MOUNT VERNON – Quon Hilory didn’t get going until the second half Friday night.
Once he did, he couldn’t be stopped.
The senior finished with a game-high 17 points, including three 3-pointers and two key free throws in the final seconds to lead Mansfield Senior to a 45-41 victory at Mount Vernon.
“He has always done that, since he was a sophomore,” Tygers' coach Marquis Sykes said. “He’s a guy that, in the third or fourth quarter when we’re down, he can make those clutch shots. It’s what he always does. He makes plays in the paint and puts the ball down for us when we need it.”
Hilory’s first 3 came late in the third period on his fifth attempt. A fist-pump toward his bench alerted his teammates that he was ready to roll.
His second trey came midway through the fourth quarter on an awkward 22-footer off his back foot. The shot gave the Tygers their first lead since the opening seconds of the second period – a lead they kept for the rest of the game.
Jontey Greene scored 17 points for the Yellow Jackets, who held the lead for most of the game. Greene hit key shots late for Mount Vernon and was set up to tie the game in the final seconds. However, he was called for charging on his final shot and fouled out with 17 seconds remaining.
“Jontey loves to be in the gym, and it means something to be part of the team,” Mount Vernon coach Nick Coon said. “He cares about his teammates, and it shows. He did a lot of good things for us. There are some things to clean up, but that’s how it is with everyone on the team.”
The Yellow Jackets knocked the lead down to one with 33 seconds left on a pair of free throws from Greene.
Mansfield Senior's Cameron Todd hit a free throw to push it back to two, setting up Greene’s final play.
Greene took the ball coast-to-coast and looked to drive the lane. He made contact with Hilory on his way to the basket, but the officials ruled that Hilory was pushed.
De’Zion Taylor scored 11 points for the Tygers, who remained unbeaten in Ohio Cardinal Conference play at 4-0.
Angelo Grose scored eight points and led Mansfield with five rebounds, while Dontavious Burtin had five points and four boards.
Carpenter scored 13 points for the Jackets. Noah Gleason added five points, Evan Boatwright had four points and Jaxon Snyder scored two.
Mansfield (8-1) traded the lead with Mount Vernon for the first nine minutes of the game. The Yellow Jackets pulled away with a 12-3 run in the second period, sparked by a 3-pointer from Carson Carpenter.
The Tygers stayed in contact with defensive pressure and with second chances. They finished with 17 offensive rebounds. Meanwhile, Mount Vernon had one turnover in the first 12 minutes, but finished with 23.
“When we’re out in transition, we’re causing turnovers, and that’s when we’re at our best,” Sykes said. “We did that several times in the third and in the last few possessions in the fourth.
"When you do that in a game that doesn’t have a lot of possessions, that’s how we can control the tempo.”
Mount Vernon simply couldn't overcome the rebounding disadvantage.
“That’s a big part of their offense,” Coon said of Senior High’s offensive rebounds. “That kind of wore on us as the game went on.”
Mansfield rallied to within a point at halftime, but never regained the lead until three minutes into the fourth period. The Tygers host West Holmes on Wednesday.
The Yellow Jackets (5-5, 2-2 OCC) host nonconference rival Newark on Saturday night.