MOUNT VERNON — The Mount Vernon Jackets girls basketball team put up a good fight and trimmed the lead to four points in the third quarter, but was eventually outmatched by the Ohio Cardinal Conference leading Wooster Generals Thursday, 54-38.
The game started out slow for both sides, with the score knotted at 2-2 for several possessions in the first quarter.
“I think we were playing decent defense at that time,” Mount Vernon coach Doug Savage said. “On the other hand, we were struggling to get good looks at the basket.”
Once both teams got settled in, Wooster built a 10-5 lead after the first quarter. Layne Lepley led the Jackets with four points in the first, while Daisha Brown netted four points for the visitors.
Lepley scored another four points in the second and Macee Marcum chipped in four of her own as the Jackets scored 10 in the second, but Sydney Clapp scored seven on her own. Five Generals scored in the second and the visitors lit up the scoreboard for 16 points to take a 26-15 lead at the break.
When the Jackets returned to the floor, they played with vigor on both ends, going on a 7-0 run in the first two minutes of the third quarter to cut the lead to four. Bryn Elliott hit a shot from deep and Celina Fritsch nailed a bucket, while Lepley turned in two freebies to spur the run.
“We came out with a nice spurt to start the third quarter,” Savage said. “Then, like a good team’s going to do, they countered at the other end with a couple of inside buckets and maybe a couple of 3s from the outside and you find yourself back down 10 or 11 points that quick.”
The shots started falling for the Generals, and they ended the quarter on a 16-2 run to take a 42-24 lead heading into the final quarter. Clapp poured in another six points in the third and Anna Cichello scored five in the quarter.
The Jackets continued to fight and outscored the Generals in the fourth 14-12, but it was too little too late. McKenna Brokaw and Lepley each had five points and Marcum accounted for the remaining four in the period.
“I was proud of our kids,” Savage said. “I thought they played with good spirit. I thought they played hard and we took care of the ball for the most part.”
Lepley again paced the Jackets in the scoring department with 17 points, which she paired with three rebounds. Marcum, who had seven boards and an assist, just missed double-figures with nine points. Brokaw packed her stat line with five points, six rebounds and an assist. Fritsch had four points and four rebounds, while Elliott posted three points, four rebounds and three assists. The Jackets committed a season-low nine turnovers on the night.
Stephanie Smith came in as the Generals’ top scoring option, averaging more than 15 points and 15 rebounds a night. When the dust settled Wednesday, she finished with 11 points, five boards and four blocks.
“Our biggest thought was not to let Smith really, really get going,” Savage said. “They’ve got a nice well-rounded team with several girls who can score, but she is their leader. … What makes them a good team, is they’ve got other girls — veteran girls.”
Clapp led the Wooster veteran girls, scoring 16 points and recording four boards, three assists and a pair of blocks. Brown had 13 points, and Cichello was the fourth General in double-digits with 11 points, four rebounds and three boards. Ravin Morgan turned in the final three points, as well as four boards, an assist, a steal and a block. Izzy Signorino led Wooster on the glass with seven rebounds.
The loss dropped the Jackets to 1-10 on the year with a 1-4 mark in the conference. Mount Vernon has a quick turnaround, playing at home Saturday against another OCC opponent in Mansfield Madison, tipping off with JV action at 12 p.m.
NOTES: The JV Jackets almost pulled off a massive comeback. Wooster scored 15 in the first and 17 in the second to go up 32-19 at the break, but the Jackets did not go away. Mount Vernon cut the lead to two (40-38) late in the game, but couldn’t get another bucket to fall, dropped the contest 42-38.
Emilee Burke paced Mount Vernon with 10 points, while Addy Christopher chipped in nine and Briley Daniels and Cora Lepley had eight and seven, respectively. Mac Schlosser and Stella Bainbridge each had two points.
Nine Generals scored at the JV level, led by Madison Kurtz’s 12 points. Hannah Johnson and Audrey Van Lieu both notched seven points in the win.