MOUNT VERNON — The Mount Vernon High School girls basketball team has had a rough go of things lately. They lost to conference rival Big Walnut on Friday night, and on Saturday their woes continued. Mount Vernon couldn’t find an offensive rhythm and was defeated by nonconference opponent Westerville Central, 41-30.
The Jackets (5-5) struggled throughout the contest, and while the team was never truly out of the contest, they were never able to pose a real threat to the visiting Warhawks.
“I think we played with a lack of execution,” said Mount Vernon head coach Doug Savage. “We can’t get any offense. You have to get a first down every now and again to get excited about it. We struggle so much for baskets, for points. We don’t score real well from the interior and we don’t score real well from the outside.”
The game started out looking good for the Jackets as they scored the first four points of the game. Caroline Caldwell was a presence for the team down low at the beginning, getting to the foul line early and hitting two free throws then following up with a layup to put the Jackets up 4-0, but that was about as exciting as it got for the team. Caldwell picked up two quick fouls and was forced to sit.
The rest of the team struggled to find the offense for the rest of the game. It was a miserable shooting night for the Jackets as they shot just over 20 percent from the field. In Friday’s contest, they also shot just over 20 percent from the field and were soundly defeated.
“We shot 20 percent [from the field] again,” Savage said. “That’s two games in a row that we have shot low 20 percent. You are not going to beat anyone that way. A team that shoots 20 percent is going to lose, I don’t care what level they are at.”
Westerville Central did not have a great first half either, and when the teams hit the locker room it looked as if either team could have a real shot at winning the game. Westerville Central held a 19-16 lead. Unfortunately for the Jackets, their offense did not pick up any steam in the second half, while the Warhawks offense did. Westerville Central used its size and the back door pass to gain a comfortable lead that was never seriously challenged in the second half. Anytime the Jackets mounted any sort of comeback, it was answered by a basket from Westerville Central.
“They hurt us on the interior and with their rebounding,” said Savage. “They really contested our inside game; we couldn’t really score inside because of their size.”
On the plus side for the Jackets, they held their own defensively. They were beat by the back door for some points, but they were also able to get to the help side, a plan the coaching staff has been emphasizing. Saturday, the team was just a bit too overagressive getting to the help side, and it ended up costing them some easy Warhawk baskets. When Mount Vernon moved to cut off the penetration, it opened up the inside, and Westerville Central took advantage of it. If it weren’t for the easy baskets, the contest might have swung a different way, despite the poor Jacket shooting night.
“We can play defense,” Savage said. “I think we played decent defense tonight. You can only play it for so long, though, then you have to put the ball in the basket. That’s why they have the rims up there.”
Mount Vernon was led by Jhazmyn Anderson, who scored eight points. Sadie Malone chipped in seven points, and Caldwell had six points.
The Jackets will now have to refocus as they continue conference play. The games don’t get any easier for the team moving forward.
“We have to try and take a look at our offense,” said Savage. “I really don’t know. Maybe we need to revamp our offense a little. That’s easier said than done though. We have to figure out a better way to put points on the board.”
In junior varsity action, Mount Vernon whipped Westerville Central, 64-23. The Jackets had four players in double digits as Courtney Burke and Tori Flemming each had 16 points, while Keli Thompson added 11 and Macie Malone scored 10 points.