MOUNT VERNON — The Mount Vernon High School girls basketball team couldn’t find the right answers Tuesday.
Whether it be a change in defense by Olentangy Orange, or the play of freshman guard Taylor Agler, the Yellow Jackets weren’t able to solve things and fell to the Pioneers, 60-42, in an Ohio Capital Conference game at The Hive.
The teams battled through a tough first period, with Mount Vernon taking an early lead behind the play of Rebecca Fiecoat. But, a second personal foul on Fiecoat sent her to the bench early in the quarter and Orange was able to take advantage, grabbing a 15-12 lead.
The Pioneers (4-0 overall, 2-0 OCC) changed to a 1-3-1 zone defense midway through the second quarter and the Jackets were unable to answer. Orange ran off eight straight points and upped the lead to eight at halftime (36-28).
“We did not attack their zone very well,” said Mount Vernon coach Doug Savage. “When we scouted them, they did not show that defense, not one time. That’s beside the point. Still, we had the offense for it and, quite frankly, I had a lot of confidence in it. It wasn’t the fact they were super quick or anything. We just didn’t move the ball like we’re capable of moving it.”
Agler, a freshman guard, had her way with the Jackets, as well, in the first half. She scored 14 of her game-high 23 points in the first half as Orange took control.
“We didn’t really have an answer for Agler. She scored 23 points on us and a lot of those were in transition,” Savage said. “She split our defense several times. We didn’t get the ball stopped. I think we were a little afraid to help because of the other three-point shooters.
“It was just a combination of not very good offensive execution and not very good defensive execution either.”
Mount Vernon (1-2, 1-1) looked like they might be able to stay in the game when Niki DiGuilio hit a 3-pointer early in the third quarter. But, that would be nearly all the offense Mount Vernon would muster over the next 12 minutes.
Orange scored nine straight and 19 of the next 21 points to blow the game open. Many of those points came in transition or off the boards.
The Pioneers controlled the boards, outrebounding Mount Vernon 34-25 on the night. But the big thing was they had nine offensive rebounds.
Mount Vernon was led by DiGuilio, who had 18 points and eight rebounds. The senior hit on just 5 of 13 shots from the field, including just 1 of 5 from beyond the 3-point arc.
“They just manned and dogged her with two or three different people all the time. Just tried to make it hard for her to catch the ball wherever she went,” Savage said. “I thought she worked hard to try and get open, but we just couldn’t produce much offense.”
Karina Shackle added seven points, while Macie Malone had five points and five rebounds. Kelli Thompson had four points and four assists.
Agler wasn’t the only Pioneer player who put up big numbers offensively. Maddie Joseph added 15 points, while T.J. Williams had nine points and three assists and Kelsey Lewis had seven points and eight rebounds.
Mount Vernon will try to right the ship on Friday as they travel to Delaware Hayes for an OCC matchup beginning at 6 p.m.
The Mount Vernon jayvee team also fell to Orange, 39-22.
Jordan Peppers led the Yellow Jackets with 10 points. Alex Miglin added seven.