MOUNT VERNON — Let the tuneups begin for the Mount Vernon Yellow Jackets.
The boys basketball team took to its home court Tuesday and left no doubt who was in charge. The Jackets charged out to a 38-point halftime lead and never looked back, beating the outmatched Watkins Memorial Warriors, 79-45.
The score doesn’t show the true dominance of Mount Vernon in the game. Playing mostly bench players in the second half, the Jackets allowed the Warriors to match them shot for shot, basket for basket.
But the first half decided the game.
Mount Vernon simply had its way with Watkins for the first 16 minutes. Senior Ben Hoar did not appear challenged by Watkins’ two big men, Kevin Crawford and Brady Coward. Hoar was simply faster. He ended the night with a team-high 26 points. Crawford, who was paired with Hoar throughout the night, ended up with two points before fouling out.
On the perimeter, Mount Vernon’s guards were left alone at first. When the game got out of hand early, Watkins began taking a more physical approach. Riley Swanson, Nathan Miller, Will O’Hara and Charlie Phillips simply drove through them.
“That first half, we really pressured them on full court, and we were able to score off of our defense,” Mount Vernon head coach Kurt Kaufman said. “We moved the ball really well. ... We just have to continue to build on that, and learn how to string it together for four quarters.”
Swanson started things off early when he hit a three-point shot just seconds into the game. On their next possession, Swanson found Hoar under the basket on a fast break for two more points.
Watkins’ head coach Erin Woody called a timeout immediately to regain control. The Warriors went on to score the next basket. They also scored the last basket in the first period.
They scored nothing in between.