The Lady Lions dug themselves a hole they could not get out of and the Lady Marauders were more than happy to help dig it in the early going. The 17-4 deficit the Lady Lions found themselves in was too much to overcome in the Class 3A Richmond Semistate Saturday as Mt. Vernon ended Rushville’s run 59-51.
“I thought we came out too tight and dug ourselves a large hole,” head coach Melissa Marlow said.
Mt. Vernon jumped out to a 6-0 lead with Sydney Shelton leading the way with four points. After a Rushville time-out, Mackenzie Campbell got the Lady Lions on the board with 5:33 to play in the first quarter.
Mt. Vernon’s solid shooting and disruptive defense silenced the Lady Lions for the remainder of the quarter. Five Lady Marauders combined to score the next 11 points before a Campbell bucket just before the horn made it 17-4 after one quarter.
The lead grew to 22-4 following an Erica Moore bucket and 3-pointer by Rachel Houck. Two Keragan Niehoff free throws got the Lady Lions going in the second. The deficit was down to 14 on back-to-back buckets by Sarah Cook and Campbell, but a 3-pointer by Shaely Duff made it 31-14. Four straight from the Lady Lions looked to get Rushville within 13 at the half, but a rebound bucket by Duff at the horn had Mt. Vernon on top 33-18 at the break.
Duff opened the third quarter with a bucket, but two straight rebound buckets by Niehoff and a score from Campbell had the Lady Lions on the move. Late in the quarter, four straight points by Campbell had the Lady Lions within 10 points. A Mt. Vernon bucket by Shelton and free throw by Rushville’s Kelsi Ash made it 42-31 as the teams headed to the fourth quarter.
Early in the fourth, seven straight points from Cook got the Lady Lions within five at 45-40. After two Shelton free throws, Cook matched those on the other end. Mt. Vernon pushed the lead back to seven, but a free throw by Dougherty and Cook had the deficit at 49-44 with 2:23 to play.
After two missed Mt. Vernon free throws, the Lady Lions could not take advantage. Mt. Vernon added four straight Shelton free throws to extend the lead to nine. The Lady Lions could only get within six from that point.
“I was very proud of the girls on how they battled back in the second half. We had the ball on multiple occasions to get the lead down to one possession, but we just couldn’t get over that hump,” Coach Marlow said.
The Lady Lions outscored the Lady Marauders 33-26 in the second half, but the slow start was too much to overcome. Rushville out-rebounded the Lady Marauders 33-28, but turned the ball over 19 times compared to just 11 for the Lady Marauders.
Campbell led the Lady Lions with 16 points followed by Cook with 14 and Niehoff with 12. Shelton led all scorers with 18 points. Duff had 15 and Moore had 14.
“Overall, when I look at our season, I feel like the team can be very proud of what they have accomplished,” Coach Marlow added. “In November, I don’t think there were too many people who would have given this team a chance to get to the semistate. I am disappointed in the loss, but not of our team. They are a group of girls who have worked hard in the off season and during the season and their record of 22-4 is proof of their dedication to the program.”
Mt. Vernon (22-4) takes on Hamilton Heights (23-2) for the 3A state title.
Mt. Vernon 59, Rushville 51
Scoring: Rushville - Dougherty 0 1 3-4 6, Campbell 8 0 0-0 16, Niehoff 4 0 4-4 12, Ash 1 0 1-2 3, Cook 3 0 8-10 14. Totals 16 1 16-20 51. Mt. Vernon - Shelton 4 0 10-10 18, Duff 3 2 3-4 15, Houck 0 2 2-3 8, Moore 4 0 6-8 14, Baugh 1 0 0-0 2, Shockley 1 0 0-0 2. Totals 13 4 21-25 59.
Contact: Aaron Kirchoff at 765-932-2222 ext. 114