116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
MOUNT VERNON — The postgame debate centered on Austin Ash's height.
The official Mount Vernon boys' basketball roster has him listed at 6-foot-1. Head coach Ed Timm mentioned him being 6-1.
But the senior guard's dad, Carey, insisted that's not correct. He has grown, to a still-less-than-intimidating 6-2 1/2.
'Ah, I'm 6-1,' Austin Ash insisted with a smile, after his Class 3A sixth-ranked Mustangs brushed past 2A No. 8 Dyersville Beckman, 59-52, Tuesday night.
Whatever the tape measure says, Ash is the tallest guy in Mount Vernon's regular eight-man playing rotation. It's a skinny 6-1 or 6-2 1/2 to boot.
You see the Mustangs' lack of physical stature and wonder how they can be such a good team, especially being part of a Wamac Conference East Division that's always uber tough. Mount Vernon improved to 10-3 overall, 7-1 in the division.
A date with undefeated leader West Delaware is upcoming Friday. The second-ranked Hawks, top-ranked Waverly-Shell Rock and No. 4 Mount Pleasant are the only teams to beat them.
'And in the fourth quarter of all three of those games, we had a shot to tie or go ahead,' Timm said.
'We kind of beat the crap out of each other in practice,' said Ash, who finished with a game-high 24 points. 'We work really hard. A lot of our guys aren't that big, but they play physical.'
This game was tight the whole way. Beckman (10-4), which had an eight-game win streak stopped, was hot from 3-point territory early, especially guard Riley LeGrand, building a 12-5 lead.
Mount Vernon responded and went ahead at the break by four and after three quarters by two. An Ash trey in transition put them up, 55-50, with 3:38 remaining, and that turned out to be the dagger.
'We're playing really well,' said Beckman Coach Jim Squiers. 'We were a little shaky to start the year off, but I think we had an eight-game winning streak snapped tonight. It's a good group that we have. It really is. They work hard, play for 32 minutes, and that's all you can ask.'
LeGrand led Beckman with 23 points, including five triples. Jeremy Krogmann added 14 points for Mount Vernon, which actually outrebounded its much taller opponent.
The Mustangs play hard, move the ball well offensively and have a ton of cohesion and chemistry.
'If you had told me at the beginning of the year that we'd be ranked sixth, I'd have said you were smoking something,' Timm said. 'Our kids right now are playing with a lot of confidence ... We are so undersized, we know we have to block out. We know we have to go get the ball, and we have some kids that really go after it.
'I told our guys that I am so proud of our team. They have over-achieved so much.'
Timm had lots of great words about Ash, who has accepted a recruited walk-on position for next season at the University of Iowa.
'Austin might be the best 6-foot-1, 140-pound rebounder in the state,' Timm said. 'He's such a competitor, such a great leader for us. I can't begin to tell you how much he has developed his leadership skills. You see all the stuff he does here, playing and scoring and stuff like that. But there are a lot of times he could score 30 if he wants to, but he gets everybody involved. He'll score 20 points, and it's the quietest 20 points you've ever seen. Because he scores off a post up, he scores off a steal, he scores off a rebound, a 3. He scores in so many different ways. Teams have tried box-and-one, but it really doesn't bother us much because he finds other ways to score and get other guys involved.'
AT MOUNT VERNON
DYERSVILLE BECKMAN (52): Sam Stelken 7-13 0-0 14, Jackson Bennett 1-4 0-0 2, Mitchell Gehling 4-12 0-0 8, Riley LeGrand 9-20 0-0 23, Brady Arens 1-3 1-2 3, Ben Palmer 0-0 0-0 0, Connor McDermott 0-0 1-2 1. Totals 22-52 2-4 52.
MOUNT VERNON (59): Nick Leopold 0-3 0-0 0, Jeremy Krogmann 7-15 0-0 14, Zackary Krogmann 4-5 0-0 8, Austin Ash 8-15 5-5 24, Drew Adams 1-7 0-0 3, Trenton Baty 1-1 1-2 4, Cale Snedden 2-2 0-2 4, Blake Booth 1-2 0-0 3, Gabe Golberg 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 24-50 6-9 59.
Halftime — Mount Vernon 36, Dyersville Beckman 32. 3-point goals — Beckman 6-14 (Bennett 1-2, LeGrand 5-13, Arens 0-1), Mount Vernon 5-12 (Leopold 0-1, J. Krogmann 0-1, Ash 3-6, Adams 1-3, Booth 1-1). Rebounds — Beckman 28 (LeGrand 11), Mount Vernon 29 (Ash 7). Total fouls — Beckman 12, Mount Vernon 8. Fouled out — None. Turnovers — Beckman 10, Mount Vernon 9.
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