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INDIANAPOLIS — When Erica Moore picked up her second foul seconds before the first quarter ended, it could’ve been a crippling setback for Mt. Vernon against a physical Western Boone team.

Instead, the Marauders stepped up, and their freshman point guard led the charge.

Sydney Shelton tallied seven points during a 12-3 run to open the second quarter and recorded eight fourth-quarter points as 3A No. 7 Mt. Vernon defeated Western Boone 55-41 at Bankers Life Fieldhouse Thursday during the Fieldhouse Challenge.

It was the sixth straight triumph for MV (11-2), which won its fourth consecutive Hancock County Tournament championship Saturday.

Moore, who scored eight points and grabbed three rebounds in the opening frame, registered her second foul with 3.6 seconds left in the opening quarter and sat the entire second period.

“That’s really hard. When (Moore) sits on the bench, it’s always hard for us because we need her in the game,” said Shelton who scored seven of her team’s first 12 points and assisted on another bucket to open the second quarter. “When she went out we said, ‘OK, let’s go. Time to step it up and do it for her.’”

By defeating the Stars, a squad the Marauders could face in the Danville Regional, the black-and-gold took another step in regaining its defensive identity.

Mt. Vernon was active in its zone defense, notching 16 steals and causing pressure that directly led to most of Western Boone’s 24 turnovers. MV held the Stars to 17-of-51 (33 percent) shooting, including a 0-of-11 mark from 3.

However, the Marauders were outrebounded 38-27, surrendering 15 offensive boards.

“We haven’t rebounded the ball as well as we should all year. That’s been a problem all year, so it doesn’t surprise me,” said MV coach Julie Shelton, whose team entered Thursday yielding 45.6 points per game, the highest for the program since the 2007-08 campaign (47.6 ppg). “It’s something we’re going to have to figure out how to fix getting closer to tournament time.”

Shelton’s 3-pointer and assist on a bucket to Moore got Mt. Vernon off on the right foot to begin the second half, but the Stars recovered and were down 33-26 to end the third quarter.

Any Western Boone comeback hopes were quelled by Rachel Houck, who notched seven of her 10 points — including a triple from behind the NBA 3-point line and an old fashioned 3-point play — in the final frame.

Shelton finished with a game-high 20 points, going 8-of-8 from the free-throw line. She believes her team is turning the corner on its defensive struggles.

“We are really good when we want to be, when we put forth the effort. I think sometimes we get distracted,” said Shelton, who also had six rebounds, three assists and two steals. “We have had games where we get rebounds and steals. I think it’s just a matter of a will to do it every single possession and knowing that you have to do it every possession.”

Moore had 19 points, and now has scored in double digits in each game this season. The junior center also registered nine rebounds and four steals. Houck added three assists and six steals.

Emily Harrison notched a double-double (10 points, 11 rebounds) for Western Boone (10-5).

Mt. Vernon hosts Noblesville (6-5) Saturday. The Millers are headed by former Greenfield-Central coach Donna Keck.

“We still have several good games left. Noblesville will be a good test for us, especially coming off this game,” commented Julie Shelton, whose team has won its last eight games by at least 13 points. “We’ll see how we do.”

Notes: MV’s Ellie Balbach, out for three weeks recovering from a concussion, saw extensive action and finished with two points. … Western Boone competes in the Sectional 25, which is hosted by 3A No. 4 Lebanon (12-2). The Tigers beat Western Boone 61-53 on Dec. 7. … AAA Insurance honored Harrison and Houck at halftime for having their teams’ highest grade point averages.

 

Mt. Vernon 55, Western Boone 41

WB — Harrison 5-15 0-0 10, Mitchell 4-9 0-0 8, Ramey 1-9 2-4 4, Miller 3-7 1-4 7, Climer 1-5 0-0 2, Marsh 1-2 0-0 2, Vanderpool 2-4 4-6 8, Hoffman 0-0 0-0 0 . Totals — 17-51 7-14 41.

MV — Moore 9-20 1-1 19, Shelton 5-17 8-8 20, Houck 3-10 2-3 10, Shockley 1-2 0-0 2, Duff 0-3 0-3 0, Walrod 0-2 2-2 2, Balbach 1-2 0-0 2. Totals — 19-56 13-17 55.

SCORE BY QUARTERS

WB (10-5)       8       11    7     15   — 41

MV (11-2)      10      14    9     22   — 55

Three-pt. field goals: WB 0-11 (Mitchell 0-3, Ramey 0-2, Miller 0-2, Climer 0-3, Vanderpool 0-1), MV 4-11 (Shelton 2-5, Houck 2-5, Walrod 0-1).

Rebounds: WB 38 (Harrison 11, Mitchell 8, Ramey 4, Miller 5, Climer 1, Marsh 6, Vanderpool 2), MV 27 (Moore 9, Shelton 6, Houck 1, Shockley 2, Duff 4, Walrod 4, Balbach 1. Assists: WB 5 (Mitchell 3, Vanderpool 1, Hoffman 1), MV 10 (Moore 1, Shelton 3, Houck 3, Shockley 1, Duff 1, Walrod 1). Steals: WB 5 (Mitchell 3, Ramey 1, Climer 1), MV 16 (Moore 4, Shelton 2, Houck 6, Shockley 1, Walrod 3). Blocks: WB 1 (Harrison 1), MV 1 (Moore 1). Total fouls: WB 16, MV 16. Fouled out: Harrison (WB). Turnovers: WB 24, MV 12.

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