GIRLS BASKETBALL: Lady Aces to host basketball regional

MOUNT CARMEL - The Illinois High School Association recently released most of the site hosts for the upcoming basketball season.

Mount Carmel is one of four regional hosts schools set to feed into the Effingham (St. Anthony) Sectional. The Lady Aces will host a regional for the first time since the 2013-14 season. That year the Aces defeated Marshall, 72-40, in the regional title game.

“Our goal every year is to win a regional,” said Mount Carmel head coach Tim Willis before the start of the season. “We’ve not been able to win a sectional yet on the girls' side so far. That’s always our goal but before that, you have to get to a sectional before you win one. Our first goal is to always win a regional.”

Mount Carmel went on to beat Sullivan, 78-43, The win set up a fourth straight sectional meeting with Teutopolis with the outcome being the same as the previous four when the Aces lost to the Wooden Shoes, 49-31. It was also the last year the Lady Aces won a regional championship.

The Lady Aces are 5-2 on the season and riding a two-game winning streak. Mount Carmel is coming off an overtime victory Thursday at Murphysboro.

Kylie Applebey is leading the Aces with 17.2 points per game average. Baylie Ray is also scoring in double figures per game at 13.2.

“We certainly think we’re at the caliber of getting back to the sectional,” said Willis. “

Three other regional host sites will also feed into the St. Anthony Sectional. Regional winners from Arthur (A-Lovington-Atwood-Hammond), Casey-Westfield, and Vandalia will join the winner from Mount Carmel in Effingham.

“This team’s got talent,” said Willis. “A lot of times what people don’t realize is what other teams in the area have in a particular year. How a team is playing. What are the seeds? How the draw comes out. A lot of that plays into it and where the regional is being played.”

The winner from St. Anthony will pair up against the winner from the Hamilton County Sectional at the Salem Super-Sectional. Teams feeding into the Hamilton County Sectional include DuQuoin, Harrisburg, Nashville, and a school to be named at a later time.

“We’ll see how everything works out,” said Willis. “This group can beat you in a lot of different ways. We’ll see how everything works out.

“The one thing is we always try to bring our [working] hat every time out. We’re going to play defense. We bring defense with us every night. That always carries no matter where you are at.”

The sectional assignments will be announced before the seed are determined on Thursday, Jan. 25. The regional pairs will be released the next day after 4 p.m.

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