RUSHVILLE — The names Michael Ertel, Erick Shepherd and James McCloud will sound very familiar to anyone close to the Mt. Vernon basketball program the past three seasons. The Marauders’ fourth starter, junior Damari Gatewood, an athletic wing, also is a standout on the football team.
But who is junior Logan Smith, No. 13?
On the same night his number usually means bad luck — Friday the 13th — the transfer from Herron had 13 points in the first half in a 78-32 win against Rushville for the team’s fifth-straight victory since a 2-4 start.
Smith won’t always score the most points, but he certainly has filled up the stat sheet for Mt. Vernon (7-4) this season. Friday night was his turn to score, though, especially in the first half as 6-foot-1 lefty finished a perfect 6 of 6 from the field. He also tallied five steals in the first half as the Marauders built a 43-6 lead off 15 Rushville miscues.
Smith, who transferred to the school during December of last year, did not score in the second half but didn’t need to. He ended the night with 13 points, six steals, three rebounds and two assists, while Ertel and Shepherd, both seniors, added 17 and 13 points, respectively.
Mt. Vernon, which led 20-2 after one quarter of play, used stifling defense from Smith and other athletes to put the game out of reach within minutes of the tip.
“A couple of games in a row here we have felt like we’ve had an advantage athletically,” Marauders head coach Travis Daugherty said. “We wanted to set the tone with our defense. Obviously our effort and intensity were really good in the first half.”
Rushville (1-10), which finished the game shooting 10 of 34 from the field, was led in scoring by junior Austyn Farley with nine points.
Smith added 11 points in a 23-4 second quarter burst for the road team, which traveled over an hour to the game. It didn’t show, though, as the team finished the night shooting a red-hot 53 percent from the field.
Ertel and Shepherd scored 11 points in a first half that saw all five starters, plus sophomore Peyton Meadors, score at least one point.
Smith, who had just two points after the first period, scored most his points off of turnovers but did nail a 3-pointer from the right corner in the second frame.
“I am the energy guy,” Smith said. “I can knock down a shot but also play defense. I try to get them (Ertel, Shepherd and McCloud) open and do whatever coach needs.”
Ertel opened up the third quarter with his fourth three of the game as the Marauders outscored the Lions 35-26 after the break.
Mt. Vernon finished the first half shooting 15 of 28 from the field, while Rushville was just 2 of 12.
Also for the Marauders, McCloud, another senior, added 12 points and three rebounds in the win.
Mt. Vernon will play again tonight at Class 2A No. 9 Indianapolis Howe (8-5).