After being honored at mid-court for senior night, Mount Vernon-Enola guard Tanner Smothers and post player Devin King each registered 14 points to carry the Warhawks past feisty Quitman 48-40 Friday night at Mount Vernon.
MVE, which improved to 23-8 overall and 7-3 in 1A/2A District 7 games, defeated the Bulldogs by a total of 28 points in their previous two meetings. But Quitman came out ready to spoil the seniors’ celebration.
The Bulldogs took a quick 3-0 lead on guard Blaine Turner’s three launched up top, but Smothers fired back with three consecutive shots from beyond the arch to push the Warhawks out to an early lead.
Following a timeout, Quitman used a 6-0 run to regain the lead as Turner pulled down an offensive rebound and hit a fade way shot, forward Blake Patrom converted a steal into a layup and post player Zach Heffentrager scored in the paint off an assist from Turner.
King responded with two baskets inside off assists from fellow senior Kaden Hyde and power forward Kanyin Martin as the Warhawks took a 13-10 lead to the second quarter.
MVE point guard Brooks Tipton drained a heavily contested three from the wing before Quitman surged in front with a 12-0 run ignited by guard Trey Lovelady’s driving shot. Turner followed with a three, Heffentrager hit two free throws and reserve forward Devyn McVay scored from right block off an assist from Turner.
Turner capped Quitman’s 12-0 run by flipping a steal into a layup before MVE finally responded with a bucket from King, slicing the Bulldogs’ halftime lead to four at 23-19.
The Warhawks came out of the locker room with a sense of urgency as reserve senior forward Tommy Webb drove to the basket for a layup, causing the student section to erupt. The senior’s basket catapulted an 8-0 run that also featured a fade away jumper from Tipton, a scoop shot by Hyde and two King free throws.
The Bulldogs ended their drought when Lovelady ripped a corner three of an assist from Turner, but Tipton quickly fired back with a jumper and Martin came up with a steal and drove coast-to-coast for a layup.
Lovelady stayed with his own miss and scored at the buzzer to trim MVE’s lead to five at 34-29 heading into the fourth quarter.
Similar to the start of the game, the Warhawks turned to their seniors early in the final period as King powered inside for two and Smothers buried a three from the wing.
Trailing 43-34, Quitman chipped away as Patrom turned an offensive rebound into two free throws, then Turner swiped a steal that led to a follow shot from forward Trey McGhee.
McGhee’s steal and gliding layup cut MVE’s lead to four before Smothers sank two free throws and Tipton added two more from the charity stripe to set the final.
Turner led Quitman with 10 points, Patrom added eight and Lovelady finished with seven. McGhee tossed in five, forward Hunter McClung and Heffentrager each had four, while McVay chipped in a basket for the Bulldogs, who dropped to 10-13 overall and 8-9 in district games.
Following Smothers and King’s 14 points, Tipton followed closely with 13 for MVE. Martin added three, while Hyde and Webb each contributed a bucket.