Mt. Vernon bounces back for 3rd place

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NEW CASTLE — Mt. Vernon played well enough to win two games in Saturday’s Hall of Fame Classic at New Castle.

The Marauders had to settle for a split, but can take solace in knowing they left a better team than they arrived and will start the new year resembling the Hoosier Heritage Conference and Sectional 9 contender many thought they’d be prior to the season.

In its opener Saturday, MV (3-5) went toe-to-toe with 3A No. 1 Greensburg for three and a half quarters before falling 48-37. The Marauders rebounded in the consolation game to beat 4A No. 14 Evansville Harrison 70-53.

Coach Travis Daugherty’s squad has now put together three solid games in a row after topping Mississinewa 63-39 Dec. 21 at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.

“This is the kind of day where you can play great and go 2-0 and play great and go 0-2. I’m really happy for the guys that they played well enough to win here,” Daugherty said. “We’re still trying to grow and improve each day. Tonight, we took steps forward and that’s good.”

Greensburg (9-0) felled 4A No. 7 Columbus North (5-2) in the championship game 65-59. Columbus North cruised past Evansville Harrison 82-64 earlier in the day.

After attempting to slow down play vs. the high-scoring Pirates in Saturday’s opening game, the black and gold were more than happy to run with the Warriors in the consolation match.

Trailing 13-12 late in the first quarter, MV closed the frame on a 12-0 sprint. Guard CJ Coleman, who was named to the all-tournament team, powered the spurt by scoring eight of the 12 points. Coleman finished with 20 points and eight rebounds.

 Freshman guard Michael Ertel was also key, accounting for a bucket and an assist to fellow rookie James McCloud for the Marauders, who shot 9-of-11 from the field in the first quarter.

Mt. Vernon managed to increase its advantage to 13 by half at 40-27. Evansville Harrison (3-4) crept to within 11 on three separate occasions in the third frame, but MV was always there to answer.

The Marauders pushed the margin to 20 early in the final stanza thanks to a 9-0 run to end the third and start the fourth. The Warriors called timeout with 6:22 left in the game trailing 61-41.

It was a quality all-around effort for Mt. Vernon, which used discipline and athleticism to battle taller Evansville Harrison to a draw on the glass (32-32) while also dominating in transition (14-2 fast-break points) and near to the rim (40-28 paint points).

“This afternoon was pretty fun getting the win,” said MV freshman Erick Shepherd, who had 20 points and six rebounds. “It was one of our better games because we all played as a team.”

MV shot 57 percent (26-of-46) for the game, using a strong defensive rebounding performance (25 defensive boards vs. 14 EH offensive rebounds) to kick start its offense against the Warriors, who had three players 6-6 or taller play at least 10 minutes. The Marauders have now yielded less than 55 points in three consecutive games after allowing opponents to score 55 or more in four contests prior to that.

“We weren’t perfect on defense, but when we’re solid defensively we can be a good team. On top of that, when we get rebounds at the end of good defensive possessions, we have a chance to get out in transition,” Daugherty said. “We’ve got a lot of guys that can run and score when we share the ball. Tonight we wanted to rebound it, advance it and attack in transition. It was good to see we executed that.”

Ernie Duncan paced Evansville Harrison with a game-best 24 points. Duncan’s brother, Everett, sat out the game after suffering a lower leg injury vs. Columbus North. Everett entered Saturday averaging a team-high 22 points per game.

In the first game of the day Saturday, Greensburg defeated Mt. Vernon 48-37.

The Pirates, who handled the Marauders 62-37 at last season’s 3A Richmond Semistate en route to their first state championship, extended their winning streak to 24 games with their triumph over Columbus North Saturday night.

Against MV, Greensburg was paced by Ball State recruit Sean Sellers, who scored a game-high 17 points and grabbed seven rebounds. Coleman, in his second game back after missing the season’s first five games due to suspension, scored 15 points and added four rebounds.

The Marauders collected a 11-10 advantage after a quarter and cut the Pirates’ double-digit lead in the second half to four early in the fourth quarter.

Greensburg entered averaging 80.9 points per game on 61 percent shooting — including 50 percent from 3. The Pirates, who boasted four players scoring in double figures prior to Saturday’s games, also had an average margin of victory of 37.5 points and had scored in the 90s on three occasions.

Mt. Vernon attempted to limit Greensburg’s offensive possessions by controlling the clock with a screen-heavy motion offense. On multiple occasions, the Pirates were forced to sit in their defensive stances for more than a minute.

“It’s tough. It took us a little time to adjust,” said Bryant McIntosh, a Northwestern recruit who was named the Hall of Fame Classic MVP after the championship game. “We face teams that want to slow it down and limit possessions with us — but they aren’t as good as Mt. Vernon. Mt. Vernon could take care of the ball and really slow it down and control tempo. They did a really good job of that and it was a good game plan.

“(But) our shooters hit some shots and we got separation. It’s tough to come back when you’re playing like that.”

MV trailed just 24-19 at intermission, but the 6-7 Sellers scored the first six points of the second half, the highlight a steal-and-dunk that brought what seemed like all of Decatur County to its feet.

Yet, the Marauders did not wilt and rallied behind Coleman, who scored four straight to bring his squad within nine at 35-26 to end the third quarter.

To start the fourth, Shepherd scored off an offensive rebound, then Coleman fed Ertel for a 3-pointer from the left wing. Suddenly, Mt. Vernon was within four at 35-31.

But Greensburg showed once again why it’s a top-tier squad, embarking on an 11-1 run over the next 90 seconds.

Collin Rigney drilled two triples from the right corner, while 6-8 Ryan Welage scored five points in the paint. The Pirate lead ballooned to 12 at 44-32.

