Mt. Vernon’s size and strong play from two of it’s frontline players were the deciding factors as the Marauders defeated Connersville, 44-38, Friday night at Spartan Bowl.
Erick Shepherd, a 6-6 junior, made 6-of-9 field goals and all 4 of his free throws to score a game-high 16 points for Mt. Vernon (13-2). James McCloud, a 6-5 junior, added 14 points on 6-of-10 shooting and a pair of free throws.
Beau Isaacs scored 13 points to lead Connersville, 11 coming in the 1st half on the strength of a trio of 3-pointers. Garrett Silcott added 11 points for CHS, now 13-4.
The Marauders bolted to a 6-0 lead, including a steal and dunk by Shepherd, but the Spartans roared back, running off 11 consecutive points before Shepherd hit a jumper. CHS led, 11-8, after 1 quarter.
Shepherd and McCloud scored 4 points each in the 2nd quarter to counter 5 points by Isaacs and allow Mt. Vernon to take a 22-19 lead at halftime.
Michael Ertel, Mt. Vernon’s leading scorer at 17.9 points a game, scored just 6 points on a pair of 3-pointers. But the baskets came back-to-back to open the 3rd quarter, helping the Marauders turn a 22-19 advantage into a 28-21 lead.
The Spartans chipped away, cutting the deficit to 30-27 heading into the final 8 minutes when Tyler Billups made a 3-pointer with 30 seconds remaining in the quarter. Billups, hindered by foul trouble, scored 6 points on a pair of treys.
The Spartans got within 34-31 in the 4th quarter when Silcott scored a layup after a steal by Chandler Graves, but Shepherd scored 8 points during the stanza to keep the Marauders ahead.
Mt. Vernon shot 17-of-31 from the floor (55 percent), CHS was 12-of-26 (46 percent). The Spartans made 8-of-13 free throws, Mt. Vernon was 7-for-8.
Grant Smith scored 6 points for Connersville, Graves added 2.
The Spartans travel to Mooresville tonight to take on the 10-5 Pioneers. Mooresville lost to Whiteland Friday, 67-61.
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