By Steven Kochersperger
The Mount Vernon boys’ basketball team traveled to Boonville this week to compete in the sectional matchups. Coming into the games the Wildcats felt they could compete with everyone in the bracket.
Mount Vernon had never won a sectional game in Boonville and had only won one post season game in the past ten years. All that changed this past week as Mount Vernon held on to beat Boonville in Friday’s matchup before losing in the championship game to Bosse on Saturday.
On Friday night the Wildcats took on the host school Boonville Pioneers. Boonville came out showing they were ready to play and took the early lead through their hard work and determination. The Pioneers had a seven-point lead at the end of the first quarter at 20-13 and were feeling pretty good about themselves.
The Wildcats would slowly battle their way back into the game in the second period and with the score tied junior Colton Irvin dunked the ball at the halftime buzzer to give the Wildcats a two-point lead 29-27.
In the third period the Wildcats and Pioneers traded baskets for almost the entire period and Mount Vernon took a two-point lead into the final period of play.
It was in that final period that Mount Vernon looked to put Boonville away going up by 10 points midway through the period. But Boonville battled back and pulled within three points of Mount Vernon with under a minute in the game to play. Mount Vernon struggled at the end to hit free throws that would have iced the game but instead it gave Boonville the chance to take the ball upcourt for the tie. But when Pioneer Justin Beard missed a three pointer at the buzzer it gave Mount Vernon their first ever sectional win at Booonville 61-58 and sent the Wildcats into the championship game on Saturday against the Bosse Bulldogs.
In Friday’s match up Collin Varner had 22 points and Brian Koch added 14 to lead Mount Vernon into the championship game.
That championship game on Saturday against Bosse held a lot of promise for the Wildcats. From the tip off Mount Vernon showed all in attendance they were showing up to win the game not just compete. Bryce Newman and Collin Varner hit the first two shots of the game to put the Wildcats up early 4-0. But Bosse would use their physical game and outside shooting to go on a 20-2 run in the first period and led 20-6 at the end of the period.
Mount Vernon would chip away at Bosse’s lead in the second period but only were able to get the deficit down to 12 points and when the halftime buzzer sounded Bosse led 38-19.
Bosse would then put the game on cruise control and never really take their foot off the gas. Mount Vernon would outscore the Bulldogs in the fourth quarter 21-11 but it was too little too late and Bosse cruised for the sectional title, beating the Wildcats 81-62.
Junior Colton Irvin led the Cats Saturday with 14 points while Collin Varner had 13 and Bryce Newman added 10. Senior Brandon Roy hit two free throws at the end of the game to have the final two points of the Wildcat season.
And though the sectional ended up featuring a win, something the Wildcats have not seen in post season in a while, coach Hostetter says its not easy to lose any championship especially with this team.
“We have no wishes or regrets.” Hostetter said.”We’re not wishing we did this or that or regretting anything else and that’s all we can ask. We played hard all night and it just didn’t go our way tonight. We have a great group of kids that from the first day of practice came to compete. They came together to accomplish all their goals. We didn’t come in here tonight to just compete, we came here to win a championship and we believed we could win it. It didn’t necessarily happen for us but we have to be ready in every game and we were.”
An emotional Brian Koch reflected after the game on his four years playing for Mount Vernon saying he is proud of his years as a Wildcat.
“It’s been an honor to wear this jersey and play for Mount Vernon,” Koch said. ”This year coach got us together and got us to believe and we took it on full force from day one. That’s why this loss hurts so bad. We did things this year that teams in the past haven’t. We made believers out of our fans and out of our town. I’m proud and happy but it’s not easy to have it end.”
The Wildcats ended the season with a final record of 17-7. This great season was one to remember for seniors Collin Varner, Jevin Redman, Brian Koch, River VanZant, Drake McNamara and Brandon Roy.
By Steven Kochersperger
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