MOUNT VERNON — They’re starting to put it together.
The Mount Vernon Yellow Jackets girls basketball team did not fold under pressure, even as Watkins Memorial came back from a seven-point deficit in the fourth period.
Instead, the Jackets came together and stepped up through a physical and, at times, bruising overtime to come out on top, 48-45.
“We had a bunch of girls make key plays for us, whether it was a key rebound, or a box-out. ... The first thing I told the team (after the game) was, ‘It was a team win’. Everyone contributed to that win.”
Mount Vernon had to contend with a powerful inside threat. Mathea Tewalde is Watkins’ biggest –– and most talented –– athlete on the team. Tewalde, Mallory Warrington and Lou Nickel make a threesome that attacks the basket on both sides of the ball.
Mount Vernon’s top post players, Alex Miglin and Jordan Peppers, may have been outsized, but they weren’t outworked. They and the rest of the Jackets held Watkins’ threesome to just six field goals in the entire game.
Miglin worked the inside but got in foul trouble early, drawing her third foul just 1 1/2 minutes into the second period. Peppers played the majority of the game, staying aggressive while avoiding foul trouble until overtime.
Watkins went to the line early and often, going 13-for-17 from the free-throw line in regulation. However, when it counted most, Watkins went only 4-for-7 in overtime.
Both teams kept the scoring low in the first period. The Jackets played solid defense but missed some scoring opportunities.
“Our run could have started there, but we missed some gimmies,” Rucker said.
Mount Vernon finally began hitting its shots in the second, following Miglin’s third foul. Coach Rucker went with a smaller lineup that had success hitting midrange shots. The Jackets scored a quick 5-0 run, then added a 7-0 run later to close out the first half with the lead, 23-20.