Nashville holds on to defeat Mount Carmel

Special to the News-DemocratMarch 7, 2014 

— Nashville hit four 3-pointers in the first 3:30 to a 10-point lead and had to withstand a second half rally to beat Mount Carmel, 63-55, to win the Du Quoin Class 2A Boys Basketball Sectional Friday.

"We were fortunate in the first half they didn't knock down more shots than they did," said Nashville coach Brad Weathers. "We know they were going to make a run in the second half. Even though they cut to it to seven we were able to get through and make our free throws late."

The Hornets (25-7) advance to the Class 2A Super-Sectional for the first time since 2007. Last year Nashville lost in the Sectional finals to state champion Harrisburg.

Daniel Thorson got the run going with a shot from the right corner and after a Keegan Anderson 3-pointer from the left side swished two more. Thorson led the Hornets with 18 points.

"That wasn't the plan because I've not made very many 3s this season," Thorson said. "My teammates found me open and I just put it up."

Mount Carmel (22-9) stopped the run on a layup by Levi Laws and held their own to go into the second quarter still down by 10. Nashville went on a 9-3 run to open the second quarter to extend the lead to 16 points with 2:35 left in the first half and held that lead at the half.

The Hornets took off where they left off at the start of the third quarter pushing the lead to 20 points with 5:06 left on a stickback by Royce Newman, who finished with 14 points.

"With them shooting like that and with their presence inside our kids got a little frustrated early on," said Mount Carmel coach Tyler Buss. "In the second half we knew we couldn't sit in our zone, so we picked the tempo up and pressured their guards into some mistakes. I think we ran out of gas at the end."

The Golden Aces then caught fire starting with a pair of free throws by Reece Metcalf followed by two layups by Austin Thompson off the bench. Metcalf then sank another two from the line and a 3-pointer to cut the lead to 12 going into the fourth quarter. Metcalf led the game with 22 points.

The brief break didn't slow the Golden Aces down as Metcalf hit a jumper and another 3-pointer sandwiched around a Clint Johannes jump shot for Nashville. Thompson then stole the ball and scored to cut the lead down to seven with 6:46 remaining.

However that would be as close as Mount Carmel would get as Nashville sank 9-of-13 free throws, including 6-of-8 by Anderson, to hold off the Golden Aces, despite two 3-pointers by Thomas Allen in the final 2:14.

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