BENTON — Marion’s Jackson Connor exploded for 13 of game-high 29 points to help guide his Wildcats past Mount Carmel in this past weekend’s Benton Basketball Classic.
Against a team like Marion, Mount Carmel Coach Tyler Buss knew his team would be in for an uphill battle.
They began the contest within striking distance of the Wildcats, trailing just 17-13 after one quarter of action.
But with Connor’s outburst, the Wildcats started to gain separation from the Aces (18-9).
Impressively Marion held Mount Carmel’s junior tandem of Kaleb Applebey and Beau Stipp to just 12 first-half points, a rather low total for a tandem averaging over 35 combined points per game on the season.
Applebey would come alive in the third by scoring 10 points, creeping the Aces slowly back into the contest and trimming the lead down to just 47-37 entering the fourth.
But in desperation time the Wildcats converted, outscoring the Aces 19-12 in the final frame to put away Mount Carmel.
Applebey ended with 18 points for Mount Carmel, followed by Stipp with 12.
Despite the loss, Buss’ Aces will have a prime opportunity to bounce back against Mount Vernon (Ind.), who sit at a lowly 1-20 mark on the year.
The Aces bested the Wildcats in their first meeting 59-42 back on Jan. 24 in the Carmi-White County Invitational and will be seeking similar success to bounce back as the season wanes.