By Paul Hines
The Comanches hurt Mt. Vernon on the glass and in transition Tuesday night.
Cahokia won the game 59-45.
“Trying to look at things positive, I thought our defense was pretty good,” Mt. Vernon coach Scott Gamber said. “From the standpoint of first shots, we could not have executed our game plan a whole lot better.”
Cahokia racked up nine offensive rebounds – many led to easy baskets- in the opening half. The extra chances help Cahokia build a 31-19 edge at halftime. The Comanches also beat the Rams in transition several times and finished with six dunks.
“Those two things, you could throw out everything else, and that's what got us beat,” Gamber said.
Cahokia's Darius Austin finished with 21 points to lead all scorers.
Shakari Hawkins led Mt. Vernon with 19 points. Jake Pike added eight, and Braden Fitzjerrells finished with six along with Doug Gardner. Pike was in foul trouble throughout the game and fouled out with five minutes left.
“Jake's way too important to our ballclub to be out as much as we was,” Gamber said.
Cahokia scored the opening basket and trailed just briefly in the game. Hawkins put the Rams up 9-8 midway through the opening quarter. The Comanches finished the first quarter strong and seized a 17-13 edge.
The margin grew in the second quarter. Carleton Rivers threw down a dunk to put the Comanches up 24-15 with 3:28 left in the half.
Gary Hickman closed the first half scoring with a 3-pointer to give Cahokia a 31-19 lead.
Austin hurt the Rams throughout the half. He gobbled up five offensive rebounds. Several he converted into easy putback baskets.
Mt. Vernon trailed by double digits throughout the third quarter before chipping away at the Cahokia advantage in the final period.
Hawkins made the score 51-41 with less than three minutes left. Fitzjerrells later dropped in a long-range shot to slice the deficit to 52-44.
Cahokia managed to answer the Mt. Vernon surge and hold the Rams off.
“I thought we did a lot better job in the second half handling their pressure,” Gamber said. “I thought we did a lot better job boxing out, getting some rebounds.”
Mt. Vernon is 6-1 this season and 0-1 in South Seven Conference play. The Rams host Marion on Friday before a road game against Waterloo.