VEEDERSBURG – Fountain Central boys basketball fans looked at the scoreboard early in the first quarter and could not believe their eyes.
Neither could Mustang coach Greg Dean. Down 6-0 three minutes into the game, Dean called a timeout following five empty possessions.
After the talk with his team, it was full throttle for the Class 1A No. 7 Mustangs. They scored nine of the next 11 points, never trailed again and finally pulled away from Clinton Prairie 56-30 Saturday evening on Dave Sanders Floor.
“I thought the way we started defensively we didn’t have any energy,” Dean said. “That’s what we’re built on is getting after it, being physical and flying around. We weren’t doing that. They responded, picked it up and went from there.”
Dean’s number one plan offensively was to solve CP coach Chad Peckinpaugh’s famous 3-2 zone.
“I thought the biggest thing was to get it in the middle. When we made our run we got a lot of shots at the bucket. We were able to handle their physicality, get shots off and went to the free throw line a few times. Once we played inside we were able to get some three point shots.”
As usual, FC fired several different weapons. The home team led 14-8 after one quarter. A 20-8 second period left little doubt on the outcome.
“This time of year all the teams know all the other teams’ stuff. They find ways to put defensive game plans together. We had some other guys step up tonight and get some shots and I thought we did a good job of moving the basketball.”
In that second quarter, 6-foot-10 Mason Larkin hit all four of his shots, including a pair of threes and tallied 12 of his team high 17 points.
“When we can stretch the floor with him as a big it’s a huge weapon for us and Will (Harmon) is good at finding him. When it’s Mason it can be an inside-outside situation.”
There is still plenty of season left, but Larkin is drawing attention from the next level.
“When you’re a 6-10 kid that can shoot it, do some different things and are pretty skilled you get all kinds of contact from Division III up to Division I. He’s still getting recruited, we’re trying to figure some things out for him and we hope we can find a landing spot for him.”
The Mustangs extended the advantage to 46-24 after three quarters as the defense intensified.
Owen Acton scored 11 off the bench, including five straight in the first quarter. Harmon added eight. Koby Wolf and Isaac Gayler had six each. Eight different Mustangs scored.
Larkin had seven rebounds to lead FC.
CP’s sophomore star Jake McGraw tossed in 18 of his team’s 30 points and also grabbed 7 boards. However, he hit only 7-of-20 from the floor. The visitors were 1-of-14 from behind the arc and 12-41 total.
The Mustangs were 21-39 shooting and 9-11 from the free throw line. They also won the rebound battle 32-23.
FC has now won four straight after consecutive losses by a total of three points. Dean’s team is in the midst of four straight double weekends, with a game Friday at home against Faith Christian and then on the road Saturday at Benton Central.
“It gets harder from here down the stretch so we need some rest, but we’ll be ready.”