By PAUL HINES
The Terriers raced past Mt. Vernon 73-50 Friday night in the Rams regular season finale.
“We did not play well,” Mt. Vernon coach Scott Gamber said. “We did not fight the way I thought we would and can. There’s absolutely no excuse for how we reacted when some things went bad.”
The Terriers used a balance offensive attack against the Rams that saw four players reach double figures. Allen Billinger led Carbondale with 14 points. Devontavius Payne and Jordan Kelly both had 13 each.
Trevor Flota led Mt. Vernon with 14 points and was the lone Rams player in double figures.
Carbondale led from the opening minute. The Terriers started the game with a 10-3 run and opened up a double digit lead in the second quarter.
“I thought our transition defense early in the game is what got us beat,” Gamber said. “When you take long shots there’s long rebounds and that really hurt us.”
The Rams were already without Michael Feezer because of a back problem and lost Jarron Liddell just after halftime. About 20 seconds into the half, play stopped and trainers attended to Liddell’s left shoulder. He missed time earlier in the season because of a dislocation. He left and never returned.
“I’m really worried about that because it’s the same shoulder, and it’s a recurring issue,” Gamber said. “I thought it was getting better, and it came out of place tonight. He was in a lot of pain.”
Without Liddell on the court, Carbondale pushed its lead as high as 22 points midway through the third quarter. Mt. Vernon responded behind six straight points from Jake Pike to slice the lead to 36-20. Clayton Reeves followed with a 3-pointer. Trevor Flota brought the Rams to within 10 points with another long-range shot with two minutes left in the quarter.
But the Terriers ended the quarter with a free throw followed by a Kelly layup to push their lead up to 43-30.
“I thought our guys did a great job. We got it to 10,” Gamber said. “We had the ball. I thought we could get back in this.”
Mt. Vernon is 14-12 overall this season and finished 5-5 in the South Seven Conference. The Rams face Massac County in the opening round of the regional Wednesday. Carbondale improved to 17-9 and 4-6 in conference play.