semifinal game Wednesday night.
Mt. Vernon rode a big early start and won 63-39 to advance to the regional
“We’ve struggled defensively,” Mt. Vernon coach Scott Gamber said. “I
thought tonight our kids did a lot better job (on) position defense.
“I thought the pace of play was where we needed it to be.”
Mt. Vernon’s Jake Pike led all scorers with 20 points and finished with
six rebounds. Shakari Hawkins joined him in double figures with 12 points.
Braden Fitzjerrells and Michael Feezer added to a balanced offensive
attack with nine points each.
“(Jake) has played some really good games for us this year,” Gamber said.
“I thought tonight was his best, not just on the offensive end.
“I thought Jake’s defense was a big key.”
Trevor Flota ended the opening quarter with a 3-pointer at the buzzer to
put the Rams up 16-8. Flota finished with eight points in the game. The
Rams added to their lead in the second quarter. Pike hit a pair of free
throws to push the lead to double figures with 5:19 left in the half.
Up 22-14, Mt. Vernon ripped off a run to close the half and extend its
lead near 20. Flota canned a bucket and followed up a Fitzjerrells miss on
the break with another basket during the stretch. The points gave the Rams
a commanding 27-14 advantage. The Rams took a 33-14 edge into halftime.
Massac chipped Mt. Vernon’s lead down to 13 after a bucket from Dalton
Mitchell to end the third quarter. Mitchell led the Patriots with 12
points. That was as close as the Patriots would get.
Mt. Vernon dominated the final quarter as it did the entire game. Massac
was forced to foul and hope for Mt. Vernon misses at the free throw line.
The Rams have struggled at times throughout the season but connected in
the clutch against the Patriots. Mt. Vernon finished the game 13 of 15
from the line.
“I thought as far as a team effort it was maybe one of our best nights,”
Gamber said. “I liked the balance in our scoring. I liked the fact that
our kids played hard, played together. It seemed like the attitudes were
really good tonight.”
Mt. Vernon is 15-12 overall this season and faces Carbondale for the
regional championship at 7:30 p.m. Friday night.
“We’ve got to control the tempo Friday night,” Gamber said.