The name of the game? Put the ball in the basket.
For the second straight outing, Big Walnut got off to a cold start from the field while falling to Mount Vernon 48-32 in Ohio Capital Conference Capital Division action Friday night in Sunbury.
Steve Palmer’s Golden Eagles, making two of 22 field goal attempts (9.1 percent), fell behind the visiting Yellow Jackets 24-6 after the first 16 minutes and trailed by as many as 22 points late in the third quarter. Last Tuesday, BW shot only 20 percent in the opening half in a 46-33 loss at Worthington Kilbourne.
“Right now we’re struggling to put the ball in the basket,” Palmer said. “We had some good looks tonight, but we couldn’t hit our shots. We had the same problem in our loss to Kilbourne.”
Mount Vernon (3-1, 2-0 OCC), outscoring the Golden Eagles 12-3 in each of the first two quarters, had no difficulty putting the ball in the basket. The Yellow Jackets hit five of their first seven shots to take a 12-2 lead on junior Sammy Cunningham’s baseline jumper with 3:07 left in the opening quarter. Senior Madi Montgomery, hitting her first three shots, fueled Mount Vernon’s quick start.
The Yellow Jackets opened the second quarter with a 10-2 run to open up a 24-5 lead on senior Sierra Basista’s basket with 2:07 remaining in the opening half. By the intermission, Montgomery, with 9 points after netting a 3-point play in the second quarter, and Basista, with 8 points, had accounted for 17 of Mount Vernon’ first-half points.
Mount Vernon came back out and opened the second half with 10-6 run to open up its biggest advantage of the contest, a 22-point, 34-12 lead with under three minutes to play. By the end of the third quarter, the Yellow Jackets held a 20-point, 37-17 lead.
Big Walnut (3-3, 1-3 OCC) won the fourth quarter, outscoring the Yellow Jackets 15-11 after closing out the final three minutes of the contest with a 9-5 run. Junior Cassie Walaszek, senior Sara Petty and junior Makenna Hammond canned three straight baskets in the closing minutes.
While Mount Vernon went 0-for-7 from the field in the final eight minutes, the Jackets secured the win by converting 11 of 14 free throws.
“We will go back out and work on our shooting,” Palmer said. “We battled in the fourth quarter, we did not give in … it’s a matter of us developing confidence in running our offense and making our shots.”
Basista led Mount Vernon with a game-high 13 points. Montgomery followed with 11 and Taylor Gregory with 9 points. Hammond paced Big Walnut with 8 points while Skylar Fleak added 7 and Petty 5 points.