“They’re so explosive and so efficient offensively. Some of the numbers they’ve put up this year have been impressive. We really just wanted to make sure we were making them do their work defensively and I think we did a pretty good job sticking to that plan for a lot of the game,” Daugherty said. “Against a team like that, even with a few mistakes, they can expose you. It was a five-point game at halftime we gave up a couple of offensive rebound putbacks and were late in transition. That was seven of their 24 points. That’s a high percentage of their points on mistakes by us.

“We fought hard to close the game again in the third quarter, but they hit a couple of important shots and made enough plays to pull away.”

The black and gold return to action Saturday afternoon vs. Warren Central (5-4) at Tech High School.

“I don’t think we’d be (3-5) if CJ was playing from the start, but ultimately my focus is trying to get us better every day,” Daugherty said. “I think we’ve got the makings of a really good team. If we keep improving, I think we have a chance to be really good by the end of the year.

Notes: Daugherty coached Tipton to a runner-up finish in the 2008 Hall of Fame Classic. He also took second as an Alexandria player in 1995. … Mt. Vernon made its third appearance in the Hall of Fame Classic. MV won the 2009 title and was fourth in the 1990 event.



Hall of Fame Classic at New Castle

Consolation Game

Mt. Vernon 70, Evansville Harrison 53

MV — Thompson 2-3 2-3 6, Werner 2-3 2-2 6, Shepherd 8-13 4-4 20, Coleman 7-14 4-6 20, Lohman 1-2 0-0 3, Wayer 1-1 0-0 2, Ertel 3-5 2-4 9, McCloud 2-4 0-1 4, Deckard 0-0 0-0 0, Stricker 0-1 0-0 0. Totals — 26-46 14-20 70.

EH — S. Duncan 4-9 2-2 11, Brown 2-2 1-2 5, Strong 0-3 0-0 0, Cunningham 1-8 0-0 2, E. Duncan 8-19 5-5 24, Patton 0-1 0-0 0, Felton 0-1 0-0 0, Shafer 2-5 0-0 5, Jennings 2-6 0-4 4, Kelly 0-1 2-3 2. Total — 19-54 10-16 53.


MV (3-5)   24   16   15   15  —   70

EH (3-4)    13   14   14   12  —   53

Three-pt. field goals: MV 4-9 (Werner 0-1, Coleman 2-5, Lohman 1-1, Ertel 1-2). EH 5-20 (S. Duncan 1-4, Cunningham 0-4, E. Duncan 3-9, Shafer 1-3).

Rebounds: MV 32 (Thompson 2, Werner 1, Shepherd 6, Coleman 8, Lohman 4, Ertel 3, McCloud 4, Sticker 1, Team 3), EH 32 (S. Duncan 5, Brown 4, Strong 2, Cunningham 1, E. Duncan 5, Patton 1, Felton 2, Shafer 3, Kelly 3, Team 6). Assists: MV 15 (Thompson 1, Shepherd 2, Coleman 4, Lohman 3, Ertel 3, McCloud 2), EH 7 (S. Duncan 1, Strong 2, Cunningham 1, E. Duncan 3). Steals: MV 9 (Thompson 1, Shepherd 1, Coleman 2, Lohman 1, Ertel 3, McCloud 1), EH 13 (S. Duncan 2, Strong 3, Cunningham 1, E. Duncan 3, Jennings 3, Kelly 1). Blocks: MV 2 (Thompson 2), EH 0. Total fouls: MV 16, EH 21. Fouled out: None. Turnovers: MV 17, EH 17.



First Round

Greensburg 48, Mt. Vernon 37

GB — Welage 4-8 4-5 12, Sellers 5-7 6-6 17, Holdsworth 2-3 0-1 5, Rigney 3-7 0-0 8, McIntosh 1-4 1-1 3, Burkert 0-0 0-0 0, Fleetwood 0-0 0-0 0, Lawrence 1-3 0-0 3, Wilson 0-0 0-0 0. Totals — 16-35 11-13 48.

MV — Thompson 0-1 0-0 0, Werner 2-7 0-0 4, Shepherd 2-3 6-8 10, Coleman 6-18 3-6 15, Lohman 0-1 0-0 0, Wayer 1-5 0-0 3, Ertel 2-3 0-0 5, McCloud 0-0 0-0 0, Deckard 0-0 0-0 0, Stricker 0-0 0-0 0. Totals — 13-38 9-14 37.


GB (8-0)    10   14   11   13  —   48

MV              11     8     7    11  —   37

Three-pt. field goals: GB 5-11 (Sellers 1-3, Holdsworth 1-2, Rigney 2-3, McIntosh 0-2, Lawrence 1-1). MV 2-11 Werner 0-2, Coleman 0-4, Wayer 1-3, Ertel 1-2).

Rebounds: GB 24 (Welage 5, Sellers 7, Holdsworth 2, Rigney 6, McIntosh 2, Team 2), MV 23 (Thompson 2, Werner 4, Shepherd 7, Coleman 4, Lohman 1, Wayer 1, McCloud 3, Deckard 1). Assists: GB 10 (Welage 1, Sellers 1, Holdsworth 4, Rigney 1, McIntosh 3), MV 4 (Thompson 1, Werner 1, Coleman 2). Steals: GB 3 (Sellers 1, Rigney 1, Lawrence 1), MV 6 (Werner 3, Coleman 2, Ertel 1). Blocks: GB 2 (Sellers 1, McIntosh 1), MV 0. Total fouls: GB 12, MV 13. Fouled out: Coleman (MV). Turnovers: GB 8, MV 8.

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