The Mt. Vernon Lady Mountaineers can see the peak of the mountain from where they have risen to in the past month, but know there is still plenty to improve upon if they want to claim stake at the top. On "Pink Out Night" in Mt. Vernon Thursday, where the Lady Mt'neers pay tribute to breast cancer awareness, the Monett Lady Cubs served as just another step up the mountain for Mt. Vernon, as the Lady Mt'neers cruised to a easy Big 8 Conference win, 67-31.
"We are a different team than what we were even early in January," said Mt. Vernon girl's basketball head coach Dusty Killingsworth after the win. "They are really sharing the ball well and doing some great things as a team."
The game itself was really decided in just the first quarter, as Mt. Vernon jumped out to a 7-0 lead, forcing a Monett timeout, and then cruised to a 16-2 lead to force a second Lady Cubs timeout. By the end of the first, the Lady Mt'neers were up 22-4. Freshman guard Cameron Call, who finished the game with 19 points, all in the first half, had 10 points in just the first quarter.
Monett turned the ball over six times in the second quarter and Mt. Vernon turned that into 10 points. The pink clad Lady Mt'neers were hitting on all cylinders, adding five straight free-throws to lead 40-12 at the half.
Mt. Vernon put the brakes on slowly in the third quarter as the rotated players in early and often, hitting just four field goals in the quarter but adding seven more free-throws to lead 56-24 after three quarters.
The mercy clock ran throughout the fourth quarter and both benches were cleared mid-way through. Mt.Vernon still won the final quarter 11-7 to take the win and improve to 12-8 overall and 3-1 in the Big 8 Conference.
"We were aware they are one of probably the top three teams in the conference this year," said Monett head coach Alyssa Kennedy after the game, "and they definitely played like it. I was proud of how our girls played hard and showed strong effort throughout the game. They grinded it out until the final minute."
Call lead Mt. Vernon and all scorers with 19 points, followed by Karlie Meeks with eight.
Monett's top scorer on the night was Annie Besch with 10 points.
"We still have room to improve," Killingsworth said. "We talked about wanting to be the "hunter" the rest of the way. Our remaining schedule includes some of the top teams in our conference and we can't let up the rest of the way.
Mt. Vernon will play Aurora Monday at Aurora, beginning at 6 p.m.
Monett – 4 8 12 7 – 31
Mt. Vernon – 22 18 16 11 – 67
Monett – Annie Besch 10, Emily Krueger 8, Alexis Brannon 4, Sarah Childress 4, Kourtney Easter 3, Katie Schmidt 1, Katie Tinklepaugh 1
Mt. Vernon – Cameron Call 19, Karlie Meeks 8, Caitlin HIcks 7, Maddi Brown 6, Camryn Eldridge 6, Aubri Veith 6, Tawnie Wilson 5, Michaela McChesney 4, Haylee Yeats 3, Ashlyn McCanless 2, Mikala Veith 1