FORTVILLE — After last week’s senior night game, Mt. Vernon boys basketball coach Steve Lynch stressed the importance of rebounding if the top-ranked Marauders are to be successful in the state tournament.
And did MV ever respond in that area Tuesday night.
The Marauders got after the boards plenty enough, and especially late, to stave off pesky Brebeuf Jesuit 51-39 in the first round of Class 3A Sectional 26.
MV (20-1) pulled down 36 rebounds to the Braves’ 20, with senior Stephen Turner leading the way with 11, the back end of a double-double (14 points).
“Coach really emphasized getting on the glass this week in practice because we gave up some offensive rebounds the last couple of games,” Turner said. “We were focused on that in practice and it showed in the game, because we were able to convert some rebounds.”
As the Marauders were nursing a lead in the fourth quarter, they were able to cash in on two key second chances.
CJ Coleman came away with the ball under the MV basket off an Anthony Burnett miss and from there deposited an off-balance banker. Coleman got a three-point play opportunity out of it and finished it, and the Marauders padded their advantage to 35-30.
About two minutes later, MV got it up to five again when Zach Spears cleaned up a 3-point try by fellow sophomore Dan Werner and put it home.
The Braves (11-10) closed to within 39-37 with just over two minutes to go, but the Marauders scored the next five points — including a basket and two foul shots by Spears — and made it a three-possession game with 45 ticks showing.