CARTERVILLE — The Carterville girls basketball team probably can’t play better on offense than it did in the first half of a nonconference game against Mount Vernon on Thursday night.
The Lions racked up 50 points in the first 13 minutes of the game and defeated the Rams, 73-50.
Carterville used runs of 14 and 10 points to amass a 31-10 lead after just one quarter of play.
“It was pretty to watch,” said Carterville coach Matt Crain. “We’re in the middle of the season, and I challenged them before the game to bring their energy. For the first half, they brought it the whole time. They didn’t look at the score board, they just played the game hard. I was really proud of our effort.”
Annibelle Harrison made a bucket for Mount Vernon, which ended Carterville’s 14-0 run in the opening quarter. But the Lions made another one.
Hanna Schulmeister buried a triple, and Abbey Crain scored in transition to start a 10-0 streak. Megan Barton produced the final five points of the run. That gave the Lions a 24-4 advantage.
Jeniah Thompson scored 17 of her game-high 23 points in the opening half. Thompson was all over the place and racked up numerous steals and rebounds.
“I talked to her after the tournament, and people have to remember that she is still just a sophomore,” Crain said. “I told her she needed to take charge out there. She is unselfish, and she has really responded in the last couple of games. She has to shoot the ball because she draws people to her when she does that and then things open up for everyone else. She had 32 at Pinckneyville the other night, so she is getting the message.”
Barton made a basket in transition to push the Carterville lead to 54-16 with 2:17 left in the second quarter.
Harrison was a bright spot for the Rams, as she scored eight straight points, including a pair of 3-pointers, in the final two minutes of the first half.
Lexi Swalls drained a 3-pointer with 12 seconds left in the second period, and the Lions took a 57-24 lead into the locker room at halftime. Carterville sank all eight of its 3-pointers in the first half.
Barton added 16 points for Carterville, Schulmeister had 10, and Crain contributed nine. Harrison and Savannah Childers paced Mount Vernon with 13 points apiece.
“The defense was good, and it led to a lot of those points,” Crain said. “When we would get a steal, the first thing we did was put our heads up and look for the person in front of us. We were under control. We really maximized our possessions.”