By PAUL HINES
MT. VERNON —
The Lady Rams shook off a host of turnovers and an injury to one of their starters in a double-digit win against Centralia on Wednesday night.
The Lady Rams won 47-34. Mt. Vernon raced to a 10-0 start and held the Annies without a basket for the opening six minutes of the game.
“We felt our defense was going to be good in this game,” Mt. Vernon coach Jeff Lonnon said. “We’ve prepared three days on every play that they run, and we pretty much felt that our kids knew what was coming before it got there.”
Mt. Vernon built a 20-6 lead midway through the second quarter after Haley Lockhart converted a shot. Lockhart finished with 11 points and six rebounds.
Mt. Vernon led 24-12 with about a minute left in the half when Lockhart drove to the basket and tumbled to the ground with a right knee injury. She left the game and returned with a brace midway through the third before limping off early in the fourth quarter.
“We’re not used to playing without her on the floor, and I think we all of a sudden had a mix out there that we really haven’t practiced with much,” Lonnon said.
The Lady Rams held a comfortable lead throughout the second half but could never pull away because of turnover troubles. Mt. Vernon finished the game with 27 miscues.
“There’s no question we turned it over too much, but the final score indicates that we won,” Lonnon said.
The Annies cut the deficit to 33-27 with 5:48 left in the final quarter but could never get closer.
Mt. Vernon hit just one shot from the field in the fourth quarter, but pulled away primarily because of its success from the free throw line. The Lady Rams hit 10 shots from the stripe in the fourth.
“It’s really a dilemma whenever you’re behind by 10 points, and you have to go foul somebody when we’re shooting it that well from the line,” Lonnon said.
Hannah Owens joined Lockhart in double figures with 11 points and added five rebounds.
Mt. Vernon is 6-1 overall and 2-0 in the South Seven Conference.