By Paul Hines
MT. VERNON —
Carbondale dealt the Rams one of their worst losses of the season earlier this season.
Mt. Vernon will try to rebound with a victory in Changnon Gymnasium tonight against the Terriers.
The game marks the beginning of the annual Mt. Vernon Township High School Sports of Hall of Fame weekend. The Class of 2014 will be recognized at tonight's game with the banquet following on Saturday night.
“You have a lot of people who came before that had a great deal of success at Mt. Vernon,” Gamber said. “And you always want to play well for them.”
The Rams will be without starter Doug Gardner, who is serving a one-game suspension, according to Gamber. The coach added the suspension is non-basketball related. Luke Wilson will join the Rams starting lineup in Gardner's place.
In January, Mt. Vernon traveled to Carbondale and lost 73-44. Devontavious Payne led the Terriers with 16 points. Shamarc Bursey added 14. The Terriers got to the basket early. Sixteen of their first 19 points came on layups.
“You're not going to beat anyone like that,” Gamber said. “We need Carbondale to have an off night. Nobody has an off night when they're shooting layups.”
Carbondale raced to an early edge in the opening quarter and moved its advantage to double digits in the second quarter. The deficit ballooned to 31 points late.
Earlier this week Mt. Vernon piled up the points in an attacking victory over Lovejoy. Gamber said the Rams style will have to change to a slower, more patient approach against the Terriers, who are in the running for the South Seven Conference title.
Tuesday the Rams stay at home to face Effingham. Mt. Vernon lost to the Flaming Hearts earlier this season at the Salem Invitational Tournament.
“They set a bunch of screen. They run really good stuff (on offense),” Gamber said. “I think they kind of wore us down a little bit. Defensively, they took a lot of our stuff away. I think this next time around we're obviously going to have to make some pretty big adjustments.”
Tonight's matchup with Carbondale starts with the junior varsity game at 6:15 p.m.