Third quarter run pushes Edwards County past Lady Aces

Mount Carmel sophomore Maya Smith drives toward the basket in their game against Edwards County. Smith scored a team-high 12 points in the loss.

MOUNT CARMEL, Ill. -- For the second straight game a third quarter run has pushed an opponent past the Mount Carmel Lady Ace basketball team. This time it came at the hands of Edwards County High School in their 56-37 defeat of Mount Carmel on Thursday night at Mount Carmel High School.

They seemed to be pretty steady and competitive against Edwards County (8-1) in the first half, but foul trouble would plague Mount Carmel (8-3) head coach Tim Willis' team after a frequently whistled first half (17 total fouls between the two teams).

Similarly to the Princeton game, Mount Carmel battled it out with their foes in the second quarter. The two teams traded leads until Edwards County escaped with a narrow one-point lead (24-23) at the half.

For Aces fans, the third quarter wasn't a pleasant sight. Shortly into the half, junior Kassidy Drone picked up her third foul, putting Drone in some significant foul trouble which would eventually see her foul out.

Edwards County went on a 10-0 run spanning from the end of the second quarter to just over four minutes remaining in the third before it was snapped by Mount Carmel senior Mollie Dardeen, who hit a jumper.

There was hope that Dardeen's jumper along with several timeouts from coach Willis could snap the streak in the quarter, but to no avail. The Lady Lions continued to power through the quarter and increased their lead to 41-25 with 2:29 remaining in the third, which made it a 19-2 run for the Lady Lions.

"Early in the season I thought we did a great job of coming out after halftime, the first five or six games, looking back we were quite successful," coach Willis said. "The last three games we hit the skid. We tried to call a couple timeouts early in the third quarter to get it back, but we've got to learn that when teams make runs, we've got to slow it down. We haven't learned that yet and until we do we're going to struggle.

Mount Carmel trimmed it down to 41-29 at the end of the third, but the damage in the quarter was significant, with a very tough comeback attempt ahead.

"We couldn't get anything to go there in that third quarter again, that put us in a bind," coach Willis spoke of the Lady Lions' third quarter run. "We just have to learn to slow down and get quality shots. The shots we got we didn't put in the hole, but give Edwards County credit, they played awfully well."

The Lady Lions put the game on ice in the fourth by extending their lead and it appeared the Lady Aces were frustrated at times due to the lack of some callls, with some evident frustration fouls coming in the fourth quarter.

Delving into the free throw disparity, Edwards County attempted 26 free throws in contrast to Mount Carmel's eight. A pretty astounding difference, which may have been some of the concern.

Sophomore Maya Smith and senior Mollie Dardeen led the Lady Aces in scoring. The pair scored 12 and 11 respectively.

Coach Willis' squad was without a starter in the game as well -- senior Meredith Jones. Though he couldn't specify a timetable for Jones' return at this time, he did say that Jones has an ankle injury which may have her set for a lengthy absence.

Life won't get much easier in their next outing, they're slated to face Big Eight foe Jasper. Jasper enters the game at 4-4, but return two All-Conference players from last season. Coach Willis is expecting another tough challenge for his girls, which will ultimately help prep them for February. The game is set for Saturday at Mount Carmel with the first game beginning at 1 p.m.

"That's a really physical team, they have two girls that were All-Conference last year, we're going to have to do a good job with them," coach Willis spoke of Jasper. "They just fly down the floor, they'll turn the ball over a bit but they make up for it on the defensive end."

Following their game against Jasper, the Lady Aces will have a back-to-back starting on Monday. They'll host undefeated Vincennes Rivet on Monday before traveling to Boonville on Tuesday.

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