MT. VERNON — The Lady Rams took another step closer to a possible South Seven Conference title on Monday night.
Mt. Vernon knocked off rival Centralia 41-33. Both Mt. Vernon and Carbondale have just one loss in league play this season. Mt. Vernon wraps up its conference schedule with a trip to Cahokia tonight.
“It does not matter what their win-loss record is they're just tough to play,” Mt. Vernon coach Jeff Lonnon said. “They slow the pace way. They take really high percentage shots.”
Clare Ryan led the Lady Rams with 11 points. Courtney Scarbrough and Hannah Owens added 10 points each.
Mt. Vernon led throughout the game and held off the Annies late. After building a 30-22 cushion in the third quarter, Mt. Vernon saw Centralia hack its lead down to 30-28 with 1:18 left in the third.
Ryan dropped in a 3-pointer to end the third. Then Miriam Hester knocked down back-to-back buckets to start the final quarter. The scores from Hester gave the Lady Rams a 37-28 lead.
“Miriam had two big buckets on post isolations that were by design,” Lonnon said. “And I thought that was really big when the game was tight.”
The Lady Rams took a 22-18 lead into halftime and briefly trailed in the opening two quarters.
Mt. Vernon dropped the ball into Owens in the post throughout the half. The junior post player was able to draw several fouls on the Annies. Centralia was whistled with 11 fouls in the opening half. Owens went to the line seven times.
Clare Ryan hit a layup in transition that put the Lady Rams up 9-4 in the opening period.
Centralia tightened the contest in the second quarter. The Annies pulled to within a point when Tressa Cunningham hit a bucket to make the score 11-10 with 6:55 left in the half. Centralia lone lead of the opening half came at 14-13 on a jumper from Holly Mays.
Mt. Vernon seized the advantage back when Owens followed with a three-point play about a minute later. The basket and ensuing free throw made the score 16-14. The game stayed tight the rest of the half.
Mt. Vernon is 13-8 overall this season and 8-1 in conference play.