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Hurtin’ no more: Mostly healthy Mount Vernon boys’ basketball team starts postseason with impressive victory
Mustangs squash Crestwood in a Class 3A substate opener Monday, 63-32
MOUNT VERNON — Brady Erickson is the dude on this Mount Vernon boys’ basketball team. The lone dude.
The senior forward is the only player to start all 22 games for the Mustangs this season. He’s one of only two players to play in all 22 games for the Mustangs this season, with guard Zach Fall the other.
That’s it. Just those two.
“Sounds about right, yeah,” said Mount Vernon Coach Derek Roberts, after his team crushed Crestwood, 63-32, in a Class 3A substate opener Monday night.
Which goes to show you how disjointed Mount Vernon’s season has been at times. It’s hard to play consistent basketball when this guy’s away with a shoulder injury, or that guy’s away with an ankle injury.
This guy’s in now, but that guy’s out. Football players got late starts to the hoops season because they needed a least a little bit of time off after playing in a state championship game.
“The first half (of the season) was kind of tough,” Erickson said, after he scored a game-high 19 points to move Mount Vernon to a 3A substate semifinal Thursday night at Charles City. “We had a stretch where we lost four or five, and we just had to battle through that. We’ve got great subs, great guys that can fill in.”
Down the stretch here of the regular season, it seems Mount Vernon finally has the pieces in place. For the most part, since Joe Breismeister didn’t play Monday after hurting his ankle in a weekend practice
Can’t have everything, I guess.
But the Mustangs picked up impressive wins over ranked 3A teams Cedar Rapids Xavier and Waverly-Shell Rock in a little over a week’s time. That certainly had to help the team’s confidence.
“It was good to know that we could beat good teams, honestly,” Erickson said. “We dropped some early, so it was good to see that we could do that.”
“We just kind of had a mantra over the summer called ‘sudden change.’ It’s nothing I came up with, I saw it on a podcast somewhere,” Roberts said. “Throughout the entirety of the basketball year, when your offseason, you’re in season, there are so many things that can go wrong. You just have to have that mentality that, hey, when sudden change happens, we’re ready to take on whatever is next. Always try to have a Plan B in place, our guys are really good kids, they’re very coachable, they know what to expect, they compete at a high level and just play very hard.
“We went through the season and were 7-5 at one point, lost to some good teams. We just knew that there was a lot that needed to be put together. I was like ‘We’re fine. We’re fine.’ We’ve just got to keep doing the same basic fundamental things. It will work itself out. Everybody will get healthy going into February.”
Crestwood (13-9) was without leading scorer Zach Mehmert for this game, out with an injury, and it took Mount Vernon a little more than a quarter to start putting the hurt on the Cadets.
Quick defense created turnovers, the offense moved the basketball around wonderfully for open shots both from the outside and the inside. The rebounding advantage was huge on the side of Mount Vernon.
Joey Rhomberg and Jackson Kutcher added 15 points each to complement Erickson’s 19. If only Spanish foreign-exchange student Ivan Millian could have scored his first points of the season.
The crowd favorite put up two shots, but hit neither one.
“We were just through the scouting reports as coaches before we went to talk to the kids, and nine points we made, areas where we wanted to do well, we dominated in eight of them,” Roberts said. “We were laser focused.”
AT MOUNT VERNON
CRESTWOOD (32): Jacob Gaul 0-2 0-0 0, Zace Wemark 1-3 0-2 2, Maurice Powell 3-5 0-1 6, Ty Cotant 6-11 2-2 17, Brayden Thompson 0-2 0-0 0, Nate Dietzenbach 0-0 1-3 1, Layton Johnson 0-1 0-0 0, Cody Fett 0-0 0-0 0, Ben Isaacson 1-3 0-0 2, Robby Ollendieck 0-1 0- 0, Rawson Wolter 0-0 0-0 0, Brayden Henry 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 12-39 5-11 32.
MOUNT VERNON (63): Joey Rhomberg 6-12 12 15, Brady Erickson 8-11 2-4 19, Jackson Kutcher 5-8 2-2 15, Zach Fall 1-3 0-0 2, Jensen Meeker 2-2 0-0 4, Ryne Moeller 0-1 0-0 0, Evan Brase 4-4 0-0 8, Austin Deeb 0-3 0-0 0, Caleb Dausener 0-1 0-0 0, Michael Bremeister 0-0 0-0 0, Ben Merlak 0-1 0-0 0, Oliver Hinrichs 0-0 0-3 0, Nolan Jackson 0-1 0-0 0, Atticus Rood 0-0 0-0 0, Ryan Vig 0-0 0-0 0, Cooper Parks 0-0 0-0 0, Ivan Millian 0-2 0-0 0. Totals 26-49 5-11 63.
Halftime - Mount Vernon 37, Crestwood 19. 3-point goals - Crestwood 3-13 (Powell 0-2, Bigalik 0-2, Cotant 3-6, Thompson 0-1, Isaacson 0-1), Mount Vernon 6-18 (Rhomberg 2-7, Erickson 1-3, Kutcher 3-5, Fall 0-1, Moeller 0-1, Dauspenser 0-1). Rebounds - Crestwood 19 (Gaul, Wemark, Dietzenbach, Johnson, Isaacson, Ollendieck 2), Mount Vernon 37 (Rhomberg 11). Total fouls - Crestwood 12, Mount Vernon 14. Fouled out - None. Turnovers - Crestwood 15, Mount Vernon 14.
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