FORTVILLE — After losing four of their last six games, the Mt. Vernon Marauders were looking to get back on the map, so to speak, on Saturday night. An athletic and disciplined Mt. Vernon team might have achieved just that by defeating Lawrence Central 60-51 to serve notice that they should not be taken lightly.
“Overall, this was probably our best win of the year,” Mt. Vernon head coach Travis Daugherty said afterward.
The Marauders opened the game strong as senior Erick Shepherd scored eight first-quarter points to push the Mt. Vernon lead to 16-12. Shepherd continued his strong effort the rest of the night as he finished with a game-high 17 points and three rebounds.
Only for a short period of the game on Saturday did the Marauders look even a bit overwhelmed, which occurred during the second quarter. The Bears were able to use their athleticism to stifle the Marauders’ offense and lead 27-25 at halftime.
“Against a team like (Lawrence Central), it’s important to limit where they can have success,” Daugherty said. “In the second quarter, there were too many possessions where we allowed them to make plays where we didn’t want them to.”
The Lawrence Central advantage didn’t last long however, as junior guard Damari Gatewood sparked the Marauders to a lead that lasted for the remainder of the game.
Seven of his eight points came during the third quarter and any momentum the Bears may have had toward the end of the frame was erased as Gatewood drained a corner three as time expired.
“When he plays well at both ends of the floor, he changes our identity,” Daugherty said. “He was responsible for our success tonight as anyone.”
Throughout the game, the Marauders made the Bears pay at the free-throw line. Shooting 29 free throws total, Mt. Vernon scored 24 of its points from the charity stripe. And leading scorer Michael Ertel led the way.
Despite only making one field goal on a tough shooting night, Ertel scored 13 points, while shooting 11-for-12 from the line.
“The amount of free throws we shot was a reflection of our mentality,” Daugherty said. “Against a team as athletic as Lawrence Central, if you’re not getting to the line that means you are taking a lot of tough shots.”
Mt. Vernon next takes the floor today as Mississinewa travels to Fortville for a 7:30 p.m. tip.
Mt. Vernon 60, Lawrence Central 51
MT. VERNON (10-8) — Shepherd 6 5-5 17, Ertel 1 11-12 13, McCloud 3 5-7 11, Gatewood 2 3-5 8, Smith 3 0-0 7, Gentry 1 0-0 2, Meadors 1 0-0 2. Totals: 16 24-29 60.
LAWRENCE CENTRAL (7-10) – Bell 7 1-2 15, Meredith 4 2-2 13, Jordan 2 4-5 8, D. Davis 3 0-0 6, K. Davis 2 0-0 5, Easter 1 0-0 2, Sam 1 0-0 2. Totals: 20 7-9 51.
3-pointers: MV 2 (Gatewood 1, Smith 1), LC 4 (Meredith 3, K. Davis 1).