MOUNT VERNON — There were ups and downs. Back and forth fast breaks and three-point plays. There were so many lead changes, the scorekeepers actually lost count.
But the only stat that mattered fell Mount Vernon’s way, as the boys basketball team survived a hard-fought battle with Hilliard Bradley to win, 48-45.
Different players have had to step up during the 2010-11 Yellow Jackets’ season. On Tuesday night, it was junior Riley Swanson whose play helped carry the team to victory. Swanson’s 15 points –– 13 in the second half –– led all players on both sides. Swanson also hit four clutch free throws late in the game.
“Riley was due for a game like this,” Mount Vernon head coach Kurt Kaufman said. “Really, it starts on the defensive end. He got some steals and converted the layups on the other end. He plays with so much energy.”
It was a total team effort. Ben Hoar totaled 11 points, including two key field goals in the fourth period. Nathan Miller, Bradley Fenton and Charlie Phillips chipped in six points each.
Mount Vernon stayed in the game with superior foul shooting. The team went a perfect 5-for-5 in the first half, 14-for-17 overall.
“What pulled us through was our defense and our foul shooting,” Kaufman said. “That’s two things we work on every single day. We put the kids in pressure situations when they practice their free throws. The credit goes to them. They were able to pull through.”
No team held more than a four-point lead at any point in the game. The biggest lead in the fourth was three, just before the final buzzer.
The lone block for the Jackets came with 25 seconds left, when Fenton soared across the court to block an Aj Dixon three-point attempt that would have given the Jaguars the lead.
Instead, the Jaguars recovered the loose ball and got fouled –– then promptly missed their free-throw attempt.
Hilliard Bradley’s Trent Weaver dominated inside, grabbing a team-high eight rebounds and three blocks. Offensively, his main job was to serve as an inside decoy for the other Jaguar shooters, who attacked mainly from beyond the arc. Hilliard Bradley went 7-for-22 from three-point range in the game, with Dixon leading the way with three long-distance baskets.