Cold shooting Golden Eagles fall to visiting Mount Vernon, 48-32

By Gary Henery News Managing Editor

December 25, 2013

The name of the game? Put the ball in the basket.

For the second straight outing, Big Walnut got off to cold start from the field in falling to Mount Vernon 48-32 in girls Ohio Capital Conference Capital Division basketball action Friday night in Sunbury.

Steve Palmer’s Golden Eagles, making making two of 22 field goal attempts (9.1 percent), fell behind the visiting Yellow Jackets 24-6 after the first 16 minutes and trailed by as many as 22 points late in the third quarter. Last Tuesday, BW shot only 20 percent in the opening half in a 46-33 loss at Worthington Kilbourne.

“Right now were struggling to put the ball in the basket,” Palmer said. “We had some good looks tonight, but we couldn’t hit our shots. We had the same problem in our loss to Kilbourne.”

Mount Vernon (3-1, 2-0 OCC), outscoring the Golden Eagles 12-3 in each of the first two quarters, had no difficulty putting the ball in the basket. The Yellow Jackets hit five of their first seven shots to take a 12-2 lead on junior Sammy Cunningham’s baseline jumper with 3:07 left in the opening quarter. Senior Madi Montgomery, hitting her first three shots, fueled Mount Vernon’s quick start.

The Yellow Jackets opened the second quarter with a 10-2 run to open up a 24-5 lead on senior Sierra Basista’s basket with 2:07 remaining in the opening half. By the half, Montgomery, with 9 points after netting a 3-point play in the second quarter, and Basista, with 8 points, had accounted for 17 of Mount Vernon’ first-half points.

Mount Vernon, led by freshman Taylor Gregory who counted a pair of third-period layins, came back out and opened the second half with 10-6 run to open up its biggest advantage of the contest, a 22-point, 34-12 lead with under three minutes to play. By the end of the third quarter, the Yellow Jackets held a 20-point, 37-17 lead.

Big Walnut (3-3, 1-3 OCC), won the fourth quarter, outscoring the Yellow Jackets 15-11 as the Golden Eagles closed out the final three minutes of the contest with a 9-5 run. Junior Cassie Walaszek, senior Sara Petty and junior Makenna Hammond canned three straight baskets in the closing minutes. While Mount Vernon went 0-for-7 from the field in the final eight minutes, the ‘Jackets secured the win by converting 11 of 14 free throws.

“We will go back out and work on our shooting,” Palmer said. “We battled in the fourth quarter, we did not give in … it’s a matter of us developing confidence in running our offense and making our shots.”

Basista led Mount Vernon with a game-high 13 points. Montgomery followed with 11 and Gregory with 9 points. Hammond paced Big Walnut with 8 points while Skylar Fleak added 7 and Petty 5 points.

The Yellow Jackets shot 34.1 percent (15-for-44) from the field and 70.8 percent (17-for-24) at the free throw line. The Golden Eagles finished with a 20.9 (9-for-43) field goal percentage and a 70.0 percent (14-for-20) percentage from the line.

Mount Vernon, led by the 6-foot Gregory’s game-high 11 boards, claimed a 49-27 rebound advantage. Cunningham backed Gregory with 10 caroms. Senior Leah Shaw led Big Walnut with 5 rebounds. Junior Kailey Cagle followed with 4 boards.

The Yellow Jackets turned the ball over 15 times in 53 possessions (28.3 percent) at the cost of 10 points. The Golden Eagles committed 11 turnovers in 55 possessions (20.0 percent), losing 7 points to Mount Vernon.

WORTHINGTON KILBOURNE 46, BIG WALNUT 33 — The Golden Eagles fell behind early on in last Tuesday night’s (December 17) Ohio Capital Conference Capital Division matchup with the host Lady Wolves and never quite found their form in losing for the second time this season.

Big Walnut (3-2, 1-2 OCC) trailed 12-7 after the opening eight minutes and, after closing the gap thanks to a 9-8 advantage in the second quarter and an 11-8 edge in the third period, saw Kilbourne (4-3, 2-2 OCC) pull away with a 14-9 margin in the final frame to seal the victory.

Senior Skylar Fleak paced the Golden Eagle offense with a game-high 15 points. Junior Makenna Hammond and senior Hannah Seawell backed Fleak with 5 and 4 points, respectively.

Carli Paute paced the Wolves with 14 points while Kayla Pack followed with 10, eight coming at the foul line.