CARBONDALE — The Carbondale Terriers jumped out to a 10-0 lead and cruised to a 55-39 win over Mount Vernon in a boys South Seven basketball battle on Friday.
"The key was the energy level we had in the first five minutes of the game," said Carbondale coach Jim Miller. "The game plan was, we had to control the tempo on both ends. We had to make sure we were extending our defenses and not letting them become comfortable in the full-court or half-court set. On the same token, we had to finish that defense by rebounding and keeping the pressure on by pushing the ball up the floor and getting transition baskets."
Carbondale improved to 5-2 and 2-1 in the South Seven while Mount Vernon dropped to 4-3 and 0-2 in conference play. The Terriers are back in action Saturday with an afternoon game, hosting Waterloo at 3:15 p.m.
Kani Acree led the Terriers with 17 points with Clayton Greer adding 10. Darius Beane and Tavaris Macklin finished with nine points each and James Baltz had eight.
"Darius’ contributions wasn’t necessarily on the scoreboard, but he did other things extremely well," Miller said. "He distributed the basketball and he took care of the basketball. We had four turnovers as a team, which speaks very well of our decision-making, and he’s the point guard and the decision-making starts with him."
The Terriers dominated the first 5:10, with a different player making the first four baskets. Baltz got it all started with a putback 52 seconds in. Greer followed by scoring on a rebound of his missed shot and Beane hit a pullup from the free throw line to keep it going.
Beane then stole the ball and fed Acree for a layup. Greer added another layup while being fouled, but the sophomore missed the three-point play.
"The worst thing that could happen happened," said Mount Vernon coach Doug Creel. "They got on a roll and got on top of us and that’s not good for us. We need to grind them a little bit, but their pressure defense made us play a little faster than we wanted to."
The Rams finally snapped their scoreless streak with 2:32 remaining in the first quarter on a jumper from the right side by Zach Williams. Amir Spann followed with a jumper from the free throw line, and the lead was cut down to six with 1:55 left.
Acree stopped the run with a tip-in and Beane followed with a free throw to extend the lead back to nine. After O’Shea Hardin made a pair of free throws, Greer canned a 3-pointer from right side to give the Terriers a 10-point lead heading into the second quarter.
After the Rams cut the lead to nine with 5:32 left, the Terriers exploded for nine points in two minutes to double the lead. Macklin got it started with a jumper and a free throw.
Zanidrelle Johnston then stole the ball and fed Macklin for a fast break layup. After Spann was called for an offensive foul, Acree scored, and 21 seconds later, scored again after Greer stole another pass.
"When our defense is really clicking it makes everything look really good for the Terriers," Miller said. "Our kids played very unselfish and got really good contributions from everyone on the floor."
The Rams cut the lead down to 16 at the half and then to 13 to open the third quarter on a 3-pointer by Weston Brockhouse. The Terriers rebuilt their lead to 16 on a 3-pointer by Acree.
The Rams got those points back on a 3-pointer by Williams, and Spann chopped it down to 11 with 1:10 left in the third period, but that was as close as the Rams would get.
Hardin led the Rams with 13 points and Spann came off the bench to score 10.