MOUNT VERNON — After countless lead changes, Mount Vernon’s nonconference home game against Jonathan Alder came down to a single three-point shot.
Riley Swanson’s trey with four seconds left in overtime gave the Yellow Jackets a 55-52 win on Saturday.
It took contributions from many of the Yellow Jackets to get the win. Seth Badger hit two shots in the extra frame to keep Mount Vernon (11-4) in the lead. Ben Hoar added another later that tied the game. Steals by Badger, Swanson and Daniel Kelly kept the Pioneers from scoring. Then Hoar gathered a defensive rebound with 15 seconds left to set up Swanson’s winning shot.
“They moved the ball well,” Mount Vernon head coach Kurt Kaufman said, who admitted they weren’t necessarily looking for a three-point shot in the end. “We just wanted to work to get the best possible shot.”
“All the guys stepped up,” Kaufman continued. “We had a pressure situation. Will (O’Hara) makes a play. Riley gets that big steal. It’s a neat thing to see. They’ve all been working hard in practice, and biding their time to take advantage of these situations.”
It all happened because of the effort of both teams in the fourth period. With the score tied at 43 with four minutes left, Jonathan Alder’s Eric Roby nailed a 3-pointer, then quickly stole the ball and was fouled, draining both free throws.
The sudden five-point deficit didn’t get the Jackets down. They clawed back with six straight points, including two Hoar buckets and two Kelly free throws, to take a one-point lead with under two minutes to go.
The lead would then change hands five more times in the next 1 1/2 minutes. With Mount Vernon down by one with seconds to go, the team missed its shot. Badger rebounded, but missed the putback with two seconds left. As the teams frantically jumped for the ball, Brad Fenton outjumped them all and went for the tip-in, but was fouled.
Fenton hit his first free throw but missed the second, and the two teams prepared for overtime.
For the second straight night, Hoar had a huge scoring day, putting in 21 points, including 10 in the third period. (On Friday, Hoar had 30 points with 14 in the third.) But this time, Hoar was double-teamed most every time he touched the ball. So he spent much of his time kicking the ball back out to the perimeter players. As a result, Swanson ended up with 11 points, Badger had 10, and Kelly had nine.
Fenton scored just one point — the free throw with two seconds left in regulation — and fouled out early in the overtime period. But he led the Jackets with nine rebounds and two assists, and played a key role in his team’s ball-movement offense and post defense.
Following the first few minutes, Mount Vernon never held the lead in the first half. The Pioneers (9-5) attacked the perimeter, but they were cold early on, going 0-for-7 from three-point range in the first half. Mount Vernon was cold in the first half as well, going just 5-for-13 from the field. Both teams were a combined 4-for-11 from the foul line.
After bringing the game to within one at halftime, the Jackets took the lead early in the third with a Hoar jumper. Mount Vernon then built on that lead with free throws from Hoar and Swanson, then another bucket from Hoar.
Jonathan Alder got the game close, but couldn’t tie it up until the 4:43 mark in the fourth period.