FISHERS — Recently, the spotlight hasn’t been too bright for Mt. Vernon against bigger schools.
In its season opener last season, MV shocked 4A Noblesville in its own gym.
Friday night, the Marauders one-upped themselves by taking down yet another team from Sectional 8.
3A No. 7 Mt. Vernon outplayed 4A No. 6 Hamilton Southeastern down the stretch and prevailed 52-49, handing HSE its first home loss since February 15, 2011.
“It’s good to get a statement win against a big school with committed players,” MV guard Anthony Burnett said. “We’re little Mt. Vernon. No one thinks we can win, but we’ve got a great team.”
The Marauders blanked the Royals in the game’s final 1:35, and sank three of six free throws en route to scoring the game’s final five points.
With 6:30 remaining in the final quarter, MV held a 44-41 before Zak Irvin, a 6-8 Michigan recruit, embarked a personal 7-0 run to seize the lead.
Four Marauder turnovers aided the momentum swing, sending the home crowd into a deafening frenzy.
The visitors recovered by setting up shop at the free-throw line.
Dan Werner hit one of two, then CJ Coleman connected on a pair to push MV ahead 47-46.
Pat Furlin’s 3-pointer put HSE back out in front by two, but Coleman leveled the game with a jumper, then got the Marauders back on the line with a drive to the basket.
Coleman was knocked hard to the floor on the foul and left the game. Christian Smith hit one of two freebies in his stead to make the score 50-49 in favor of Mt. Vernon.
Stephen Turner intercepted a Royal pass on the next possession, was fouled and converted one of two from the charity stripe.
HSE called its last timeout, then went right to Irvin.
His deep 3-point attempt hit back iron and went high into the air.
The 6-3 Werner snared the board, and was fouled with 4.3 seconds remaining. He went to the line with a chance to put the game away.
“I knew if got that rebound, we win the game,” he said. “I just had to do it for my team.”
At the line, Werner gave a knowing nod to the boisterous MV student section.
He made the first, but missed the second one. Irvin corralled the rebound, loped upcourt and attempted what would’ve been a game-trying triple.
The shot was long, and the Marauders garnered an unlikely road win for the second year in a row.
“You can see whether you were in the locker room or in the stands, MV coach Steve Lynch said, “when it got tough … when they made the run and took the lead, we got tighter.
“That’s a special group of guys. Now we’ll see what we can do with it and where we can go with it. We have a lot of work to do.”
Coleman led all scorers with 20 points, and added an MV-high seven rebounds. Turner scored 14 points and grabbed five rebounds.
The Marauders employed a 1-3-1 half court trap to mix with their usual 2-3 zone on defense to minimize Irvin’s impact.
The result was a lot of 3’s taken by HSE — 25 to be exact — but the Royals only converted eight of them, and shot just 39 percent (17-of-44) from the field.
Mt. Vernon stormed out the gates and took a 14-7 lead into the second quarter.
Six different players scored for Hamilton Southeastern in the second frame, and it took a 27-25 lead into the break.
The third quarter featured five different lead changes and resulted with the visitors taking a 40-39 advantage into the final eight minutes.
Burnett connected on two of his five assists to begin the quarter, finding Turner for a layup that prompted Lynch to fist-pump his way up and down the MV bench.
On the next possession, Burnett located an open Werner for an easy bucket to give the Marauders a 44-39 lead, which gave way to Irvin’s run.
Six of the nine players Lynch put into the game scored, and MV assisted on 10 of its 17 made field goals.
“We got great contributions from Christian Smith, Alec Lohman, Lucas Rice … guys off the bench,” Lynch said. “Guys gave great positives and very few negatives.”
Mt. Vernon’s defense was also stiff, limiting Hamilton Southeastern (3-1) to its lowest point total since Jan. 28, 2011 (45 points).
Before the game, Lynch preached three “R’s,” to his team.
“The first was respect that you can earn in a game like this. The responsibility — we used responsibility twice — the responsibility to each other and to our community,” he said. “There were times in the fourth quarter I didn’t hear their side because our side was so loud.
“When you’re supported like that … one of the things we talked about was the responsibility to do the things you’re supposed to do.”
Burnett added that last season’s team got “overconfident” following the Noblesville win, and MV ended up splitting its first four contests.
“We’ve got to keep working,” he said. “We just have to prepare for two games next week.”
MV (2-0) takes on Pendleton Heights (1-0) next Friday before taking on New Castle (2-1) at Bankers Life Fieldhouse a week from today.
The Trojans beat Greenfield-Central 55-41 Friday night.
“I think my team is a confident bunch,” Lynch said. “You always worry about overconfidence, but I think the confidence and the belief you can do it is a huge thing when accomplishing any task.”
Notes: HSE took the JV game 45-26. Seth Christenson led MV with 10 points. … Entering Friday, the Royals were 52-11 since the start of the 2009 season. … MV had lost four straight to HSE, its last win coming on Nov. 30, 2007.
Mt. Vernon 52, Hamilton Southeastern 49
MV — Coleman 8-18, 2-4 20, Turner 5-9 3-4 14, Burnett 2-4 1-2 5, Werner 2-3 6-8 10, Spears 1-7 0-0 2, Smith 0-0 1-2 1, Lohman 0-0 0-0 0, Rice 0-0 0-0. Totals — 17-41 13-20 52.
HS — Irvin 8-20 1-4 19, Davidson 2-7 2-2 7, Jenkins 3-6 2-4 10, Furlin 3-6 0-0 8, Risley 0-1 2-2 2, Barksdale 0-1 0-0 0, Ford 0-0 0-0 0, Culp 0-1 0-0 0, Wethington 0-1 0-0 0, Janney 1-1 0-0 3. Totals — 17-44 7- 12 49.
SCORE BY QUARTERS
MV (2-0) 14 11 15 12 — 52
HS (3-1) 7 20 12 10 — 49
Three-pt. field goals: MV 3-5 (Coleman 2-3, Turner 2-2), HS 8-25 (Irvin 2-10, Davidson 1-5, Jenkins 2-4, Furlin 2-5, Janney 1-1).
Rebounds: MV 27 (Coleman 7, Turner 5, Burnett 3, Werner 3, Spears 5, Smith 4), HS 19 (Irvin 8, Davidson 2, Jenkins 1, Risley 4, Ford 1, Culp 1, Janney 1). Assists: MV 10 (Coleman 1, Burnett 5, Werner 2, Spears 1, Lohman 1), HS 6 (Irvin 2, Jenkins 2, Barksdale 1, Wethington 1). Steals: MV 12 (Coleman 2, Turner 3, Burnett 1, Werner 2, Spears 3, Lohman 1), HS 3 (Irvin 1, Davidson 2). Blocks: MV 0, HS 2 (Irvin 1, Risley 1). Total fouls: MV 13, HS 19. Fouled out: Risley (HS). Turnovers: MV 10, HS 11.
Hamilton Southeastern 45, Mt. Vernon 26
MV — Forsythe 2, Hays 5, Deekard 1, Christenson 10, Smith 3, Wayer 5.