FORTVILLE — To those not around the Mt. Vernon boys basketball program every day, it appeared the Marauders Tuesday night were slow to recover from their first defeat of the season four days earlier.
While Westfield did jump to an eight-point lead, MV coach Steve Lynch said the Shamrocks playing very well had more to do with the Marauders’ deficit than them still being down from New Palestine knocking them off both the Class 3A and Hoosier Heritage Conference summits.
The second-ranked Marauders found their groove late in the second quarter and all is well again in the MV camp after what was a hard-fought 57-49 win.
Stephen Turner paced MV (18-1) with 18 points — 14 in the first half — and CJ Coleman had 17 after being held to two in the first quarter.
“We started with the same energy we usually do, but (the Shamrocks) got in the flow of the game and the pace was very slow,” Lynch said. “Westfield does a nice job of making the pace go the way they want it to, but our kids responded and were able to make some plays and did a nice job.”
MV countered Westfield’s 24-16 start with two big runs.
The first featured the 6-foot-6 Turner making good from three-point territory three times during the latter part of the first half, and Coleman tying it at 27 with a drive to the goal. That was the halftime score.
With the game tied again, at 32 with just over three minutes left in the third quarter, the Marauders embarked on a string of 11 unanswered points. Anthony Burnett hit two free throws, followed by a pair of Turner hoops, a Coleman three and a putback by Zach Spears.
Westfield (8-12) hung with MV the rest of the way and with just over a half-minute to go was down 53-49 and had the ball, but a three-point attempt by Ty Osswald was off.
The Marauders closed it out with two free throws each by Burnett and Spears. MV made its last 17 foul shots without a miss and ended 20-for-23 at the line.
“We really got out on their shooters and our energy was better,” Lynch said. “I thought we were patient, we kept working the basketball, we continued to get good shoots, we shared the ball well again and we were good with staying with the pace and working the ball until we got the shot we needed.”
MV held the Shamrocks to 15 rebounds while getting 22 itself. Turner had seven boards, Spears six and Coleman five to go along with five steals and two assists.
Lynch said his team had good practices Saturday and Monday and was ready to go back at it.