Mt. Vernon girls clinch third conference title in four years

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Mt. Vernon’s Khloe Patterson (25) and Ellery Minch (12) celebrate after winning their game against Pendleton Heights on Saturday, December 3, 2022. On Monday, the Marauders clinched the outright championship in the Hoosier Heritage Conference.

By Brady Extin | Daily Reporter

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MUNCIE — Mt. Vernon being at the top of the girls’ basketball Hoosier Heritage Conference standings has become a common occurrence in recent years.

This year is no different.

On Monday night, the Marauders traveled to Delta and defeated the host Eagles 68-34 to secure the outright HHC title, ending the season 7-0 in conference play.

“It’s a great thing. We’ve got a tough conference, and obviously it’s fun to win it,” Mt. Vernon head coach Julie Shelton said. “But I told them we have one day to celebrate, and then we’ve got to focus. It’s kind of a bummer to win it so late because you can’t really enjoy it with it being sectional time.”

The title was Mt. Vernon’s third in the last four seasons.

In the 2019-20 and 2020–21 seasons the Marauders were 7-0 in the HHC, and last year, the Marauders missed out on being champions by one game finishing 6-1 in conference play to Pendleton Heights’ 7-0.

This season, the two schools flipped spots in the standings after Mt. Vernon defeated the Arabians 50-38 earlier in the season to give them their lone conference loss.

“I’ve had a lot of great kids, we have a system, all of the coaching staff has been here for a while now, and the kids have continued to buy in and continue to work, so that really helps,” Shelton said.

Monday night’s game was originally scheduled for the previous Thursday, but due to weather, was pushed back.

With the final game coming later in the season than normal, and with Mt. Vernon gearing up for sectional play, there were some slight worries from Shelton that the contest could be a trap game for her team.

“A little bit. Obviously, you worry about that,” Shelton said. “You worry too about how the focus is because you’re going to have to play one of your best games all season come Friday. So it’s just that whole balance of trying to get things done correctly (Monday), but a trap game always goes through your head.”

Mt. Vernon put any thought of that to rest early.

A Khloe Patterson jumper got the Marauders on the board first, and just a few minutes later, two Ellery Minch 3-pointers pushed the lead to 8-2.

By the end of the quarter, they increased the lead to 14-5, and entered halftime up 30-16.

Early in the second half, the Eagles brought the lead down to 12, but that was as close as they would get.

In a 32-20 game, Mt. Vernon showed why they were the HHC champions, reeling off a 19-0 run to put the game away for good.

Kanyonrae Kenny started the run with a 3-pointer and totaled five points over the stretch. Easton Wampler knocked down a 3-pointer, layup and free throw, Minch hit a layup and four free throws, and Patterson had a bucket.

“I think especially in the second half, we did a much better job of moving the ball and sharing the ball,” Shelton said. “Delta had a good game plan, they doubled our inside player which made it a little tougher to get some kick outs, and that’s where we are usually pretty good, kicking out for 3s. I thought we did a better job of cutting through the paint and passing the ball in the second half.”

Led by Minch’s 22 points, eight different Marauders found the basket.

Kaitlyn Laffey had 10, Kenny had nine, Wampler had eight, both Patterson and Addison Bucksot scored six, Sam Mrnak scored two baskets, and Reagan Britt knocked down a 3-pointer.

Mt. Vernon’s next game is Friday at 6 p.m. in the IHSAA Sectional 9 semifinals hosted at Mt. Vernon. They will play the winner of the Greenfield-Central and Pendleton Heights game taking place at 6 p.m. tonight.

Mt. Vernon 68, Delta 34

Mt. Vernon;14;16;23;15; — ;68

Delta;5;11;12;6; — ;34

Mt. Vernon (17-6, 7-0): Ellery Minch 7 6-6 22, Kanyonrae Kenny 3 2-2 9, Easton Wampler 3 1-1 8, Khloe Patterson 2 2-2 6, Kaitlyn Laffey 5 0-0 10, Reagan Britt 1 0-0 3, Sam Mrnak 2 0-0 4, Addison Bucksot 2 2-2 6. Totals: 25 13-13 68.

Delta (6-15, 1-6): Jillian Barr 4 1-2 9 Hannah Carter 2 0-0 6, Paizley Cool 0 0-0 0, Griffyn Knight 0 0-0 0, Elizabeth Bamidele 2 3-4 9, Ruth Sherck 1 0-0 3, Mackenna Bell 0 0-0 0, Hailee Hamilton 1 0-0 2, Ava Montero 2 1-2 5. Totals: 12 5-8 34.

3-point goals: Mt. Vernon 5 (Minch 2, Kenny 1, Wampler 1, Britt 1), Delta 5 (Carter 2,Bamidele 2, Sherck 1)