The Yellow Jackets came out on fire …
Mount Vernon hit five of its first six shots, including two treys, to open play with a 14-0 run en route to a 55-33 Ohio Capital Conference Capital Division victory over Big Walnut Friday night in Sunbury.
By the half, coach Kurt Kaufman’s Yellow Jackets (7-2, 5-1 OCC), shooting 63.2 percent (12-for-19) and 66.7 percent (4-for-6) behind the arc, held a 20-point, 30-10 lead and were well on their way to their seventh straight victory after opening the season with two losses.
“Mount Vernon hit us with a blitzkrieg … they came out on fire,” Big Walnut head coach Eric Myers said after his Golden Eagles shot only 17.4 percent (4-for-23) in the first half. “They moved the ball, found the open man and hit their shots … that’s a good ball club.”
Senior guard Riley Swanson, who led Mount Vernon with 25 points, and senior wing Will O’Hara buried threes in the first 1:27, and the Yellow Jackets were off and running. Up 14-4 at the end of the first period, Mount Vernon put together a 12-2 run sparked by a pair of threes by Swanson as the Yellow Jackets cruised into the second half with the 20-point advantage.
Big Walnut (2-6, 2-4 OCC) wasn’t about to go quietly into the night. The Golden Eagles stole some of Mount Vernon’s thunder, opening the second half with a 13-0 run behind 4-for-5 shooting to cut the Yellow Jacket lead to seven points at 30-23 on junior Adam Shaheen’s layin off a Tyler Beam assist with 4:12 left in the third period. Beam led the Golden Eagles with 9 points.
“I was encouraged by the way our guys battled back,” Myers said. “A lot of teams would have folded up their tent, but we didn’t back down … we kept battling and playing hard.”
Following a Yellow Jacket timeout, Mount Vernon, which missed its first three shots of the second half and turned he ball over three times, backed off and went to a ball-control offense. The Jackets closed the period with a 7-0 run — a run capped by Swanson’s fourth three of the game — and went into the final period with a 14-point, 37-23 lead.
Big Walnut was never closer than 12 points of the lead the rest of the way as Mount Vernon stretched its advantage back to 20 points at 49-29 with 5:07 to play.
“We’re in a state of transition right now with our inside game,” Myers said, referring to the loss of senior Seth Wandling with a concussion suffered against Olentangy in the Eberst Classic. “Carson (Chatterton) was solid in the post tonight and when we get Seth back we should be even stronger inside.”
Mount Vernon shot 60.6 percent (20-for-33), including 66.7 percent (6-for-9) from thee-point range. The Jackets were 9-for-11 at the free throw line. Eric Ashbrook and Bradley Fenton backed Swanson with 9 and 7 points, respectively.
Big Walnut finished with a 25.6 shooting percentage (11-for-43), 1-for-10 from behind the arc, and a 62.5 percentage (10-for-16) at the line. Grant Beam and Shaheen backed Tyler Beam in the scoring column with 8 points apiece.
The Golden Eagles, led by Shaheen’s 8 rebounds, claimed a 29-24 edge on the glass. Fenton pulled down 5 for the Yellow Jackets.
Hayes 55, New Albany 45
The Pacers played more like themselves Friday in New Albany, using a physical brand of ball and a huge fourth quarter to get past the Eagles in OCC-Capital Division action.
Hayes (7-4, 4-2 OCC) outscored New Albany 17-9 in the final eight minutes, with 13 of the 17 coming from junior guard Mike Wells.
“We did a fabulous job in the fourth,” Hayes coach Jordan Blackburn said. “We spent the last two days working on our toughness. I reminded the kids we’re a very mediocre team when we don’t play with toughness, but tonight that toughness was back, especially at the end.”
Wells led the charge with a solid all-around effort, pouring in a team-best 25 points to go with his five rebounds, six assists and 9-for-11 effort at the charity stripe. Jacob Bosiokovic was also steady, finishing with a double-double (10 points and 11 rebounds).
Buckeye Valley 66, Elgin 51
The Barons were on the money from the outside Friday, knocking off the host Comets thanks in part to nine three pointers.
Buckeye Valley (7-1, 5-0 MOAC) outscored Elgin in three of the four quarters, including grabbing a 21-11 edge in the fourth.
Three Barons scored in double figures — Zach Hassinger had a team-best four threes and 21 points, Jordan Tomlinson drained two three-pointers en route to a 19-point performance and Matt Novak had three triples and 13 points in the win.
Westerville South 62, Olentangy 50
The Braves played pretty even with the host Wildcats for the final three quarters, but a rough start sealed their fate Friday in Westerville.
Olentangy (6-5) was outscored 22-14 in the opening frame.
Stephen Walczak, Jordan Gingery and Seth Clark did virtually all of the damage for the Braves, combining to score 43 of the team’s 50 points. Walczak had a game-high 22 while Gingery finished with 12, including four threes, and Clark finished with nine.