MT. VERNON —
Highland built an early lead and held off a late run from the Lady Rams to win 49-41 Tuesday night.
“We would have had to play perfect to beat them tonight, and we knew that going in,” Mt. Vernon coach Jeff Lonnon said.
Courtney Scarbrough led all scorers with 17 points for Mt. Vernon. Hannah Owens added a double double. She finished with 13 points and a dozen rebounds.
Oliva LaPorta finished with 14 points and six rebounds to lead Highland on an efficient six of 10 from the field.
“We were going to have to focus on her coming in,” Lonnon said. “But the problem is we focus on her, and then they've got some really nice, little guards that go around her that move it and shoot it and drive it.”
Highland raced out to a 20-8 opening period lead. Mt. Vernon finished the quarter with seven turnovers.
The Lady Bulldogs maintained their double-digit lead throughout the game. But in the final period the Lady Rams made a push.
Mt. Vernon trailed 43-29 going into the last quarter. Owens converted a layup, and Scarbrough canned a 3-pointer with four minutes remaining. The buckets helped Mt. Vernon close the gap to 43-34.
Mt. Vernon had three more chances to slice the deficit down, but each possession ended with a turnover. Mt. Vernon ended with 17 turnovers in the game.
“They cranked it up a little bit defensively,” Lonnon said. “They're a great basketball team. They're very strong, and they're tough to beat.”
Highland pushed the margin back to 11 following the Lady Rams third consecutive miscue. Scarbrough briefly brought the deficit back down to nine with another basket, but Highland responded with a score of its own.
MT. Vernon ended the game 17 of 40 from the field. The Lady Rams attempted six free throws in the game.
“No. 1 we're not getting to the free throw line near enough,” Lonnon said. “You can't shoot six free throws and win close games.”
Mt. Vernon is 9-8 this season and host South Seven Conference foe Althoff on Thursday night. The Lady Rams are 5-1 in conference play this season.