Aces force Lions into 'cage'
MC steals, Ed Co. unforced errors, add up in 60-43 'Golden' triumph

MOUNT CARMEL - At home on Monday night at the Mount Carmel Class A Regional, the host Aces were Kings.

At least for one day.

Coach Ronnie Wilcox's club got an outstanding defensive effort, forcing Edwards County into 23 turnovers in a 60-43 'clubbing' of the Lions to open their IHSA postseason.

Nate Yarbor led the Aces with 14-points while teammates Justin Lewis and Grant Stoltz both chipped in 10 as Mount Carmel improved to 9-17 on the season.

Despite not being able to put away Edwards County until the fourth quarter, MC was never really in trouble despite experiencing a troubling shooting performance.

Connecting on just 1-of-11 3-pointers on the night, and just 6-of-12 first half free throws, MC found enough openings in the short range to keep the Lions caged for most of the evening.

But the real story of the night was Edwards County's inability to take care of the ball.

In spite of 10 first quarter turnovers, the Lions still managed to stay right with Mount Carmel for most of the first quarter.

"Anytime you get another day you will take it," said Mount Carmel coach Ronnie Wilcox, talking about winning a game in the regional on opening night. "It wasn't pretty and we didn't shoot it very well tonight, but we executed our offense well and only had six turnovers, which I was pleased about. Defensively it was a great job by the kids, we forced some turnovers and overall effort-wise I was pleased."

A pair of early baskets by Edwards County's Michael Snidle evened the game late in the opening stanza.

A baseline move in close to the basket and a 3-pointer from the top of the arc tied the game at 8-8 with just 1:45 to play.

However a couple of made free throws by Yarbor gave the Aces back the lead.

A late quarter steal by Grant Stoltz seemed to turn the tide of the contest.

The 6-foot-3 Stoltz stepped in front of a Lions' errant pass and sprinted to the opposite end of the court for a lay in while being fouled by Edwards County's Donovan Lewis with :01.5. His made free throw ended the sloppily played opening period at 13-8 Mount Carmel.

The Aces pilfered four Lions' passes in the quarter, to overshadow some early coldness from the field as Coach W's team hit just 4-of-18 first quarter attempts.

Nevertheless, Mount Carmel extended its advantage significantly in the second quarter, in part to Justin Lewis' six points. His two early scores on inbound plays while in the paint extended the MC lead to 19-10 with 5:24 left.

A Devin Schilb score for Ed Co. stopped the Aces early run.
However things got worse for Coach Jason Stark's club the rest of the half.

An 8-3 run to finish off the second quarter extended the Mount Carmel lead.

Another bucket from Lewis and a rebound score from Stoltz helped fuel the run to get some separation for the Aces.

A Caleb Knepper shot near the basket on a set up from guard Aaron Hanley left Mount Carmel up 29-15 at the break.

"We thought at halftime that if we came out strong in the third quarter we could put them away but we missed too many bunnies and let them get back into the game," added Coach Wilcox. "But our defense responded and we rebounded and shut the door on them."

Edwards County was given a gift in the third quarter and the Lions took advantage by scoring 12 points in a run the got them back within seven points with 3:38 remaining.

As he has all season long, Edwards County's Snidle was the main factor in the Lions' roaring start to the second half.

His first bucket of the second half on a spin move from the left block opened the run.

Then he helped his teammates out by being a bit of a decoy. Concentrating on Snidle for a lot of the third quarter, Mount Carmel allowed Lewis to get on a brief personal run.

He scored twice in the scoring spurt on a 3-pointer from the left corner and a drive to the basket.

Combined with another 3-pointer, this time from Brian Schuh, Edwards County was suddenly in range of the Golden ones at 34-27.

However that was the best run of the night for the Lions and the only real defensive laps of the game for Coach Wilcox's club.

Mount Carmel woke up from its brief slumber with a quarter ending 10-2 burst.

Two more inside looks at the basket by Lewis and Yarbor and a drive to the hoop from Kyle Buss made it 40-27 MC with 1:42 left.

Schilb briefly gave the Lions some hope by answering the run with a score.

But a pair of free throws by Stoltz extended the Aces advantage to 42-29 heading into the final frame.

Despite misfiring on 12 third quarter shots, Mount Carmel was in command.

