By Steven Kochersperger
When something you love comes to an end sooner than you want it to it is never easy. The same is true in sports as it is in life and this week the Mount Vernon Wildcat basketball team had it’s season come to an abrupt end at the hand of the Bosse Bulldogs in the sectional semi-final match up. Mount Vernon played much better than the first time these two teams met up but the ending was the same as Bosse outshot and outscored Mount Vernon to a 76-61 victory Friday night in Princeton. For Wildcat coach Marc Hostetter the finality of the ending of this season was harder than he might have imagined.
“You’re never prepared for the end of the season,” Hostetter said after the game. “You never think the end is coming when you are in the fight and now that it’s over I feel just pride. The things you don’t measure, the determination, the fight, the passion, were all there tonight and I am very proud of that. There were times this season we were not sure we had those immeasurables but tonight they were all there. This has been a fun group to coach this year and I am going to miss the seniors. I just can’t say enough about those guys.”
The game opened with the two teams battling for the lead. Bosse opened the contest by scoring the first four points of the game, something they would do in the opening of the first three periods of the contest Friday night. Senior Wildcat Bryce Newman wanted to make sure the game did not get out of hand and was able to produce off a turnover and get the three point play to make the game 4-3 early on. Colton Irvin scored the next four points for the Wildcats to keep the score close at 8-7 midway through the first period before Newman hit a pair of jumpers to end the Wildcat scoring in the opening period of play. And while Mount Vernon showed the intensity and team work necessary to beat an opponent like Bosse, it was the Bulldogs who walked into the second period ahead 15-11.
Bosse turned up their defensive pressure in the second period causing several turnovers that led to points in the opening minutes of the second period. And while Newman and Irvin have been looked to often to produce points for the Cats, the team needed someone else to step up and score when Bosse put their sites on the pair. It was Sophomore Damon Collins that stepped up and filled that roll Friday. Collins hit a big three pointer to pull Mount Vernon within four in the opening of the second period at 18-14 and later kept it close with a step back jumper to keep the Cats close at 23-16. Bosse would use their defensive pressure in the second period and go on some important runs to eventually take a 32-23 lead at the half.
And while the third period has been a struggle for Mount Vernon a big portion of the season, Friday night the Cats used it as a springboard to outscore Bosse to get back into the contest. Mount Vernon found some all important inside points from Zach French and Colton Irvin and when Irvin found himself all alone behind the three point line he took the shot to pull Mount Vernon within seven points at 53-44. Newman’s buzzer beater at the end of the third period put Mount Vernon back in the game on the scoreboard with confidence trailing 54-46 heading into the final period of play.
The Wildcats would try to make one last run in the fourth period but could not stop Bosse defensively. Eventually it was the Bulldogs who hung on and hit free throws to ensure the victory at 76-61 ending Mount Vernon’s season and sectional hopes.
The Wildcats were led in scoring Friday by their two seniors Bryce Newman and Colton Irvin. Newman had 26 points in his final High School game while Irvin added 17 for Mount Vernon. Sophomore Damon Collins had 12 points to round out the Wildcat scoring.
The Wildcats end their season with an overall record of 8-15. The team loses their five seniors, Bryce Newman, Colton Irvin, Taylor Vaughn, Levi Shannon, and Justin Rutledge as they look to the future. These five should be proud of their accomplishments for the program over the last four years as they have added a lot and left a trail of crumbs to follow.
By Steven Kochersperger