Carrier Mills finished up a 1-2 showing at the Eldorado Holiday Tournament as they fell to Fairfield 55-42 Saturday.
Head coach Mark Motsinger said it was a growing lesson for his kids, in which he saw his team grow up a little bit over the course of two days.
The Wildcats were within 10 points after the end of the third quarter 40-30, but frustration sat in when shots just didn't seem to fall in the final eight minutes for Carrier Mills.
"I thought we played hard, but our shots just wouldn't fall tonight," Motsinger said. "I was real pleased with our effort. I thought the game against Hamilton County was the best game we have played all year.
That win late Friday night catapulted Carrier Mills farther into the consolation bracket and was an inspiring win for Motsinger.
"I think we saw a little growing up this week, I really did."
Down the stretch against Fairfield, Carrier Mills had problems with the size of 6-foot-6 sophomore Nathaniel Lackey who scored 20 points in the game and had five in the fourth to keep the Wildcats at arms length.
Motsinger noted that Fairfield's size was a problem for his squad Saturday and the Wildcats were without Dalton Summer, who was attending his sister's wedding, a hole that the long time head coach said took away some of his team's "umph"
"Nathaniel Lackey will be one of the best players in southern Illinois in a few years," Motsinger noted.
"Our effort was there tonight and it was a case where our shots were falling in the first half and even into the third quarter, but when they weren't late down the stretch, our guys got frustrated a little bit and I think it showed."
Cameron Taborn and Dalton Betz led Carrier Mills in scoring with 16 points and Taborn added a crucial seven points in the second quarter as the Wildcats trailed by just four at the break 25-21.
Betz' seven of his 16 points propelled Carrier Mills early helping the Wildcats get out to a 11-9 lead.
But the struggles sat in for Carrier Mills in the third quarter as they were outscored 15-9.
Fairfield 09 16 15 15 - 55
Carrier Mills 11 10 09 12 - 42
Fairfield: Griffith 1 2-3 4, Fry 1 6-7 8, Rodger 1 4-4 6, Cody Simpson 5 10, Lackey 9 2-5 20, Gifford 1-2 7. Totals: 17 15-21 55.
Carrier Mills: Figg 2 0-1 7, Bailey 1 2, Taborn 6 4-6 16, Betz 5 16, Whiting 1-2 1. Totals: 14 5-9 42.
3-pt FG: Fairfield 2 (Gifford), Carrier Mills 3 (Betz 2, Figg).