Mt. Carmel’s twin towers take down Bishop McNamara

Bishop McNamara's Tevin Watts (33) fouls Mt. Carmel's Justin Carpenter (20) as he goes up for a dunk. Worsom Robinson/ For Sun-Times

PEORIA—The matchup didn’t look good on paper: Mt. Carmel’s 6-8 Jackson Marcotte and 6-9 Justin Carpenter against Bishop McNamara’s 6-4 Tevin Watson and 6-4 AJ Barnes.

“They are both talented, had some nice post moves,” Watson said. “They are bigger and stronger so it was kind of tough to bang with them but I did my best.”

Watson and the Fighting Irish fought back into the game every time the Golden Aces threatened to pull away, but it wasn’t enough. Mt. Carmel beat McNamara 67-55 in the Class 2A State Semifinals at Carver Arena.

I’m proud of my guys,” McNamara coach Adrian Provost said. “We played hard, we did not play well. It’s unfortunate that happens here at the final four but that’s just life, that happens sometimes.”

Marcotte was a load. He finished with 21 points and 13 rebounds in only 19 minutes of play. Carpenter added 15 points and 14 rebounds.

“They complement each other,” Mt. Carmel coach Tyler Buss said. “Jackson, the job he does inside. Justin is very, very underrated in terms of his passing. Especially out on the perimeter. And both of them go rebound. They got the job done for us.”

Sophomore Austin Rager was a constant threat to score for the Golden Aces (29-4) and had 11 points and six boards.

“Teams know they can shoot and that really opens up the inside for me and Justin,” Marcotte said. “It was a really physical game down low but we just kept battling and working. We’re capable of hurting teams inside.”

Mt. Carmel, which plays in an Indiana conference during the regular season, led by five at the half and seven after three quarters. The Fighting Irish cut the lead to six early in the fourth quarter but that was as close as it would get.

Senior guard Dylan Post led McNamara (24-8) with 15 points. Watson had 14 points and six rebounds. Dante Owens-Graves added 12 points off the bench.

“There was no doubt in my mind they were going to come out and play well,” Buss said. “They did exactly what we told them to do. It was one of our best rebounding games. I’m super proud of these guys. We’re playing for a darn state championship tomorrow.”

McNamara will face the Monticello in the third place game on Saturday.

“They did a nice job of keeping us out of the paint,” Provost said. “We didn’t shoot the ball well. We couldn’t get out on the break and when we did we’d mishandle it.”

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