Without typical wattage from its stars, Mount Vernon has been forced to succeed with traits like its strength, hustle and its effort on the glass. It also needed help from its bench on Friday to stave off a serious challenge from rival White Plains, and unheralded seniors Marques Henry and Tyger Hackett provided just that.
Henry scored 11 in the third quarter alone and Hackett provided seven key points late as the Knights beat White Plains 54-50 in a tense league game.
Henry finished with those 11 points to go with 12 rebounds, and Hackett had nine points and five boards. That included a key 3-pointer in the fourth quarter and going 4 for 4 at the line in the final seconds.
“That’s our job,” Mount Vernon coach Bob Cimmino said of his bench’s play. “That’s part of our script.”
Henry’s presence inside was key because the Knights (11-1) played most of the game without senior Brandon Martin due to foul trouble. Henry, Hackett and senior Akeem Krubally each hit key 3-pointers on a night in which Mount Vernon shot just 28 percent from the floor, but it was Hackett’s key free throws that prevented White Plains from pulling off anything extraordinary.
“Our last couple games, our stars have been getting in foul trouble really quick,” Hackett said. “In practice, coach told us that we’re looking for the next person to step up. We just had to do our job.”
Henry’s 11-point spurt in the third quarter keyed a 17-6 stretch that gave Mount Vernon the lead after White Plains held a 29-26 edge at halftime. The Tigers (12-2) were led by 13 first-half points from freshman Jordan Tucker. Senior Mike DeMello rallied late to post a game-high 18 points, but White Plains was hurt by defensive breakdowns.
The Tigers hadn’t beaten Mount Vernon in its gym since 1995 – Cimmino’s first season. That streak continued on Friday, despite White Plains having its chances.
“We were in position to win, but we had too many breakdowns when it was winning time,” White Plains coach Spencer Mayfield said. “We missed a box out, we missed a rotation at the most inopportune time. And we left quite a few layups on the board that we could’ve had.”