MOUNT VERNON — The Mount Vernon Yellow Jackets boys basketball team had a three-point lead heading into the fourth quarter, but 17 points in the period by the visiting Mansfield Senior Tygers did the Jackets in, 45-41.
“It was a sloppy game, but both teams played with a high energy, especially at the defensive end,” Mount Vernon coach Nick Coon said. “Points were hard to come by on both ends. We played pretty well defensively through three quarters, almost as well as we could play, and then they got loose and hit some shots in the fourth quarter.”
Heading into the fourth, Mount Vernon held a 31-28 lead. Mansfield Senior stormed out of the gates in the final period tying the game at 31 and then a three by Quan Hilory put the Jackets in a 36-33 hole with 3:58 to go. The Tygers opened a 42-37 lead with 1:22 to go, but Mount Vernon cut the lead to 42-41 after a pair of shots from the stripe by Jontey Greene with 31 ticks left on the clock. Those free throws were the final points for the Jackets, as stifling defense by the Tygers limited any more looks at the basket for the Jackets.
“Against them, the toughness plays really show up,” Coon said. “Those things matter so much against Mansfield Senior.”
Points were extremely hard to come by in the opening frame, with 13 combined points. Three Jackets each hit a bucket, while three shots and a freebie by the Tygers gave the visitors a 7-6 lead. In the second quarter, the Jackets doubled their scoring, pouring in 12 points. Greene hit a 3-pointer and added four free throws and Carson Carpenter chipped in five points. Mount Vernon held Mansfield Senior to 10 in the second to take an 18-17 lead at intermission.
Four Jackets got into the scoring mix in the third quarter, with the team tacking on another 12 points to its total. Greene and Carpenter each had four points, while Evan Boatwright and Noah Gleason combined for the remaining five points. Hilory led the Tygers in the third with six points, as the Jackets added another point to their lead, heading to the fourth up 31-28, before being outscored 17-10 in the final quarter to fall by four points.
“When tough times hit, do you give in, or do you keep moving forward for yourself and those that you care about around you?” Coon said of his message to the team after the loss.
Greene paced the Jackets with 17 points, hitting 8 of 10 from the charity stripe. He also paced Mount Vernon on the glass, with seven boards, and in the assist column, with three. Carpenter turned in 13 points for the Jackets, including a shot from behind the arc. Gleason notched five points, six rebounds and two huge blocks, while Boatwright chipped in four points. Snyder nailed a bucket in the fourth to finish the game with two points, two rebounds and a steal. Spencer Bills had four boards and an assist and Connor Fisher contributed two rebounds.
Hilory led the way for the Tygers with 17 points, three rebounds and four steals. De’Zion Taylor reached double-figures with 11 points, three boards, a dime and two steals. Angelo Grose had eight points, three rebounds, two assists and two steals, while Dontavious Burton finished with five points, three rebounds, a steal and a block. Jakobe Reese, Cameron Todd and Anthony Hawkins combined for four points, seven rebounds, an assist and a steal.
The loss dropped the Jackets to 5-5 on the year, now with a 2-2 mark in the Ohio Cardinal Conference. Mount Vernon has a quick turnaround, hosting Newark today with a freshmen tipoff at 4 p.m.
“We’ve got to get over this — learn from it and grow from it — and be ready to go tomorrow,” Coon said. “This was very high-level basketball with a high level intensity. Knock it up a notch tomorrow.”
NOTES: The JV Jackets secured a 61-55 win over the Tygers, led by Blake Meyer’s 22 points and Dayne Burgess’ 10 points. Roger Merrell turned in 22 points and Shad Creamer had another 17 for Mansfield Senior. At the freshmen level, Mount Vernon lost 45-39. Owynn Gleason was the only Jacket in double-figures with 15 points, with Weston Porter chipping in seven. Trevin Hines led the freshmen Tygers with 22 points.