After losing nine seniors from last year, it might be easy to think that Mount Vernon could be facing a rebuilding year after winning the GISA Class AAA title last year.
But evidently Mustangs head coach Curtis Berry’s team did not get that message.
Mount Vernon coasted to a 54-41 win over Westfield to reach Tattnall Square Christmas tournament championship game for the third straight year. Mikell Lands scored 17 points to lead the way as the Mustangs overcame a strong defensive effort from the Hornets.
“We know when we play Westfield we will have to work and scrap for every point we get,” said Berry, whose team improved to 14-2 on the year. “We have played two games in this tournament, and neither one of them have been great. I gave them two days off for Christmas and that will probably be the last two days off they get this season. But we are pleased to get two wins and be back in the championship game.”
Westfield shot only 24 percent in the first half but trailed by only 10. Gray Way scored eight points in the half to lead the way, but the Hornets couldn’t get anything going offensively. They cut the Mount Vernon lead to seven several times but got no closer as the Mustangs hit 7-of-9 free throws down the stretch.
“We have to do all the little things well to win basketball games,” said Westfield head coach Jake Walls, whose team dropped to 2-7. “I think we are fairly skilled, but we have to do all the intangibles well to be successful. I thought we played OK (Wednesday), but we just cannot turn the ball over and get beat on the offensive boards like we did.”
Way led Westfield with 17 points while Ledford had eight points and 12 rebounds. Jared Harper had 11 points for Mount Vernon.
Bulloch 62, Tattnall Square 47
It was three quarters of basketball that Tattnall boys coach Wes Parker would probably like to forget.
The Trojans were down 52-26 heading into the final period and had been dominated by a lightning quick Bulloch team.
And even though they still lost, the Trojans came out in the last quarter and played its best basketball of the night, forcing Bulloch head coach Paul Webb to keep most of his starters in the game. Tattnall did manage to outscore Bulloch 21-10 in the last quarter, but still lost by a final of 62-47.
Jaylen Evans scored 21 points for the Gators, who improbed to 901 on the season.
"I was proud of the way the seniors stepped up in the last quarter, said Parker, who is in his first year at Tattnall. I wish that we would have played with that type of intensity the entire game. Give Bulloch alot of credit. They are a very talented team and are very quick. Looking at how we played in the 4th quarte, maybe we shouls have played up tempo with thenm before then. I was proud of the way we battled late though."
Andrew Layson had 20 points to leat Tattnall, who drop to 6-2 with the loss