MOUNT VERNON — Nick Coon understands the Mount Vernon-Newark rivalry.
As a former player, the current Mount Vernon head boys basketball coach had his battles with the Wildcats, both home and away. He set the mood Friday when he told the News, “We respect them (Newark), but we don’t like them.”
He must really not like them after Saturday’s second quarter.
After leading the unbeaten Wildcats for most of the first period Saturday evening, Mount Vernon fell victim to a 15-0 run. The Yellow Jackets kept fighting, however, and the 63-44 final score in no way indicated the spirit shown by the team from start to finish.
“This is as high a level of competition as we’ll see all year,” Coon said. “We knew it was a big challenge. But we didn’t want to focus on the outcome. Instead, focus on how high of a level can we play, and how long can be play at that. And except for a couple of stretches, we played at a very high level.”