FORTVILLE — Once Mt. Vernon got playing at a comfortable pace it made things very uncomfortable for Southport.

In the home opener for the boys basketball team, Mt. Vernon — after a first-quarter struggle — outscored Southport 17-4 in the second, on its way to a 54-21 win Friday.

Mt. Vernon shot just 30.8 percent (4 of 13) in the first quarter.

Including 4 of 5 shooting from sophomore guard Julien Smith, Mt. Vernon shot 70 percent (7 of 10) in the game-deciding second period.

“We’re really trying to find the rhythm of the game and our offense,” Mt. Vernon head coach Joe Bradburn said. “Julien (Smith) is extremely talented and we’re trying to get him to control the tempo of the game and get us into our sets and in our offense. That’s a work in progress we’re trying to do this early in the season.”

Smith and the Marauder offense, starting late in the first went on a 14-0 run.

Southport led 8-5 with 2:55 remaining in the opening period. The Cardinals did not score again until a Samuel Lloyd bucket at the 4:10 mark of the second. By then, Mt. Vernon had a 19-10 lead.

Smith quickly answered the Lloyd basket to get the lead back to double digits. The next points for the Marauders came on a baseline drive and dunk from 6-6 sophomore R’mani Wells.

A Smith hoop, with the clock running down, gave Mt. Vernon a 27-12 halftime lead.

“I was very pleased as the game went on how we started getting in that rhythm,” Bradburn said. “(Smith) was controlling the tempo and controlling the offense and relaying what we were in. It’s going to be huge to develop that poise against teams we’re going to play.

“It allowed us to settle down and get us some in-out looks. That’s going to be a big part of our philosophy throughout the year.”

Smith finished with a game-high 18 points. He was 8 of 11 from the field and 2 of 2 at the free-throw line. Wells was the only other player in double figures. He had 11, including a pair of dunks.

Lone senior Brady Fitzgerald hit two of the Marauders three 3-pointers and finished with eight. Battling foul trouble most of the night, Tanner Teschendorf finished with six, which also included a dunk.

The Marauders started the second half as they left off the first.

Fitzgerald hit a 3 for MV’s first points. After a Southport free throw, Smith scored twice. Sub Tyler Davis scored next on a nice pass from Elijah Parra to increase Mt. Vernon’s lead to 36-13, forcing a Cardinal timeout.

Bradburn not only praised the play of Smith, but many of the players that saw action Friday, including Davis and Ryker Baer who — along with Wells and Teschendorf with their dunks — brought some energy to the team after a slow start.

Fitzgerald was commended for his senior leadership and focus.

Friday’s win was the 302nd of coach Bradburn’s career, but first as the head coach at Mt. Vernon.

“It was exciting,” Bradburn said. “The guys were celebrating it as much as anything. That’s the special thing when you have a group of guys that buy in and enjoy playing together and play for a common purpose. That’s what made it more fun.”

Southport (1-2) was led in scoring by Michael Johnson with nine points. The Cardinals host Bloomington South next Friday.

Mt. Vernon (1-1) returns to action tonight at top-ranked Fishers and opens Hoosier Heritage Conference play next Friday at Pendleton Heights.

Mt. Vernon 54, Southport 21


Mt. Vernon;10;17;13;14;—;54

Southport (1-2): Michael Johnson 3 3-4 9, Cristian Webster 0 0-0 0, Caleb Wolsiffer 0 2-2 2, Jack Turner 1 2-3 4, James Kalala 2 0-3 4, Nilyn Compton 0 0-2 0, Donovan Brewer 0 0-0 0, Jye Rudolph 0 0-0 0, Samuel Lloyd 1 0-0 2. Totals: 7 7-14 21.

Mt. Vernon (1-1): Elijah Parra 1 0-0 3, Julien Smith 8 2-2 18, Brady Fitzgerald 3 0-0 8, Tanner Teschendorf 3 0-0 6, R’mani Wells 4 3-3 11, Charlie Cross 0 0-0 0, Aden Daugherty 2 0-0 4, Tyler Davis 2 0-0 4, Ryker Baer 0 0-0 0, Sebastian Sprague 0 0-0 0, Max Vise 0 0-0 0. Totals: 23 5-5 54.

3-point goals: Mt. Vernon 3 (Fitzgerald 2, Parra)