By Rick Hayes
MT. VERNON —
On paper, Lovejoy was outmatched by the Mt. Vernon Rams.
On the floor, it was much the same.
The Rams jumped out to a 16-2 first-quarter lead and cruised to an 82-40 victory at Changnon Gym on Tuesday.
With a school enrollment of 36 and only eight players dressed out, Lovejoy struggled to keep up with the fast-paced Rams, who jumped out to a 10-0 lead before the Wildcats could get untracked. Missing their first 10 shots, the Wildcats didn't score until 2:20 left in the opening stanza.
The Rams extended their lead to 13 by halftime with a 26-13 cushion. With a 9-3 run to start the third quarter the Rams essentially put the game away, leading 35-16 when Braden Fitzgerrells drove the baseline for a hoop.
“I think in the first half, I don't think they were bad shots, but I thought we settled for way too many perimeter shots,” said Mt. Vernon coach Scott Gamber. “If we're playing a team and that's all they gave us …. when they're going in that's okay but when you're whatever we were in the first half you've got to try something different.”
Mt. Vernon outscored Lovejoy 30-12 in the third quarter, not settling for perimeter shots, but attacking the rim.
“In the second half, those 3's that weren't going in started falling, and I thought we distributed the ball better,” Gamber added.
The Rams were 3-of-12 from beyond the arc in the first half and finished the game with eight treys, including three from senior Jake Pike, who finished with 11 points.
Shakari Hawkins led Mt. Vernon with 21 points, many of them inside the blocks where he dominated the opposition. Fitzjerrells added 15 points and several assists.
Lovejoy's Martez Agnew led the Wildcats with 16 points and teammate Darryl Robinson added 13.
“I worry about a game like this because the style of play we played tonight is not at all conducive to what we're going to have to play Friday night against Carbondale. We're happy with the win but we're going to throw it out,” Gamber said.
The Rams improved to 14-10 and will host the Terriers at Changnon on Friday.