By Steven Kochersperger
If there is one team that seems to be dangerous come Homecoming time its the Princeton Tigers. A few weeks ago the Tigers knocked off the North Posey Vikings at Homecoming and this past friday they traveled to Mount Vernon in hopes of doing the same to the Wildcats. It wasn’t easy but the Mount Vernon boys basketball team was able to hang on in overtime to defeat Princeton 61-54.
It seemed to take time for the Wildcats to get into a rythym and they looked to struggle early on. But it took playing great defense to help create the offense and help Mount Vernon hold on for the win.
“We didn’t have a great shooting night but those nights happen,” Wildcat coach Marc Hostetter said.”We played well in the defensive half court and that made all the difference in the game.”
The very first period of play showcased the struggling offenses. Both Mount Vernon and Princeton struggled to take any kid of sizable lead and at the end of the opening period the Wildcats had the lead 8-6.
But it was Princeton that got their offense going first. With 1:50 left until halftime the Tigers built a four point lead behind a 6-0 run. This lead would not last long as Mount Vernon cut the lead to two at the half and then came out of the locker room tying the game and taking the lead behind the three point shooting of Bryce Newman. Newman hit two straight three point baskets to put the Wildcats up by four midway through the third period of play. Princeton was not able to do much with the four point defecit and at the end of the third period trailed Mount Vernon 35-31.
The Tigers were not to be denied in the fourth period though and with just five minutes to play Princeton tied the game at 35-35. Three minutes later the Tigers found themselves on top once again with a 43-39 lead. Princeton eventually built their fourth quarter lead to 46-41 and it didn’t look good at that point for the Wildcats.
But that’s when the Cats regrouped and began to lock their defense down. The Wildcats began going inside to their big men and that helped them get to the line and eventually tie the game at 48-48 behind two free throws from Senior Jevin Redman and send the game into overtime.
This was a point of emphasis for the Wildcats according to coach Hostetter. “We have emphasized going inside the last few games,” coach Hostetter said after the game.”When you start on the inside and work your way out it makes everything go smoother. It allows you to gain confidence and draw fouls as well. We have to get a lot more touches in the paint.”
This point of emphasis continued into the overtime and when Princeton began to miss their shots with under a minute to play it forced them to send the Wildcats to the line. The Cats stepped to the line and hit the last seven free throws to take the lead and win the game 61-54.
“We executed tonight and are happy with the win,”coach Hostetter said. “Princeton executed really well in the half court and once we were able to defend well it made the difference. We have to continue to play well fundamentally especially on times that we struggle offensively.”
The win helps the Wildcats build their overall record to 15-3 and 4-1 in the Big Eight Conference play. Earlier in the week the Cats lost big at home to the Central Bears. The Bears came into Mount Vernon and ran all over the Wildcat defense beating Mount Vernon 87-56 for their third loss of the season.
Leading the Wildcats in scoring Friday night was Senior Brian Koch who had 18 points in the Homecoming win. Bryce Newman added 14 for the Wildcats and Collin Varner had 10 in the win.
Mount Vernon will travel to Mount Carmel this Thursday night to take on the Golden Aces in an important Big Eight Conference matchup. Varsity tip off this Thursday is set for 7:30pm.
Before the game Wildcat Bryce Newman was awarded the Player of the week honors by ESPN 106.7. Also before the game Mount Vernon named their Homecoming King and Queen. The winners were Seniors Anthony Doty and Lauren Stemple.
By Steven Kochersperger
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