Rams down Jersey to remain unbeaten at home


Photo by Grant Smith

Simon Wilson, ’20 shoots a shot at the free throw line. Wilson ended the night with 20 points.

Brandyn Wilcoxen, Sports Writer

There’s something indescribable about playing at Stanley A. Changnon Gymnasium. The atmosphere is largely uncontested around the area, titled “The best basketball experience in Southern Illinois.” When a Friday night rolls around, everybody is in for a show.

However, it was not Friday, but Tuesday night when the Rams returned to action at home. That, compounded with an early start and record low temperatures, snowballed into a game with a relatively small crowd cheering for the hometown Rams to so what they do best: win at home.

And win at home, they did, putting together a 68-34 beat down on the Jersey Panthers to improve to 14-7, and 5-0 at home. Mt. Vernon had success straight out of the starting blocks – they were perfect shooting for the first 7:57 of the game – and never looked back.

The Rams were led in scoring by Simon Wilson, ’20 with 20 points, followed by Amir Spann, ’20 with 14 points, Jackson Creel, ’20 with nine points, Weston Brockhouse, ’19 with eight points, Lukas Cooper, ’19 with five points, Brier Vaneyke, ’21 with four points, Carson Prost, ’21 and Trey Sharp, ’19 with three points each, and Adam Ackley, ’20 with two points.

As already mentioned, the Rams got out to a hot start. The first eight minutes saw Wilson, Creel, Spann, Cooper, and Brockhouse all make their marks in the first quarter, giving them an early 24-9 lead.

While offensive production slowed down in the second quarter, Mt. Vernon played great defense and held the Jersey Panthers to 16 points in the first half. While the second period was not as flashy, the Rams still held a 31-16 lead going into the locker rooms. 

After a quarter of keeping pace with Jersey, Mt. Vernon created some separation on the scoreboard with a 17-point quarter, backed by seven from Wilson, to give them a 48-29 lead after three quarters of play.

The final quarter saw a couple of three-pointers and three-point plays before the starters bowed out to make way for the unbeaten JV lineup of Prost, Quani Rudd, ‘21, Evan Leake, ‘21, Dylan Harkins, ‘21, and Hunter Simmons, ‘21. With them, Sharp was rotated in, and immediately showed off his range with a fastbreak three-pointer from the Rams logo at mid-court.

In the waning minutes of an already-decided game, the team of Ackley, Vaneyke, Mason Hemby, ‘20, Don’ye Johnson, ‘21, and Tramell Hawkins, ‘21 made up the crew on the court as the Rams finished off the 68-34 victory.

The showing on Tuesday was a far contrast to the admittedly poor showing against Marion only four nights prior, and the win gives them much-needed momentum, as they’ve now won back-to-back games for the first time since their seven-game winning streak back in December.

The Rams will go to Carbondale to face the Terriers on Friday, February 1st. The Rams were victorious in their first matchup, winning 57-38. However, the game is in Carbondale, not Mt. Vernon. Tip off for the JV game is scheduled for 6:15, with the varsity game to follow.