The Rams basketball team finished off a perfect week at the Pyramid Plus Tournament with a 77-39 win over Soldan on Saturday.
The matchup pitted the unbeaten Rams against the winless Tigers. Soldan kept the game close early, but Mt. Vernon started piling up the offense as the game move on.
“They're tough to play against,” Mt. Vernon coach Scott Gamber said. “I think we've got to find a way to come out better, especially in a game where you may feel like you should win.”
The Rams entered the final game of the round-robin tournament after winning at the buzzer against previously unbeaten Collinsville.
“We're coming off such a high,” Gamber said. “(It's) early in the season buildup looking at Collinsville, and then yes I think if we had been playing somebody that had two or three wins I think it would have been different.”
Tournament scoring leader Shakari Hawkins paced the Rams with 26 points. He finished the five-game stretch averaging 23 points. Jake Pike joined him in double figures against Soldan with 16, and Gilwan Nelson added 12.
The Rams hammered the Tigers on the glass, racking up a 46-20 advantage. Hawkins led Mt. Vernon with 10, and Nelson added nine.
Mt. Vernon's offense scuffled through the opening quarter, but the Rams managed to seize a 18-12 edge after a Pike layup with two seconds left in the quarter.
“If we do this against Althoff (Friday) night where we come out and go through the motions in the first half, we're going to be down 20 at the half,” Gamber said.
The Rams rolled over Soldan in the final three quarters, outscoring the Tigers by 32 points.
Hawkins pushed the Rams advantage to double figures with a pair of free throws to make the score 30-20 with 2:41 left in the half.