VEEDERSBURG - Fountain Central’s defense was the shining star in a 38-28 girls basketball win over North Vermillion.
The Mustangs move to 6-7 on the season and 1-1 in the WRC with the win, while the Falcons drop to 3-5 overall and 0-3 in the league.
“We can always rely on our defense,” FC coach Sam Karr said.”We got some stops, especially late in the game, and we got some big rebounds. We can stop people, and tonight we got some buckets on the other end.”
An even first 11 minutes changed when the Mustangs held the visitors to two points for the last 4:51 of the first half.
That defensive effort showed up again in holding NV to one field goal in the third quarter, and then limiting the Falcons to only one field goal in the last 6:30 of the final quarter.
In the meantime, the Mustangs offense went on a 6-2 run to end the second quarter, a 9-0 run to open the third, and got a couple buckets late in the game to stop a Falcons comeback effort.
“We continue to work on the fundamentals,” Karr said. “It is all about the improvement, and we see it day after day. We showed some good things on offense tonight, and we took some better shots. It’s all about getting better.”
The 9-2 run in the second and the 9-0 run to start the third broke open a tie game and gave the Mustangs the double-digit lead.
North Vermillion scored six in a row to end the third and start the fourth quarters, and there might have been a little doubt creeping in on Bob Sanders Court.
But it was the defense that made the lead stand.
“We put our 1-3-1 trap and defense in when they got it to eight points,” Karr said. “It changed everything. It broke their momentum.”
There was also a big field goal by Rylee Simko with 4:40 left.
“It was a huge basket,” Karr said of the shot by the sophomore, who finished with a career-best 11 points, and added two assists and a steal to her line.
The Mustangs were led in scoring by Hannah Prickett, as the sophomore dropped five field goals and finished with 13 points. She had three assists, two steals and a blocked shot.
Brailey Hoagland added seven points, a team-best six rebounds, and also handed out eight assists and had two steals.
On the assists thought, the Mustangs had 15 assists on 16 made field goals, which had the coach happy after the game.
“We ran the offense pretty well,” Karr noted. “Getting those kind of assist numbers makes a coach proud.”
The home squad also forced 29 turnovers, and scored 20 points off those miscues, all in the first three quarters.
“It just makes the offense better,” Karr said. “It adds to the confidence, which is so important for this young team.”
For the game, FC was 16-of-29 from the field and 3-of-9 from long range. They were 3-of-7 from the line. They finished with 23 rebounds, and had 29 of their own turnovers.
Ten of those turnovers came late in the game, when things got a little chaotic.
“We survived those last minutes,” Karr said, “another credit to our defense.”
The Falcons were led in scoring by Callie Naylor, as the senior had 10 points. NV was 12-of-33 from the field, did not hit a three-pointer in seven shots, and were 4-of-13 from the line. Olivia Pearman had six boards to go with her six points.
The game was also a bit more personal for both Karr and assistant coach Maris Clark, who both taught and coached at North Vermillion recently.
Karr coached the boys hoops team to a sectional title before retiring from teaching this past year and coming to Fountain Central. Maris was with the Falcons for four years, was head baseball coach and also coached in the basketball program.
“I had all those North Vermillion girls in class,” Karr said. “It was nice to see them. They are all special folks, just like so many at North Vermillion.”
Both teams have non-conference games next.
The Falcons host Union (Dugger) on Saturday, while the Mustangs have a few more practice days before traveling to Indy to play Indiana Deaf School next Tuesday.