MOUNT VERNON — After only trailing by three after the first quarter, the Mount Vernon Jackets offense ran into a tough defense that turned into quick points for Watkins Memorial Monday and the Warriors ran away with a 68-37 win.

“We did some good things tonight, really,” Mount Vernon coach Doug Savage said. “We just weren’t sound enough, solid enough, consistently enough and they make you pay.”

The Warriors started out strong in the first, but the Jackets started to reel them in. McKenna Brokaw provided a spark off the bench with four of the team’s 10 points in the first quarter. Emily Irwin rattled home two 3-pointers in the first, but the visitors were only ahead 13-10 after the first eight minutes.

The second quarter, the Watkins Memorial defense really caught fire. The Warriors used pressure to force turnovers that turned into quick buckets. Even against Mount Vernon’s half-court zone defense, the visitors drained some shots from deep and racked up 22 points in the second, while limiting the Jackets to six points to head into the locker room up 35-16.

“When we executed (the gameplan) right and didn’t get our passes tipped or stolen, we were off to the races and had some good scoring opportunities out of it,” Savage said. “But, in the mean-time, if you have two good plays and one bad one, the one bad one is going the other way for layups.”

Returning to the floor, Watkins Memorial’s offense cooled off, but only slightly, racking up another 18 points on another two shots from deep and Lauren Denison accounted for seven points of her own. Celina Fritsch had four of the Jackets’ 11 points in the third but Mount Vernon went into the final period behind 53-37. The Warriors nailed another three 3-pointers in the fourth quarter to outscore the Jackets 15-10 to seal the 68-37 win.

Monday was Senior Night for the three seniors on the Jackets this winter in Layne Lepley, Macee Marcum and Savvy Blubaugh. Lepley led the Jackets with 12 points, which she paired with a dime, a steal and the game’s lone block. Marcum packed her stat line with four points and five boards, while Blubaugh kicked in four points, two rebounds and two assists.
“Macee Marcum, Layne Lepley and Savvy Blubaugh, all three have been in our program since middle school all the way up through,” Savage said. “All three girls are great girls. If you’re ever in a tough situation, I’ll take all three of them. I’m glad they’re on our team. We haven’t had the success this year that we’ve wanted, but all three are here every day and practice every day. You never have to worry about them trying to give you effort.”

Brokaw and Fritsch each contributed six points and combined for eight boards. Bryn Elliott, Cora Lepley and Lexi Shaffer combined for the final five points for the Jackets. Elliott had several nice passes inside and led the Jackets with five assists.

A lot of the Warriors’ damage was done from behind the arc, where they nailed 12 3-pointers on the night. Irwin sank five deep shots on her way to 17 points, while Denison had four threes for 18 points, six rebounds, two assists and a steal. Malaina Vatter was the final player in double digits with 13 points, five rebounds and three steals. Freshman Jenna Lucas chipped in six points and five rebounds, while Elizabeth Romshe led Watkins Memorial with seven rebounds.

The loss dropped the Jackets to 3-15 on the year. Mount Vernon returns to the floor Thursday in a road Ohio Cardinal Conference matchup against Mansfield Madison, starting with the JV at 6 p.m.

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Erick Starkey: 740-397-5333 or erick@mountvernonnews.com and on Twitter, @mvnstarkey