseverence and rally from the Aces was a welcome sight and a step in the right direction for a group who's faced some adversity early in the season.
"Our fourth quarter has been our best quarter. All the fancy stats we have now, you can see the breakdown of each quarter and our fourth quarter has been our money maker. That's a good sign to have for a team that still has big time aspirations later in the season, that's when you have to play your best basketball.
Lincoln did a good job of keeping Mount Carmel senior Austin Rager at bay, who scored just six points in the fourth quarter. Many have become accustomed to Rager's fourth quarter explosions, but it seemed as if Lincoln was going to force someone else to beat them. Doan did an exceptional job of heating up and filling the void for the Aces, scoring 24 points in the loss.
"They did a good job inside especially on Austin," coach Buss said. "It was similiar to the first half of the Robinson game where we were posting at the block and ending at the eight to 10 feet. They did a good job of fouling without fouling, playing lower than we did."
Aces sophomore Kaleb Applebey played in just his second game of the year in this game and scored in double digits for the second consecutive game. Coach Buss suspected that Applebey was gassed at times during the game due to his five-game absence with an ankle injury.
"Conditioning wise we probably played Kaleb a little too many minutes, he was gassed out there, we got to get him back with his legs under him," coach Buss said. "He had a guy score on him a couple times there where I think if he's Kaleb I don't think they get those buckets. That's part of being out for two weeks and he'll just continue to get better."
The Aces will return home for a game against Flora on Tuesday, Dec. 11 starting at 5:30 p.m. The game will be Mount Carmel's last home game in 2018.
"It'll be good to come back home again, it'll be the last time for a while. We've got a bunch of them after the break," coach Buss said. "Come out to the Hilltop, we need a good crowd. We keep telling our kids that we want to build a good homecourt advantage because we're hoping to be cutting some nets down in our gym in a couple months. Come out and support these guys, they're working hard and better days are ahead for this group."