MOUNT VERNON — The Mount Vernon boys basketball team played well for about 28 minutes Friday night.
Problem is, the game lasts 32 minutes.
A couple-minute stretch in both the second and fourth quarters became costly for the host Jackets, as they fell 57-50 to Ohio Cardinal Conference rival Mansfield Senior.
“I thought besides a couple of minutes stretch in the second quarter, and then especially at the beginning of the fourth quarter, we played some really good basketball,” said Mount Vernon coach Nick Coon. “But for whatever reason, we let our foot off the gas. Against a team like Mansfield Senior, that can’t happen to be able to get a win. You’ve got to play four focused quarters. We played really good stretches, just not four complete quarters.”
The stretch in the fourth quarter was most costly for the Yellow Jackets (3-3 overall, 2-1 OCC). A two-point lead (37-35) turned into an 11-point deficit (50-39) in a matter of minutes.
The Tygers (2-2, 1-1) got two big 3-pointers from Shad Creamer to begin the quarter, and then the Jackets went cold. Mount Vernon missed its first two shots, then watched the Tygers milk the clock after taking the lead.
“With them taking the lead early in the fourth quarter, it makes them that much harder to guard because they’re quick and athletic and can get our defense really spaced out,” Coon said. “Their spurt there to start the fourth quarter was really important for them and really hurt us. Once they got the lead, it was really tough chasing their guys around.”
A 10-2 run late in the second quarter helped the Tygers take a five-point lead at intermission. But, the Jackets locked things down defensively in the third and retook the lead heading into the final eight minutes.
“We held them to eight points in the third quarter. We were locked in defensively, and able to get stops and block out and rebound the basketball. That’s what we have to do — play both ends of the floor,” Coon said. “I think we were settled and offensively, we had a calmness about us. We were able to get to the basket, whether it was off the dribble-drive or some post-ups, and we finished at the rim.”
Evan Boatwright had a big night offensively for the Jackets, pouring in a game-high 23 points. Blake Meyer added 11 points, while Connor Fisher had eight points and Spencer Bills pulled down a team-high six rebounds.
Creamer finished the night with 14 points, including 10 in the final quarter, to lead the Tygers. Roger Merrell added 12 points and four assists, while Davin Brown had nine.
The Jackets will have little time to think about this one as they travel to Watkins Memorial today for a match-up with the Warriors. The freshmen start the day off at noon.
“It’s an early start time, which can be good or bad, but I like it. We’ll see if our kids are ready to get right back at it. We’ll have to be against a team that’s playing very good basketball in Watkins Memorial,” Coon said. “It’ll be a challenge for us. Hopefully, we get some rest tonight and are ready to go tomorrow.”
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