MANSFIELD — Shad Creamer and his Mansfield Senior teammates played their best quarter of the season Friday night at Pete Henry Gym.
Creamer scored nine of his 12 points in the fourth quarter as Senior High rallied for a 50-40 win over Mount Vernon in Ohio Cardinal Conference action.
The Tygers (5-8, 4-5) outscored the Yellow Jackets (6-10, 5-4) 18-2 in the fourth period. Senior High trailed 38-29 with less than a minute to play in the third, only to close the game on a 21-2 run.
“It’s been a while since we’ve been able to score those kind of points in a quarter while getting some defensive stops and getting some rebounds,” Senior High coach Marquis Sykes said. “We played our best ball in the fourth quarter, which is when we really needed to.
“We put it all together in the fourth quarter.”
Saddled with foul trouble much of the night, Creamer was Mansfield Senior’s catalyst in the fourth. The undersized guard scored Senior High’s first five points of the fourth quarter.
“Shad’s been playing really well for us,” Sykes said. “He got into a little bit of foul trouble so we had to sit him and that’s when we had the majority of our issues.
“He’s the one who gets everything going for us. He’s our facilitator and when he’s not in, we tend to struggle offensively.”
The Yellow Jackets, who had won two straight, trailed 16-9 after the first quarter before turning the tables on the Tygers in the second. Mount Vernon outscored Senior High 16-8 to take a 25-24 advantage to the break. The Jackets continued to build on the lead in the third and opened a 38-29 advantage — their biggest of the night — when Evan Boatright split a pair of free throws with 1:02 remaining in the third.
“I really think we played our best two quarters of the season in the second and third quarters,” Mount Vernon coach Nick Coon said. “We had the game in control. They turned up the defensive pressure (in the fourth quarter) and we just didn’t handle it.
“Momentum, in life and athletics, is a heck of a thing and they got it and we couldn’t get it back.”
Mount Vernon still led 40-34 with 6:49 remaining in the fourth after a Spencer Bills layup, but a Creamer 3-pointer with 6:36 to go cut it to 40-37. Roger Merrell gave the Tygers a 41-40 lead with an offensive rebound and putback with 5:34 to play and added a steal and runout layup on Mount Vernon’s next possession.
Senior High never trailed again.
“When we play like that, it’s hard to stop,” said Merrell, who led the Tygers with 16 points.
Davin Brown backed Merrell and Creamer with eight points. Cam Todd had six points, five rebounds and five assists.
Boatright paced the Yellow Jackets with 12 points and seven boards. Blake Meyer added eight point and four rebounds.
Mount Vernon is at conference-leading Wooster on Tuesday. The Generals won the first meeting 56-47 at Mount Vernon.
“We’re playing a better quality of basketball,” Coon said. “We still have trouble with our consistency scoring the ball.”
The Tygers snapped a four-game losing streak that included a 54-51 loss at Wooster on Tuesday. Sen for High is at undefeated Sandusky on Saturday.
“We very easily, at the end of that third quarter, could have said, ‘Here we go again,’ ” Sykes said. “The guys didn’t. They stuck to the game plan and stayed positive and were able to pull out the win.”