Golden Aces outlast T-Town
Jackson Marcotte's double-double, Carpenter late score, doom 'Shoes

WEST FRANKFORT - Mt. Carmel's 6-foot-8 junior forward Jackson Marcotte powered his way to a double-double in points and rebounds against Teutopolis on Wednesday night at the 2A West Frankfort Sectional.

He netted 28-points and snared 15-rebounds in leading the Aces to a 66-64 win.

However it was his final pass of the game, to 6-foot-8 senior forward Justin Carpenter, for a basket with :12 remaining that provided the difference as the Golden Aces improved to 26-4 on the season and moved into the sectional championship game on Friday night.

With the game tied in a final moments, Marcotte drove into the lane looking for a score.

With the Teutopolis defense closing in on him, Marcotte found Carpenter in the lane.

Carpenter's leaning shot found the mark to give the Aces a two-point lead.

The Wooden Shoes had a final possession, and after a pair of timeouts to get the ball up the floor with :08.5 remaining, they got the ball to senior all-state candidate Mitch Hardiek.

The 6-foot-4 forward drove down the left side of the lane and his pull up jumper misfired.

Lee Hardiek snagged the rebound but his attempt also missed the mark as time expired on the game and the Wooden Shoes' season.

“We told the kids, this is the type of game this is going to be. Back and forth. We told them the team that makes the most plays in the fourth quarter will win,” said Coach Buss. “Jackson Marcotte is showing people each night how special he can be along with Justin (Carpenter). Again I am just proud of our guys.”

The play of junior guard Brayden Stipp shouldn't be overlooked.

Stipp “stepped” up his game, notching 19-points for the Aces that included a pair of big 3-pointers and 5-of-6 free throws.

“Brayden Stipp was probably the most underrated player on the floor tonight,” said Coach Buss. “He has went from more of a role player to a playmaker for us. I was kind of worried tonight about a depth issue because they (Teutopolis) play a few more guys than we do. I was a bit worried about wearing down but this team is on a mission. They made the big plays when they needed to.”

Carpenter was held to just nine-points on the night by the Wooden Shoes' defensive effort but his teammates, most notably Marcotte, picked up any slack.

The Wooden Shoes saw their season come to a close at 28-4 despite Mitch Hardiek pouring in 17-points and junior guard Brant Bueker adding 13.

Brock Bueker and Lucas Deters ended up with seven-points each in the loss.

With both defenses holding the upper hand in this contest, neither of the offenses excelled.

In fact at times the contest wasn't pretty to witness.

Both clubs finished with a combined 35-turnovers with the Aces committing 20 of them.

Coach Buss saw his Mt. Carmel team squander its largest lead of the game in the final minutes as they coughed up three consecutive turnovers, all of which turned into Teutopolis points.

Leading 64-58 with 2:08 remaining, the Aces appeared safely headed into the sectional championship round.

A basket by Marcotte on a pass from Stipp, and four consecutive free throws by Carpenter gave the Aces its largest advantage.

At this point the Wooden Shoes cranked up the pressure.

Mitch Hardiek, senior forward Lane Belleville, Brant Bueker and Brett Mette all scored in a run that forged the final tie.

This run was spawned by three consecutive turnovers forced by the Teutopolis pressure.

When Mette scored on a lay in on a pass from Brock Bueker, the Shoes had tied the score with :48 left which forced a Mt. Carmel timeout.

Working the ball to Marcotte, his drive in the lane was nearly a turnover but the junior three-year varsity vet got the ball to his teammate.

Carpenters shot found the mark for the win.

The Wooden Shoes made their top run of the night at the end of the second quarter, outscoring the Aces, 15-3 for a 36-30 advantage.

Mitch Hardiek, Brant Bueker and Deters all hit 3-point bombs as the Shoes took a 38-34 halftime lead.

“I thought we played really well in the second quarter as we did the things that we talked about before the game,” said Coach Hanson. “Unfortunately we didn't come out in the third quarter doing the same things.”

Teutopolis wasn't very good from the floor, hitting just 22-of-66 shots overall, and just 7-of-22 from the arc.

They main reason they stayed in contention down to the wire was because they crashed the offensive glass, corralling 23-offensive rebounds.

Teutopolis held a 36-27 overall edge on the glass.

The Aces (26-4) shot the ball much better than Teutopolis (22-of-40 overall) but the turnovers and the poor rebounding (besides Marcotte) nearly sent Coach Buss' team home early from the postseason.

Buss saw his club pick up a big postseason win over a sports program that has been hard to get past in the most recent past.

Not only did Teutopolis top the Aces last season in the boy's sectional semifinal at Flora, the girl's basketball program at Mt. Carmel has also struggled beating the Lady Shoes.

Illinois' all-time leading scorer Tyra Buss, Tyler's younger sister, never beat Teutopolis (0-4) in her four sectional contests.

Not that these were demons that needed exercised, but it is a great win for a program that is gotten much better in the past few years.

“It took me 30-years but I finally did something in the postseason that Tyra couldn't do,” said a laughing Coach Buss. “But again, we have so much respect for them (Teutopolis) and Coach Hanson. They are what we want to be. We have had some recent success in the last five years but this was a great win.”

Known more as a football program, the hardwood Aces are changing the mindset.

In a game that featured seven ties and 12 lead changes, the Aces were the ones who survived to play Robinson on Friday night.

The Maroons topped Eldorado to win the first West Frankfort semifinal, 49-44, on Tuesday night.

Mt. Carmel defeated Robinson on the road back on December 6, 56-42.

“I will take that shot at the end with him (Hardiek) taking it in the lane anytime,” said Coach Hanson. “He got a good look at the basket. It just didn't fall.”

Mt. Carmel
Mt. Carmel (66) – Stipp 4 2 5-6 19, Doan 1 0 0-0 2, Golden 2 0 2-5 6, Brown 0 0 0-0 0, Carpenter 1 1 4-4 9, Rager 0 0 0-0 0, Marcotte 10 0 8-12 28.
2FG-19, 3FG-3, FT-19-27, PF-16.

Teutopolis (64) – Brant Bueker 3 2 1-2 13, Brock Bueker 2 0 3-3 7, Mette 1 0 0-0 2, Kremer 1 0 1-2 3, L. Hardiek 0 0 0-0 0, M. Hardiek 2 3 4-4 17, Deters 2 1 0-1 7, Belleville 4 1 4-5 15.
2FG-15, 3FG-7, FT-13-17, PF-18.
Fouled Out - Deters - Teutopolis.
Technical Fouls - None.