MOUNT VERNON — Finally, there is a little positive history for the Mount Vernon High School basketball program.
The girls basketball team erased a double-digit deficit to defeat Westerville Central, 41-37, in the Division I sectional semifinals at The Hive on Saturday. The win was the first for the Yellow Jacket girls team in postseason play under head coach Joe Rucker.
“I always preach that the most important thing isn’t necessarily the lead, but tournament wins,” Rucker said after the game. “That’s when all the pressure’s on. This is a program-changing victory. This will take us to new heights.”
Mount Vernon trailed, 22-11, early in the second period. But the team scored the next seven points, then cut the deficit to two by halftime. The Jackets tied the game two minutes into the third on two free throws by sophomore Rachel Parks. On the team’s next possession, Parks found junior Sierra Basista for a bucket and their first lead, 27-26.
Parks had earned the starting spot ahead of senior Hannah King. The decision was made by Rucker based on the matchup; he felt a smaller, quicker lineup would be successful. But King still had plenty of minutes, and she took advantage. King’s consecutive baskets late in the third put Mount Vernon ahead, 33-28, and the team never looked back. They were the final buckets in King’s 10-point performance.
“I told Hannah about four hours before the game that she wouldn’t start,” said Rucker. “She was OK with that. She’s a senior that plays like she doesn’t want it to end. That’s how she played tonight. It was the best game of her career.”
Parks finished with a team-high 11 points. Basista finished with 10 points. Parks, Basista and King each led the Jackets with seven rebounds.
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