No. 4 MP boys top Keokuk, No. 6 Mt. Vernon
BY ANDY KRUTSINGER
Mt. Pleasant News
It was two up, two down for the fourth-ranked Mt. Pleasant boys this weekend.
The Panthers blasted SEC-rival Keokuk, 90-32, in their first game on Friday night and then won a battle of ranked teams against No. 6 Mt. Vernon, 54-47, on Saturday.
Mt. Pleasant scored the first 12 points of the ballgame and never let go of their double-digit lead in the win over Keokuk. The Panthers won the first quarter, 27-2, and the second quarter, 28-7, to breeze through the first half with a 55-9 lead.
The Panthers’ up-tempo game style was too much for the Chiefs, who were never able to solve the quicker Mt. Pleasant team.
“That’s just the way we play,” said Panther coach Paul Rundquist after the game. “It doesn’t matter who we play, that’s our style. We want to really be attacking on offense and aggressive defensively without fouling.”
Mt. Pleasant stretched their lead to 77-20 after three quarters and were able to clear their bench in the fourth, resting the starters for the Mt. Vernon game the next day.
Brady Sartorius led the team with 24 points on a perfect 10-10 shooting against the Chiefs. He also had four steals. Jordan Magnani had 16 points, seven rebounds and five steals, and Tom O’Connor scored 11 points to give Mt. Pleasant three double-digit scorers.
Payton Kelly had eight points in the win. Colin Mulford scored seven points and had three steals. Kieran Kohorst scored six. Brody McGhghy, Jonathan Ita and Rhett Zeglen scored five apiece and Maison Ashton had three.
Mt. Pleasant stayed hot early in the Mt. Vernon game. The Panthers took the first quarter 25-14, and the second quarter 7-6, to take a 32-20 lead at the half.
Mt. Vernon didn’t go away without a fight. The Mustangs cut the lead to six points by the end of the third quarter and the Panthers’ lead was down to 40-34 going into the fourth.
The Mustangs had a handful of chances to cut the lead to one possession but couldn’t convert against the tough Panther defense and Mt. Pleasant walked out with a seven-point win.
“I thought the kids gutted it out,” said Rundquist after the win. “We haven’t had many opportunities to be up six or seven late in the game. We’ve either had large leads or we’ve been battling to try and catch teams.”
Sartorius had 18 points, four assists and three steals in the win. Mulford had nine. Magnani had eight points and five assists.
Kohorst scored six points in the win. McGhghy had five. Ashton scored four. Ita and O’Connor ended with two points apiece.
The Panthers moved to 12-2 overall and 6-0 in conference play. They’ll be back in action on Tuesday, Jan. 24, against Chariton. The boys’ game will begin at 7 p.m.