Carrier Mills, NCOE advance to consolation final
Wildcats outlast Pope County; Cardinals romp past Galatia

HARRISBURG – For a team searching for the second win of the season, the Carrier Mills Wildcats closed out the win like a team that had a lot more success this winter.

Getting the ball to 6-foot sophomore forward Darion Barners late in the contest was the right decision and they made the shots that got the Wildcats the win.

Barners scored 30-points to lead all scorers and he was “money in the bank” from the foul line as his late free throws allowed the Wildcats to hold off a Pope County rally in a 63-58 victory in the consolation bracket semifinals of the Greater Egyptian Conference Tournament on Thursday night.

Barners nailed eight consecutive free throws in the final :54 of the game and Coach Keil Peebles' club need every one of them as the Pirates nailed six 3-pointers in the final 2:30 of the contest.

The sophomore was 18-of-21 from the stripe on the night as Carrier Mills improved to 2-16 overall with the victory, a win that puts them in the consolation championship game on Saturday night against Norris City-Omaha-Enfield, who was a 56-38 winner over Galatia in the opening game on Thursday night at SIC.

Rostin Lewis, a 5-foot-11 sophomore, added to the Carrier Mills win with 16-points.

Lewis was also accurate from the charity stripe as he nailed 5-of-6.

The Wildcats put away Pope County by connecting on a team total of 20-of-25 foul shots in the final quarter.

“I'm so proud of my kids. We played a whole game tonight. I think it was probably the first complete game that we have played. For the biggest part of the game we got done what we wanted to get done,” said Coach Peebles. “We forced them to take some tough shots at the end but they made them. I think free throws were definitely the key tonight. We hit them when they were forced to foul. And we got the ball to the guy (Barners) that we needed to.”

Coach Jim Simmons' Pirates fell to 10-9 overall after the tough loss in a game in which they never gave up but fell just short of the mark at the end.

The Pirates managed just one brief lead in the second quarter but the key element in the defeat was the foul difficulty they experienced.

Pope County was whistled for 26 personal fouls and a technical foul, all of which led to the Wildcats spending most of their night toeing the foul line.

Carrier Mills took advantage of the issue hitting 24-of-35 overall, compared to just 8-of-18 for the Pirates.

This factor overshadowed the nine 3-pointers that Coach Simmons' squad connected on, including the six late game long range shots with many from way beyond the arc.

In a contest pretty much dominated by youngsters, the Pirates were led in scoring by 5-foot-8 sophomore guard Jackson Eddington with 15-points while junior Sabastion Fasolo added eight.

Sophomore Conner Hobbs also added eight-points to the totals.

The Pirates shot the ball pretty well from the floor (22-of-42) and only committed seven-turnovers in the game.

They dropped in 9-of-14 3-pointers in the game, 6-of-9 in the final frame.

But Carrier Mills was better, hitting 17-of-28 field goal attempts (5-of-10 from the arc) when they weren't being fouled.

Senior guard Billy Lewis added 10-points for Carrier Mills in the win, and he and Rostin got things going early for the Wildcats as they each hit a 3-pointer in the first quarter as the Wildcats led 16-9 at the end of the first.

Pope got its only lead of the game in the second quarter off of a 10-2 run highlighted by a pair of 3-point shots from Davis and Eddington, a rebound bucket by senior Cale Blankenship and a pair of free throws by freshman Logan Wilson for a 21-20 lead with 1:03 left.

Barners hit 1-of-2 from the line to close the half with the two teams even at 21.

Rostin Lewis hit two more 3-pointers in the third quarter as Carrier Mills took back the lead for good.

The Pirates got inside points from Blankenship and a steal and fast break lay in from Eddington to close the gap to 26-25.

However Lewis added his second trey and Barners nailed two free throws for a 33-28 lead at the end of the third.

The fourth quarter turned out to a wild one as each team scored 30-points.

Carrier Mills got its lead to its largest margin with Barners scoring on a lay in off of their spread offense and then a long fast break off of an inbounds pass.

