By PAUL HINES
The Rams needed a defensive stop to force overtime in Saturday’s game against Teutopolis.
Instead with the game tied and 2.5 seconds left, the Wooden Shoes went the length of the court and Cody Will put in a layup at the buzzer. The bucket gave the Wooden Shoes a 48-46 win.
“We let them throw it to the 3-point line completely open with no resistance, and then we let them back door us for a layup,” Mt. Vernon coach Scott Gamber said. “I have no idea what was going through our minds on that.”
Mt. Vernon had its own chance to win the game in the closing seconds. With the clock ticking below five seconds, Braden Fitzjerrells drove down the lane. He drew contact, but the call resulted in a Mt. Vernon turnover that gave Teutopolis the ball and one last chance at a game winner.
“We just can’t give them a chance to score there when we have the ball,” Gamber said. “At worst we should have been in overtime and instead it didn’t work out that way.”
Mt. Vernon has lost three out of its last four games at the buzzer.
Fitzjerrells led the Rams with 12 points. Jake Pike was also in double figures with 11.
The game was closely contested throughout. Mt. Vernon trailed early in the first but took a 17-11 edge after the opening quarter. The Rams held a lead until the final seconds but couldn’t ever open a comfortable margin.
Teutopolis consistently passed the ball into post player Kyle Pruemer in the first half. The 6-6 senior missed just one shot in the half and scored 12 of his game high 19.
“I thought we let him get to his left shoulder way too much,” Gamber said. “I think the whole key was we let him get it in too good of spots.”
Despite Pruemer’s offense, Mt. Vernon took a 27-24 lead into halftime. The Rams added to their lead immediately in the third quarter. Michael Feezer hit Pike with a lob pass. Trevor Flota followed with a bucket that put the Rams up 31-24. But again the Wooden Shoes closed the gap.
“I thought a couple times I really felt like we had a chance to get the game to where we were going to close it out and just never could get there,” Gamber said.
Mt. Vernon took a three-point advantage into the final quarter and led by three with less than a minute left in the game. Derek Smith tied the game at 46 with 26.8 seconds left after a three-point play.
“You can’t give them a three-point play in that circumstance,” Gamber said. “If he beats you off the dribble and he’s going to score let him score. Or foul him so hard he’s not going to get the basket.”
Mt. Vernon is 8-7 this season.