Nate Yarbor put the game on ice in the early part of the final quarter for MC.

Three straight rebound baskets, one on one of his own misses, gave the Aces a 50-35 lead with 3:52 to go.

On the third score, Yarbor was sent to the line by Edwards County's McDaniel.

He missed the free throw opportunity, but teammate Stoltz grabbed the rebound and his put back increased the lead 17 points.

A Hanley drive to the basket settled the outcome and a steal and lay in from Jensen Dardeen sealed the deal as Mount Carmel advanced to Wednesday nights' regional semifinal against Webber Township, the tourney favorite.

Edwards County was topped by Snidle's 18-points while Schuh added 10.

The Lions, as has been the case most of the season, shot just 15-of-44 for the night as their season closed at 4-24.

They did manage to hang with Mount Carmel on the boards, getting edged in that category 30-29.

However 23 Edwards County turnovers, many on unforced errors, doomed the Lions brief regional stay.

"Eventually those things (turnovers) catch up with you, no matter how well you do other things out there," said Coach Stark. "We have some good young kids but our guard play just wasn't there this season. Hopefully they can help us in the future. Tonight when we had a shot to get it under seven points in the third quarter, we came down and tried to make that seven point shot, which doesn't exist. Defensively I thought we matched up with them at times tonight, but they pulled away in the second half and we couldn't stay with them for the whole game."

The Aces were far from trump cards on this night from the field, hitting just 23-of-58 shots.

Nonetheless they took advantage of enough Lion problems to get to a rematch with Webber Township, a team that handed them a 70-39 loss back in January at the Carmi-White County Invitational Tournament.

"The guys are looking forward to the rematch. We know that they are a great team," said Wilcox. "I know people have bashed them for playing a weak schedule but they proved to us that they are for real."

Edwards County
Mount Carmel

Edwards County (43) - Roosevelt 1 0 0-0 2, Wiseman 0 0 0-0 0, Schuh 1 2 2-2 10, Longbons 0 0 0-0 0, Lewis 1 1 0-0 5, McDaniel 1 0 0-0 5, Schilb 2 0 2-4 6, Snidle 3 4 0-0 18.
2FG-9, 3FG-7, FT-4-6, PF-16.
Mount Carmel (60) - Buss 1 0 3-5 5, Dardeen 1 0 0-0 2, McFarland 0 0 0-0 0, Spear 0 0 0-0 0, Alka 3 0 1-2 7, Hanley 1 0 1-2 3, Yarbor 6 0 2-3 14, Lewis 5 0 0-1 10, Knepper 2 1 0-0 7, Haase 1 0 0-0 2, Stoltz 3 0 4-5 10.
2FG-23, 3FG-1, FT-11-18, PF-14.
Fouled Out - None.
Technical Fouls - None.

In the second game on Monday night, Carmi-White County got 32-points from Keegan Dennis to end Grayville's season with a 86-53 win.

The Bulldogs jumped out to a 25-11 first quarter lead in route to the win.

Mark Healy came off of the CWC bench to score 21 points while Tyler Choate pitched home 17.

Grayville got 22-points from Tommy Conner, including six 3-pointers in the loss.

Carmi-White County will play Fairfield Wednesday night in the regional's second semifinal game.

Carmi-White County

Grayville (53) - Scarlett 0 0 3-4 3, Conner 2 6 0-0 22, Linnemann 0 0 0-0 0, O'Neal 2 0 0-0 2, Rudisil 1 1 0-0 5, Short 0 0 0-0 0, Bailey 0 0 0-0 0, Brown 1 0 3-6 5, Lynn 3 2 0-0 12, DiMaggio 1 0 0-0 2.
2FG-10, 3FG-9, FT-6-10, PF-12.
Carmi-White County (86) - Chase Kittinger 1 0 0-0 2, Choate 5 1 4-5 17, Higginson 1 0 0-0 2, Dennis 11 3 1-2 32, Kress 1 0 0-0 2, Healy 10 0 1-2 21, Jones 0 1 0-0 3, Clay Kittinger 0 0 0-0 0, Pyle 1 0 0-0 2, E. Rice 1 0 0-0 2, Steed 0 1 0-0 3, McVey 0 0 0-0 0.
2FG-31, 3FG-6, FT-6-9, PF-9.

Technical Fouls - None.
Fouled Out - None.