Rostin Lewis add two free throws and Carrier Mills looked like they would cruise home with the win leading 46-33.

But then the wildness began with Pope launching 3-pointers and Carrier Mills converting from the foul line.

Fassolo hit two of the 3-point bombs as did junior reserve guard Matt Sherrod.

Sophomore Conner Hobbs also hit for two trifectas in the final minutes.

“You're not going to beat a team who can make free throws down the stretch like they did. We played with a lot of intensity in the last two and a half minutes but you can put yourself in that situation where you have to play in desperation,” said Coach Simmons. “They (Carrier Mills) just out played us tonight. They out coached us and their kids played harder. We will got back to the drawing board and come back tomorrow night. I have some big kids so when they spread the floor we had to go with a different lineup. We just have to be able to handle that offense.”

All of those shots became moot as Barners calmly took care of business at the foul line.

Sent to the line on four consecutive trips down the floor as the Wildcats were in their spread offense, Barners took advantage of the situation.

He was 8-of-8 in that run, putting the game away for Coach Pebbles' team that needed a good performance.

“Tonight was the first game that we did what we wanted to,” said Coach Peebles. “We played to our strengths tonight and I am very proud of our kids.”

Pope County will play Galatia at 5 pm on Friday in the seventh place game.

Pope County
Carrier Mills
Pope County (58) – Davis 2 1 0-2 7, Eddington 5 1 2-5 15, Fasolo 1 2 0-0 8, Walker 0 0 1-2 1, Blankenship 3 0 0-0 6, Rison 1 0 0-0 2, Floyd 0 0 3-4 3, Sherod 0 2 0-0 6, Wilson 0 0 2-2 2, Hobbs 1 2 0-0 8. 2FG-13, 3FG-9, FT-8-18, PF-26.
Carrier Mills (63) – Barners 6 0 18-21 30, B. Lewis 2 1 3-6 10, Winchester 0 0 0-0 0, Betz 1 0 1-2 3, R. Lewis 1 3 5-6 16, Moss 2 0 0-0 4.
2FG-12, 3FG-5, FT-24-35, PF-15.

Fouled Out – Blankenship, Davis - Pope County.
Technical Fouls – Rison - Pope County.
The Fighting Cardinals advanced to the consolation title game with a win over the Bearcats.

Jaden Barton, a 5-foot-9 junior, tossed in 15-points and 6-foot-2 junior Brandon Skaggs added 14 as NCOE improved to 4-12 overall in the win.

Freshman Jack Riggs, sophomore Trey Simmons and senior Jeb Baumgart added seven-points each in the triumph.

Galatia (7-12) got 17-points from Austin Stevens and eight-points from senior Ben Mitchell in the loss for Coach Rod Wallace.

NCOE outscored the Bearcats 34-17 in the middle two quarters before they cruised home to the win.

Norris City-Omaha-Enfield
Galatia (38) – Stevens 2 3 2-2 15, Mitchell 3 0 2-2 8, Lane 1 0 0-0 2, Hankins 3 0 0-0 6, Pritchett 0 0 0-0 0, Glenn 0 0 0-0 0, Beers 0 0 2-5 2, Triplett 0 0 0-0 0, Marvel 0 1 0-0 3, Reed 0 0 0-0 0, Curry 0 0 0-0 0, Ammon 0 0 0-0 0.
2FG-10, 3FG-4, FT-6-9, PF-16.

Norris City-Omaha-Enfield (56) – Brown 0 0 0-0 0, Healy 1 0 0-0 2, Riggs 2 1 0-0 7, Danby 0 0 0-0 0, Skaggs 2 2 4-6 14, Richardson 0 0 0-0 0, Barton 3 2 4-7 16, Simmons 1 1 1-4 6, O'Neal 0 0 4-4 4, Welton 0 0 0-0 0, Baumgart 2 0 3-4 7.
2FG-9, 3FG-6, FT-16-25, PF-11.

Fouled Out – None.

Technical Fouls – None.