MOUNT CARMEL, Ill. -- For the third straight game Mount Carmel fell behind due to an explosive run, similarly to the previous two, it was enough to bury the Lady Aces in a hole.
Jasper went on an explosive 21-2 run extending from just prior to halftime into the third quarter, putting them well ahead of Mount Carmel en route to the 63-38 final in favor of the Wildcats.
Though the score may not be indicative of it, this was a really interesting game in the first quarter and half of the second quarter. The Lady Aces seemed to be in a pretty solid rhythm, were playing sound defense in the first quarter and were fighting.
The opposing Wildcats used a 13-2 run in the first quarter to put them ahead 16-9 at the end of the quarter, but the run wouldn't be enough to put away Mount Carmel -- at least yet.
Junior Kassidy Drone scored four straight points and assisted Mount Carmel in narrowing the deficit to 16-14, but more trouble would ensue for the Aces. Mount Carmel sophomore Maya Smith, Drone and sophomore Rylie Webb all picked up their second foul within a three minute window, sparking the explosive Jasper run.
"They're a better team than we are right now," Mount Carmel head coach Tim Willis said. "I thought there were a lot of things that we did well, against that 1-3-1, especially early we gave them some problems early. They did a good job of cutting and then we didn't do a good job of hitting them when they come through the lane.
Mount Carmel just had no answers during the run and struggled attacking Jasper's zone for the stretch. Seemingly with the snap of a finger the lead was up to 35-19 at halftime.
The Wildcats poured it on in the third and their defensive pressure continued to bother Mount Carmel. Jasper would push the lead to 52-24 and the rout was all but complete.
One thing appears to be majorly lacking for this group, the experience to slow it down and not get caught in forcing it in opponent runs. The sky's not falling from it -- it can and will improve -- but at times they feed in to the opponent's runs, something that will have to be limited in the future. Coach Willis is optimistic that his team will improve and learn from these experiences though.
"It's still the same thing, we're fighting it and we've been fighting it for a while," coach Willis said. That's just to have the experience to slow down, be strong with the ball, make sure you don't have a turnover. When you have a turnover you can't make another one, we can't just make one, we make two, three, four in a row. That's where games can get away from you in a hurry. We'll learn from that though, these kids work hard. We're not going to say the world's falling apart, it's not.
A bright spot for Mount Carmel in an otherwise sorrowful night -- sophomore Madi Smith. Smith stepped into the starting five following senior Meredith Jones' ankle injury and performed well tonight. She was active and scored seven points in the defeat, the second highest point total on the night for Mount Carmel, trailing just senior Mollie Dardeen's nine points.
Life can be tough in the Big Eight and it appears Mount Carmel's going through one of those stretches. With a three-game losing streak in hand, they have one day of rest before hosting undefeated Big Eight foe Vincennes Rivet on Monday starting at 5:30 p.m. They immediately travel to Boonville the next day -- capping a very challenging eight day, five game stretch for Mount Carmel.
"It's kind of hard to prepare, especially when you have a couple of them that are conference games. It's difficult to rest some of the kids, especially when you have them so tight and you have conference games in there. It is what it is, if you win them no one cares. That's basketball and we'll be better because of it."
MC -- 9 10 8 11 -- 38
Jasper -- 16 19 17 11 -- 63