MOUNT VERNON — When two teams rely on outside shooting, as was the case at Mount Vernon High School on Tuesday, there are going to be a lot of momentum shifts.
What matters is who can hold on to that momentum the longest.
The Mount Vernon boys basketball team survived two big runs by Olentangy Orange to come away with a 52-39 win at home on Tuesday.
“We did it on the defensive end. We forced (Orange) to take some outside shots and get rebounds,” Mount Vernon head coach Kurt Kaufman said.
The game was a complete contrast from Mount Vernon’s first game of the year. When they faced Lexington on Friday, they had to deal with solid post players who liked to get the ball inside. On Tuesday, they faced a team with good perimeter shooting.
The Yellow Jackets proved they can handle both.
The Pioneers’ first seven shots were all from 3-point range. They hit only one, thanks to Mount Vernon’s quick reactions to Orange’s ball movement.
Knowing his team had a distinct size and strength advantage, Kaufman had his players attack the post. Charlie Phillips, Daniel Kelly and Ben Hoar all took turns driving the ball inside.
The Pioneers (1-1) countered with a conservative defense that did not pressure the guards. Instead, it looked to take away the inside game.
As a result, shooting was a struggle in the first. So with the game deadlocked at 9-9 in the second period, the Jackets (2-0) switched to outside shooting of their own. With some quick passing along the perimeter, they were finally able to get some good looks.
The one thing they didn’t have was a hot shooter.
No one on Mount Vernon had more than two field goals in the first half. And Hoar had the lone offensive rebound, a put-back in the second period that put the Jackets ahead.
Defensively, Mount Vernon stepped it up. They refused to allow any looks at the basket; at one point, Orange held the ball for nearly two minutes without shooting. At one point in the first half, the Pioneers suffered a drought of nearly eight minutes without a single score.