MT. VERNON —
Sports fans crowded into Changnon Gymnasium Friday night for the annual Meet the Teams event.
Basketball, dance and cheerleading teams entertained the hundreds in attendance to watch the squads.
“That's what it's for,” Mt. Vernon girls basketball coach Jeff Lonnon said. “It's for the fans and everybody to meet the team. Each year is a different group of kids and a different makeup. We do this for the public. We think it's a good thing. We want to showcase our kids out here doing something positive and representing our school. So far it's been a success.”
The night serves as one of the final preparations for the season openers for Mt. Vernon's girls and boys basketball teams.
“I think tonight is really important for us because you can simulate a lot of things in practice, but you can never simulate the crowd and the atmosphere and just playing in front of people with officials and whatnot,” Mt. Vernon boys basketball coach Scott Gamber said. “So I think tonight was important for us. I saw good and bad.”
The Lady Rams practice one final time today ahead of their Nashville tournament opener. Mt. Vernon faces the No. 10 ranked team in 1A Okawville on Monday night.
“They're always year in and year out one of the best small school programs in the south,” Lonnon said. “It's not different this year. We expect to have a tough battle. We expect that they will compete with us quite well. They always have.”
Mt. Vernon's boys squad travels south to Herrin for a tournament. The Rams collide with South Seven Conference foe Marion in the opener Monday night. During the scrimmage Friday, Gamber used Bryce Hunter and Doug Gardner to start along with Jake Pike, Braden Fitzjerrells and Shakari Hawkins. He said that will likely be the Rams starting lineup in the opener.
“It could change Tuesday night,” Gamber said. “I told our guys, I don't expect to have the same starting lineup every game of that tournament. Now if we play great and it worked out, we will.”