MOUNT VERNON — The first win is always the sweetest.
Mount Vernon girls head basketball coach Joe Rucker earned his first win Friday, as the Yellow Jackets (1-6) trounced the visiting Franklin Heights Falcons, 55-39.
Both teams came into the game looking for their first win. For Mount Vernon, it was a chance to finally get on the right track and gain momentum before winter break. For Franklin Heights, it was an opportunity to end a losing streak that has lasted nearly two years.
Mount Vernon’s strength in this game would be at the post. Alex Miglin is taller than anyone on Franklin Heights’ roster; the strategy was to get the ball to her and let her score. She did, racking up 12 points and 11 boards for her first double-double of the year.
“We wanted to get the ball inside the paint as much as possible,” Rucker said. “We’re working with our guards to dump it off as much as possible, and that’s what they did tonight. It was successful.”
Jordan Peppers played hard inside as well, matching Miglin’s totals with 12 points and 11 rebounds –– her first double-double as well.
“(Peppers) is the team captain, as voted on by her peers,” Rucker said. “I count on her to do a lot. She works really hard to get inside and to get open.”
Defensively, it was the best game of the Jackets’ short season. After a shaky first period, they held the Falcons (0-7) to a 1 for 23 dry spell for the next two periods. In that time, they forced 13 turnovers and allowed just one offensive rebound. During that time, fans in attendance saw the game go from a four-point Franklin Heights lead to a 16-point Mount Vernon advantage.
The Falcons played the first period as if it were part basketball game, part wrestling match. Their physical play took Mount Vernon by surprise, with post players Maritza Will and Gabrielle Smith muscling their way to the ball. Will had five rebounds in the first period alone.