One More Step
Final Four berths up for grabs Tuesday night at SIU Arena
1A - Effingham St. Anthony vs. Woodlawn
2A - Mount Carmel vs. Alton Marquette

CARBONDALE – Once again two intriguing match ups finalize the 1A and 2A Supersectionals to be held Tuesday night at Carbondale.

Each year the four teams that are playing the best basketball in the southern part of the state end up on the floor of SIU Arena.

The Mount Carmel Golden Aces are back in the same spot they were at 10-seasons ago as they are a win away from a trip to Peoria.

Coach Tyler Buss and his team bested Teutopolis and Robinson to win the West Frankfort 2A Sectional next week and are now 27-4 heading into a rematch with Alton Marquette.

The Aces edged the Explorers 34-32 in overtime back on January 28 at the Pinckneyville Showcase.

Mount Carmel has leaned heavily on their version of “twin towers” this season, and it has produced an “Elite Eight” appearance for the first time since 1935 when the state was just one class basketball.

Mount Carmel won the Lawrence County Capital Classic to open the season, beating Teutopolis, Marshall, Olney Richland and Lawrenceville.

Three of their four losses were to Indiana basketball programs Washington, Evansville Central and Castle.

Eldorado also won a close game with the Aces, 40-38 on January 7.

Since that loss, they are 15-1 with wins over Marquette and Nashville in shootouts along with victories over Flora and Edwards County to win the Flora Regional title.

Six-foot-eight senior Justin Carpenter and 6-foot-8 junior Jackson Marcotte have been a force on both ends of the floor this season for the Aces.

Marcotte has been a beast on both ends of the floor, scoring 18.2 points and grabbing 9.2 rebounds a game for the Aces this season.

Carpenter, a D-I signee with Southeast Missouri State University, is at 16.3 points and 8.5 rebounds.

They have been an imposing front court for a team that also won the Carmi-White County Invitational Tournament.

Marcotte netted 16-points and junior guard Brayden Stipp added 14-points in a 64-59 win over Robinson to cop the crown at the West Frankfort 2A Sectional.

Sophomore Austin Rager averages 9.5 points a game for Mount Carmel.

The Alton Marquette Explorers also have an impressive resume and Coach Steve Medford would like nothing better than to deliver a supersectional win for the school that has never won one in boy's basketball.

The sectional title was the program's first last Friday, topping Nashville to win the 2A Nashville Sectional, 55-48, behind 20-points from junior guard Reagan Snider and 15-points from Sammy Green.

Six-foot shooting guard Isaiah Ervin added 11-points as the Explorers rallied from 11-points down in the first half to win the sectional.

Six-foot-seven senior Jake Hall added seven-points in the Nashville victory for the 30-3 club that has three tournament championships this season at Metro-East Lutheran, Columbia-Freeburg and Sparta.

They also beat Waterloo Gibault three times this season, including a 54-48 regional title game win at Gibault on February 24.

The losses were to Breese Central, Bethalto Civic Memorial and the shootout loss to Mount Carmel.

Since the loss to the Aces, Alton Marquette has won nine-straight.

In 1A the Woodlawn Cardinals make their sixth supersectional appearance in the last ten seasons of four-class basketball.

Coach Brian Gamber saw his club go through the trials and tribulations of a young team trying to find the right combinations.

This championship program got everything going beginning with a regional championship run where they ousted higher seeded teams Waltonville and Webber Township to grab their eighth regional title since 2008.

They took the measure of both Mounds Meridian and Gallatin County to take home sectional title number six in the some time frame, topping the Hawks, 50-40 on Friday night.

This program continues to possess the moxie that comes from winning a lot of big games in the recent history.

No team in 1A has more postseason hardware than Woodlawn has.

They sit at 18-14 on the season and they have been led by a senior starter and holdover from the 2015-16 team that finished fourth in 1A last March.

Five-foot-nine senior guard Blake Wollerman is the team leader from his guard possession.

Key players up front are junior Trey Isaac and senior Jordan Hoppa.

Both have been factors for the Cardinals, especially on the defensive end of the floor.

The pair were part of a 24-13 rebounding edge against sectional title game victim Gallatin County.
Woodlawn held the Hawks at bay in the fourth quarter by gathering in 12-defensive rebounds.

The biggest turn around from earlier in the season for Coach Brian Gamber and his club's fortunes has been the improvement of the young kids.

Most notably sophomore Jackson Bennett and freshman Blake McKay.

Bennett and McKay have helped the Cardinals to a six-game winning streak in reaching the program's sixth supersectional appearance.

The Effingham St. Anthony Bulldogs, the Cardinals opposition on Tuesday night, bring in a sparkling resume which includes four victories in the postseason by a combined 79-points.

The 27-5 Bulldogs are unbeaten against 1A competition and hold wins over 3A Breese Central, 2A teams Robinson, Flora and St. Thomas-More.

The five losses have come on the road against 2A Teutopolis, 3A Breese Mater Dei and 3A Mattoon while home losses to 3A Effingham at their own tournament and the regular season finale against 2A Casey-Westfield.

Coach Cody Rincker's club ran the table in winning the regular season and league tournament in the National Trail Conference while also winning the Vandalia Holiday Tournament, topping 2A Pana twice in the event.

They also finished third in their own Thanksgiving Tournament.

The Bulldogs and Cardinals have four common opponents (Odin, Grayville, Altamont and Flora) and St. Anthony is 6-0 against them beating Altamont three times, including a nine-point win in the sectional semifinal.

Part of the 14-losses on the season for Woodlawn, were games against Altamont and Flora.

Drew Gibson, a 6-foot-3 senior forward, leads the squad with 20.9 points a contest.

He hit for 28-points in their 66-57 sectional title game triumph over Patoka last Friday night at Nokomis.

The Bulldogs were “Top Dawgs” from the foul line, nailing 22-of-24 overall and 14-of-15 down the stretch.

Alex Deters, Jack Nuxoll and Adam Levitt are all averaging over eight-points a game for St. Anthony.