By PAUL HINES
MT. VERNON —
The Rams basketball team will try to shake off its toughest losses of the season in Saturday’s Effingham St. Anthony Shootout against Teutopolis.
“It’s going to be a tough game,” Mt. Vernon coach Scott Gamber said. “It’s a neutral site but being at St. Anthony that’s a place they’re a lot more familiar with than we are.”
Mt. Vernon lost a pair of games at the buzzer in the Centralia Holiday Tournament and were eliminated in the consolation semifinal. The Rams have had a full week of practice since the tournament ended, and Gamber said his team has tried to move past the results but also learn from the losses.
“They’ve really come out and responded well to it,” Gamber said. “We’ve had a few really good days of practice, and we’ve really spent a lot of time working against pressure.”
The area was a trouble spot for the Rams against Alton. Mt. Vernon committed 21 turnovers in Saturday’s loss with 14 coming in the second half.
“As tough as that one was, I do think in the long run it’s going to help us be a better basketball team,” Gamber said. “I think we’re really close right now to being a really good team. We just haven’t gotten over that hump.”
Several players pace the Teutopolis offense this season. Kyle Pruemer plays in the post and scored in double figures against Breese Central. Derek Smith reached double digits against Central in a win over Effingham earlier this season.
“You know that they’re going to be very, very well coached,” Gamber said. “Andy (Fehrenbacher) does as good a job as anybody with them. You know they’re going to be very hard-nosed.
“T-town’s program I think is a program that most everybody wants to emulate.”
Gamber said the game would be a contrast from what the Rams have seen in opponents lately.
“I think it’s a game that’s going to do us a lot of good,” Gamber said. “We’ve played a lot of teams lately that put a lot of pressure on us and do some things that way. It’s going to be a challenge to play a lot more patterned team than what we’ve played in the last few games.”
Today’s game starts at 4 p.m.