MOUNT VERNON — The Mount Vernon Yellow Jackets fell to non-conference foe Big Walnut Saturday night by a score of 46-36, playing sound defense but struggling offensively in the loss.

“They made some three’s, but they had to work for them and make a lot of passes” said Mount Vernon head coach Nick Coon. “We just had too many empty offensive possesions to really get the game tightened up for them.”

In the first quarter, Noah Gleason and Jaxon Snyder both hit a shot from downtown, to give a promising start to the Jackets. Also scoring was Jontey Greene and Carson Carpenter, giving the Jackets 12 first-quarter points. Defensively, the Jackets sat back in zone defense. Big Walnut’s Kegan Hienton went to work in the paint scoring eight in the period. Two additional shots from behind the arc gave the Eagles a 14-12 advantage heading into the second frame.

The Eagles were giving the Jackets pressure in press coverage the entire first half, and it proved effective, as they only alloted Mount Vernon six points in the second quarter. As the Jackets struggled offensivley, they weren’t getting any breaks on defense as the Eagles perimeter shooting started getting hot. Big Walnut splashed three 3-pointers, two of which came from Jagger Barnett. Barnett scored eight of the Eagles 11 in the second quarter, and Big Walnut headed into the locker room leading Mount Vernon 25-18.

In the third period the Eagles stuck with their full court press, suffocating the Jackets offense to only eight points.

“When we don’t even get a shot attempt that really puts a lot of stress on our defense.” said Coon.

Big Walnut put up 13 in the frame, Jordan Koebel and Brady Cawhun both sank in their second 3-pointers on the night. Jackson Podraza, Carson Becker and Hienton combined for the remaining seven points for the Eagles. Heading into the final quarter the Eagles lead the Jackets 38-26.

Mount Vernon opted to switch to a man defensive scheme in the fourth, and there was no scoring for either team for nearly four minutes. Mount Vernon trailed by double digits for nearly the rest of the game, and with roughly a minute left Coach Coon took his seniors; Snyder, Carpenter, Gleason and Greene out for the last time on their home court. The Jackets lost 46-36.

Gleason led the Jackets offensively with nine points, followed by Greene and Snyder with seven apiece. Spencer Bills, Trey Grohe, Blake Meyer and Carpenter combined for 13. Bills was the top rebounder, taking eight off the glass.

Big Walnut was lead by Hienton with 16 points, followed with Barnett and Koebel with eight apiece. Nathan Montgomery, Cawhun, Becker and Podraza combined for 14 points.

Mount Vernon will travel to Upper Arlington this Friday to play the eight-seeded Golden Bears with a 7 p.m. tip.

“It’s going to be a challenge, but we’ll spend four days preparing for them mentally and physically and give them our best shot on Friday.” said Coon.

The game was themed a green out in support of student Joel Mullett who passed away in fatal car accident last week. Mount Vernon held a moment of silence before the game and raised more than $1,850 in an open hat donation for his family.

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Jack Fitzpatrick: 740-397-5333 or sports@mountvernonnews.com and on Twitter, @