MP boys fall to Xavier in season opener, 56-33
An inexperienced Mt. Pleasant boys’ basketball team opened the season against tough competition on Tuesday night, falling to Cedar Rapids Xavier by a score of 56-33.
The Saints outscored Mt. Pleasant in every quarter of the Panthers’ home game, and held a 29-17 lead at halftime.
“We knew this was a really good Xavier team,” Mt. Pleasant Coach Paul Rundquist said. “We were looking forward to watching our group of kids play. The score doesn’t indicate how much our group has improved in the last two weeks.”
Few of the Mt. Pleasant players had any varsity experience coming into this season, but their half-court defense held strong — they didn’t allow the Saints to penetrate or get the ball to their big guy under the basket.
“We came in thinking about their 6-8 center going to Iowa (for football) — he didn’t score,” Rundquist said. “Our half-court defense was sound. It was our transition defense that was lacking.”
The Panther defense couldn’t do much to defend against the hot hand of Adam McDermott, who scored a game-high 23 points on 8-for-14 shooting — including 5-for-7 3-point shooting.
“The one thing they (Mt. Pleasant players) have to do is know where he is — they have to locate players,” Rundquist said. “But he’s able to catch and drive, too, so it makes him hard to defend. He’s a nice player; they’re a good team.”
As a team, Xavier shot and 20-for-43 (46.5 percent) from the field, including 9-for-17 (52.9 percent) from deep
The Mt. Pleasant offense wasn’t quite so hot, shooting just 5-for-23 (21.7 percent) from 3-point range and 13-for-41 (31.7 percent) overall.
“We (aim for) high-percentage shots,” Rundquist said. “We go wherever we can get a good look, and I thought we had some real good looks tonight. Shots just weren’t falling.”
Zach Mulford led the Panthers in scoring with 10 points and Pat Canby added seven.
Dustin Amos had five rebounds and Trey Magnani dished six assists.
Xavier starts the season 1-0 and Mt. Pleasant is 0-1.
The Panthers will travel to Fairfield on Friday for their Southeast Conference opener.
“We’ll have to come ready to go tomorrow, get ready for the big conference game,” Rundquist said.