PRINCETON — What a difference a year makes.

In contrast to Nov. 27, 2018, when they stood unbeaten in five games but fell 38-31 at home to Princeton Community, Mount Vernon basketball girls defensed their way to a 49-34 Tuesday night road win in the Big Eight Conference opener for each team.

“We’re more experienced than a year ago. And our 1-2-2 pressure defense kept Princeton from setting up offensively,” said Mount Vernon Coach Doug Blair, whose Lady W/ldcats will pit a 6-0 record Tuesday hence vs. Evansville Mater Dei.

“They played with grit and heart, and I don’t know that we did,” said Princeton Coach Brittany Maners whose Lady Tigers hope to recoup Thursday night when they take a 3-2 record to Evansville Harrison.

“They didn’t do anything we didn’t expect. No surprises. But they applied that pressure at three-quarters court, full-court and half-court, and we didn’t execute.”

The Lady Tigers’ countless turnovers began with errors on their first four possessions. They actually led 2-0 when sophomore Reagan Cochren scored with 3 ½ minutes elapsed. That proved their only lead, the Lady Wildcas scoring the next six points.

Princeton senior Emma Saertore’s basket with 53 seconds left closed the 6-4 first-quarter scoring, but junior guard Paige Robinson’s three-point hit on the second quarter’s first possession began a 7-0 run that she finished with a layup. Classmate Grace Thompson’s driving layup began a 6-0 run to a 20-8 lead that became 26-14 at halftime. Twice the fourth quarter the gap became 21 points, 45-24 and 47-26.

Robinson, hitting two threes, scored a game-high 17 points. Classmate Libby Steinhart scored nine with a trey and 6-for-6 free throwing. Lone senior Bailee Hunsinger scored eight. Yet another junior, center Brooke Jackson, emulated her 6-foot-6 dad and assistant coach Reed Jackson with an inside presence that included three rebound baskets the second quarter.

“Brooke is a great rebounder, and her teammates know that they can pressure ball becausen she’s back there protecting the basket,” Blair said.

“Steinhart does a great job defensively by reading passes. Thompson does a great job applying pressure. HunHunsinger is a four-year varsity player, and most of our junior are in their third varsity season.

“Princeton’s good, but tonight we were better.”

Mount Vernon’s pressure defense, including traps, held Princeton season-long scoring leader Hannah Sisk without a point the first half. The junior guard and three-year starter scored 11, including two threes, in the the second half.

Six-foot sophomore Cortney Dove scored six the first half and matched Sisk’s 11.

“Fortunately, we’ve got most of the season ahead of us. But our execution must be better than it was tonight,” Maners said.

“Robinson and Steinhart play well together, and their defense has definitely improved from last season.”

Lady Tiger jayvees, coached by Mattt Hughen, won Tuesday’s opener 36-21 before Prindeton’s third grade choir led the National Anthem.

Junior Savannah Gambrel, sophomore Brookelyn Packer, freshman Syauna Hardiman and classmate Tabi Thompson each scored six points as Princeton jayvees rose to a 3-2 record. Freshman Mallory Nurrenbern’s six led Mount Vernon.

Girls’ basketball



Robinson 6 2-2 17, Hunsinger 4 0-0 8, Jackson 3 1-2 7, Thompson 1 3-6 5, Steinhart 1 6-6 9, Wilson 1 0-0 2, Schroeder 0 1-2 1, Batteiger 0 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 16 13018 49.


Sartore 2 0-0 4, Berry 1 0-0 2, Dove 4 3-6 11, Cochren 1 0-0 2, Sisk 2 5-6 11, Johnson 0 0-0 0, Hardiman 0 2-2 2, Wright 1 9-0 2, Goodwin 0 0-0 0. Totalds: 1 10-16 34.

MountVernon 6 20 14 9--49

PrincetonComm. 4 8 10 12--34

3-point toals -- Mount Vernon 4 (Robinson 3, Steinhart 1), Princeton 2 (Sisk 2). Fouls -- Mount Vernon 12, Princeton 12. Fouled out -- none.

Jayvees: Princeton, 36-21.

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