MOUNT CARMEL - No matter how hard you play, it's hard to overcome shooting 12 percent from the floor for a half.

Mount Carmel, which is playing for a district playoff berth, found that out Friday.

The Red Tornadoes, coming off a tough loss Wednesday against Loyalsock, shot 3 for 25 in the first half against Lewisburg, scoring just seven points and falling behind by 19 but came back to make a game of it before losing, 53-42 in a Heartland Athletic Conference Division II game.

Mount Carmel (7-8) cut the Green Dragons' (15-1) lead down to six points in the fourth quarter but the 26-7 halftime deficit was just too big to overcome.

"It's the same old thing," Mount Carmel coach John Lazicki said. "These kids play so hard; they never quit, and that's going to help them in life. But we just go through lulls and you can't do that against a team that's 15-1."

Mount Carmel trailed 17-3 after the first quarter. The Red Tornadoes shot 1 for 11 in the period; conversely, Lewisburg shot 7 for 11. The Green Dragons cooled off the in the second period but unfortunately, Mount Carmel didn't heat up.

"I told them at halftime we had to come out and play hard or we were going to lose by 50," Lazicki said.

They did come out and play hard. Led inside by Christian Kelley and Tyler Kwiatkowski, Mount Carmel finally got hot, shooting 9 for 14 in the third quarter and scoring three times as many points in that quarter as they did in the first half.

Kelley finished with 12 points and nine rebounds off the bench for Elijah Duran, who was in early foul trouble, and Kwiatkowski added 12 points. Also giving a lift off the bench was Bob Beierschmitt, who didn't score a point but had three rebounnds, two assists and two steals in a flurry of action.

"Christian's been playing better and better, and Tyler probably played his best game of the season," said Lazicki "Bobby really played hard, too."

But Lewisburg's inside-outside combination of 6-6 freshman center Sam Allen and point guard Travis Conrad did a lot of damage as well. Allen scored 13 points with seven rebounds, and Conrad also scored 13 points, hitting 6 of 6 foul shots. When Allen was in foul trouble or tired, he got help inside from 6-6 Erich Kline (9 points, 6 rebounds) and 6-6 Will Sigl. Jesse Flannery scored 10 points.

The loss makes Mount Carmel's game tonight at Southern Columbia (6-9) huge for both teams.

"They're teetering on the edge, but they're so much better at home," Lazicki said. "Everyone is. We've had a rough week, with Loyalsock, Lewisburg and Southern right after each other."

Game Summary

LEWISBURG (53) - Conrad 3 6-6 13. Driscoll 3 1-2 7, Kline 4 1-2 9, Costagliola 0 0-0 0, Flannery 4 1-2 10, Sigl 0 1-2 1, Cole 0 0-0 0, Allen 3 7-9 13. Totals 17 17-23 53.

MOUNT CARMEL (42) - Tocyloski 0 4-4 4, Varano 0 0-2 0, Duran 1 0-0 2, Heromin 1 0-0 2, Scicchitano 3 1-2 8, Wasilewski 1 0-0 2, Kwiatkowski 4 3-5 12, Beierschmitt 0 0-0 0, Kelley 6 0-0 12, Dillion 0 0-0 0, Lynott 0 0-0 0. Totals 16 8-13 42.

3-point FGs: Lewisburg (2) - Conrad, Flannery; Mount Carmel (2) - Scicchitano, Kwiatkowski.