MT. VERNON — The Rams begin their postseason journey with their most familiar foe over the past few seasons.
Wednesday's meeting between Mt. Vernon and Marion in the 3A Herrin regional will be the fourth matchup for the two teams this season. They also faced four times last year.
“Both teams know what the other one is wanting to do offensively,” Mt. Vernon coach Scott Gamber said. “I think both teams will take away a lot of the first option. So can we find other ways to score? And can we get some stops?”
Mt. Vernon has won two of the three regular season matchups this season. The Rams took away a 74-62 win in the Herrin Pyramid Plus Tournament. The Rams and Wildcats met twice in South Seven Conference action with both teams winning on the opponent's home court. The most recent meeting came in Marion with the Rams claiming a 66-63 overtime victory.
“I think these two teams are as evenly matched as you can get,” Gamber said. “Just everything. And it's been interesting just how the games have gone.”
Moe Jackson, Coltan Carter and Carsen Cash were all focal points for the Marion offense in the last meeting. The trio combined to score 50 of the team's 63 points and shot 20 of 35 from the field.
“We have had a really tough time guarding Carsen Cash,” Gamber said. “He has killed us in three games, and then Coltan Carter had a huge game against us at Marion.”
Mt. Vernon ended the regular season Friday with a one-point loss in Changnon Gymnasium to rival Centralia. Gamber said his team can take several positives out of the game, despite the loss.
“I feel really good and confident about the way we played, how we guarded,” Gamber said. “I felt we had a lot of positives Friday night but then the negative of we did not find a way to win at the end, and we've said that a few times down the stretch.”