MOUNT VERNON — For the third time in four games, the Mount Vernon girls basketball team held its opponent to 22 points.
It’s tough to win when that’s all you can get.
The Yellow Jackets held the Lexington Minutemen to a single point over a 12 1/2-minute stretch in the first half, cruising to a 56-22 victory at The Hive on Tuesday.
It’s the fifth straight game Mount Vernon has held its opponent to no more than 10 points in any quarter. The stretch goes back to Jan. 10, at New Albany, when the Jackets gave up 17 in the fourth but held on to win, 34-33.
It’s also the fifth straight opponent to score fewer than 30 points. Mount Vernon has allowed over 40 just twice.
“In athletics, you have to prove yourself every night,” said Mount Vernon head coach Doug Savage. “We’re not 13-1 and we’re not listed in the top eight teams in the Central District. And we have a lot better record than some of those teams. We don’t get any respect because of who we are, where we are from Columbus ... until then, we just have to keep winning games.”
Sammy Cunningham spent her entire time on the court guarding Lexington’s top player, Kelly Rhodes. Rhodes, a senior, scored an early bucket on a putback, then was completely shut down by Cunningham.
Rhodes finished with eight points and nine rebounds, but most of those came in the minutes when Cunningham was on the bench.
“Sammy’s really come around this year as a defensive warrior,” said Savage. “We usually give her the best wing or post player. Sammy has done a heck of a job on some pretty good players this year.”
When the Minutemen attempted to get Rhodes the ball, Cunningham made them pay, to the tune of a team-high six steals.
Madi Montgomery led the Jackets with 12 points, many of which came on the foul line. She finished 8-for-9 from the line.
Lexington’s biggest threat to Mount Vernon (13-1) was its size in the middle. Rhodes (5-foot-9) and Alex Fitzpatrick (6-0) were expected to dominate the boards. But when Fitzpatrick went out with two quick fouls just 30 seconds in, she was forced to spend most of the first half on the bench.
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