SALEM — Edwardsville rode an early double-digit lead to a 61-53 win Friday night over Mt. Vernon in the Salem Invitational Tournament semifinals.
Edwardsville built a 15-3 lead early in the opening quarter. Mt. Vernon sliced the deficit down to two early in the third but couldn't get closer.
Shakari Hawkins led Mt. Vernon with 17 points, and Braden Fitzjerrells finished with 13. Jake Pike added a dozen for the Rams.
Mt. Vernon entered the third quarter down 28-20. Doug Gardner nailed a pair of 3-pointers to pull the Rams to within two points at 28-26 early in the period. Edwardsville clung to a 34-30 edge midway through the quarter before ending the period with a big run. The Tigers finished the quarter with an 8-0 surge. The late run gave the Tigers a 42-30 advantage going into the final quarter.
Edwardsville's Shawn Roundtree led all scorers with 27 points. Armon Fletcher added 13.
Edwardsville hurt the Rams from behind the arc in the opening two quarters. Edwardsville hit six 3-pointers in the half. Roundtree canned four and paced the attack with 16 points.
The Tigers doubled the Rams up at 18-9 after the opening period. The Rams were down as much as 15-3 to start the game after a 7-0 surge from the Tigers to start the game.
Mt. Vernon clawed back into the game early in the second quarter. Hawkins hit a jumper to start the quarter. Dylan Reeves made the score 18-13 after an offensive rebound putback. He was also fouled but missed his free throw.
The Tigers pressured the Rams into eight turnovers in the opening half.
Fitzjerrells paced a balanced Rams attack in the opening half with six points. Jake Pike added five.
In the first semifinal game of the evening, Centralia knocked off Effingham. Centralia advanced to tonight's championship game while Effingham plays in the third-place game against Mt. Vernon at 5 p.m. tonight.