By PAUL HINES
MT. VERNON —
The Lady Rams basketball team puts its top seed on the line tonight in the Herrin 3A regional.
“We want that target on our back because that means we’ve done a pretty good job with our season,” Mt. Vernon coach Jeff Lonnon said. “I think our girls just realize if they play up to their capabilities and come ready to play we’ll be difficult to compete against.”
The two seed Massac County is the only regional team the Lady Rams didn’t face during the regular season.
“The good thing is we’ve played a majority of these teams so we have some good stuff on them,” Lonnon said. “We’ll just kind of sit back and wait to see who we’ll play now, and then when we play I think we’ll be familiar with them.”
The Lady Rams are road tested this season. Mt. Vernon competed in tournaments throughout the season in Nashville, Mascoutah and Carbondale. Lonnon said the road contests have challenged his team and will be an advantage in Herrin.
“Playing in another gym is not really something that has been an issue for us,” Lonnon said. “I think the main thing is get the jump ball out of the way, and once the jump ball happens I think the butterflies will go away.”
Mt. Vernon closed the regular season last week with a win over Cahokia. The victory was the Lady Rams 20th of the season. Now Mt. Vernon travels to a regional where three of the five teams have hit the 20-win mark. In addition to Mt. Vernon, Herrin and Massac County both have 20 wins this season.
“I feel like one advantage we have in our 20 wins is that a majority of them came against 3A opponents,” Lonnon said. “Strength of schedule hopefully will be an advantage when it comes to matching up.”
The Lady Rams face the winner of Monday’s Herrin/Marion matchup at 6 p.m. tonight.