When the beast gets hungry, the beast needs to eat.
As Mount Vernon will attest, Avery Williams is exactly that for Tri-Valley.
The 6-foot-7 Williams scored 15 of his team-high 19 points in the second half, and the Scotties leaned on stout fourth-quarter defense to earn a 50-45 nonleague win Saturday.
The game essentially was a dual between Williams and Mount Vernon’s Duke Cunningham, a wing player who scored a game-high 23 points on 10-of-17 shooting.
The Yellow Jackets (5-1) had leads of 9-2, 17-10 and 22-13 in the first half, as Cunningham 11 points. His 3-pointer just ahead of the halftime buzzer gave Mount Vernon a 25-21 lead.
But the rest of the game was controlled by the Scotties (4-0), who used a 19-5 run during the second and third quarters to take a 32-28 lead.
Williams consistently was able to get the ball near the basket in the second half, which led to a 6-of-7 shooting effort. Included was a key three-point play that gave his team a 48-43 lead with 1:47 remaining.
Camden Craig followed with a pair of free throws with 1:00 left to push the lead to 50-43, and the Yellow Jackets never got closer than the final score.
Tri-Valley coach Todd McLoughlin credited the interior defense of senior Ethan Slaboden and perimeter play of Trevor Krouskoupf, who helped hold the Mount Vernon to one field goal in a five-minute stretch in the fourth.
Of course, there was Williams, whose offensive play was the story of the second half.
“We run everything through Avery. He’s a beast down there,” McLoughlin said. “He’s going to be awfully good. I haven’t seen anyone run the floor like him once he gets it from the block. There were a couple times when he scored and then turned and beat everyone else back down on the other end.”
Williams said he wanted the ball in the second half and credited the outside shooting of Krouskoupf, Brandon Martin and Marcus Dempsey for opening up the post.
“We knew we had to come out in the second half and execute,” Williams said. “In the first half I knew I could score, but in the second half we were more balanced and it helped get them out of the paint.”
Tri-Valley, which had 11 turnovers, was 16-of-36 from the field, and it included a 5-of-9 showing on 3s. It also made 13-of-18 free throws.
Mount Vernon hit 5-of-7 3s among its 20-of-46 showing from the field, but never attempted a free throw. It started the game 5-of-6 from the field, but shot just 38 percent the rest of the way.
Alex Arck added 13 points for the Jackets.
“We battled in the second half,” McLoughlin said. “They didn’t get as many of those shots to fall in the second half as they did in the first.”
Mount Vernon took the reserve game 43-41 behind 16 points from Jared Pryor. Drew Ritchey’s 21 points led the Scotties.