MOUNT VERNON — In an already difficult season in terms of wins and losses, the Mount Vernon girls basketball team seemed to have shaken off some of its misfortune with a 9-0 start against Mansfield Madison.

But the “bugaboos” that have plagued the Yellow Jackets’ all season all came into play and the visiting Rams rolled to a 51-29 win in Ohio Cardinal Conference play Thursday night at The Hive.

“For the first 14 minutes of that game, that’s probably the best we’ve played all year,” MV coach Doug Savage said. “Then, we got back to our bugaboos.”

Cora Lepley jump-started MV with three assists on its first three baskets. She drove the lane and kicked out to Bryn Elliott, who buried a 3-pointer from the right corner to give the Jackets a 3-0 lead with 6:12 left in the first quarter.

Lepley picked up a steal and found Celina Fritsch for a basket underneath to push the lead to 5-0 on the next possession.

Lepley then found McKenna Brokaw for a layup to push the lead the 7-0 on a play that was started by another steal – this time by Elliott.

Fritsch added a pair of free throws with 4:32 left in the opening frame to make it 9-0 Jackets.

“I could have called a quick timeout,” Madison coach Brian Davis said. “Obviously, I did not like the way we came out. (Our focus) wasn’t there and I was trying to let them find it for themselves. I wanted to see what we were made of … what kind of grit we had.”

Savage described three bugaboos that have plagued the Jackets all season. The first one is turnovers. MV had 31 turnovers for the game and 20 of those came in the last 12 and a half minutes of the first half as the Rams whittled the lead down.

“It eliminates our shots and gives them run-out layups,” Savage said.

The second bugaboo is second-chance points. Madison had nine offensive rebounds in the first half and 16 for the game. Of those nine first-half offensive rebounds, the Rams scored eight points.

Taylor Russell gave the Rams the lead at 18-17 with a free throw with 50 seconds left in the first half. But she missed the second one and Chesney Davis rebounded and put it back to push the lead to three. Madison carried that 20-17 margin to the locker room and never trailed again.

“We have to try to rebound by getting a good position and not trying to out-jump people,” Savage said.

And the final bugaboo is MV’s offense against a zone defense. Madison used a press to get back into the game and eventually take the lead. But the Rams’ zone defense held the Jackets at bay for much of the second half.

“Attacking a zone – I don’t know why that bugs us so much, but it does,” Savage said. “We don’t move the ball and reverse the floor quickly and often enough. We try to go inside too quickly and (we do) a lot of dribbling.”

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Michael Rich: 740-397-5333 or and on Twitter, @mrichnotwealthy



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