GLASGOW – They’re Mount Pleasant’s odd couple, Keon Taylor and KVonn Cramer. The one trait they share, however, is winning.
The duo were part of a gray-and-green wave that engulfed an under-the-radar good Glasgow boys basketball team 74-50 on Tuesday as No.1-ranked Mount remained undefeated at 5-0.
“Keon was our starting point guard the last two years,” said coach Lisa Sullivan. “Two years ago we were in the state semifinals, last year we were in the semifinals and this year we’re undefeated. That’s Keon Taylor’s resume. He’s a quiet assassin. He doesn’t say a lot, but he does exactly what you ask him to do. Exactly.”
Like, play defense. The 6-foot-1 senior had three steals and was in the middle of a swarming defense that coaxed the Dragons into committing 31 turnovers, eventually turning the game all the Green Knights’ way. Like, lead on offense. He scored eight points, was a facilitator with the ball and kept the tempo at breakneck speed.
“He’s like our Kobe [Bryant],” said the more effervescent Cramer. “He’s just a great leader on the team, a great motivator.”
Cramer, a 6-foot-5 sophomore and relative newcomer the game, is more a quick fix to any problem the Knights might face. And nothing does it like a slam dunk followed up by a monster block at the other end of the court.
Glasgow (2-3) was able to forge a 17-13 lead 2 ½ minutes into the second quarter with solid half-court offensive play. Six different players scored in a 12-point first quarter and Zion Taylor’s 3-pointer gave the Dragons their biggest lead of four.
Cramer then led Mount on an 8-1 run, scoring all eight points on two follows, a turnaround jump hook and his first big jam of the night in transition. Glasgow hung close before Fah’Mir Ali hit a 3-pointer to help the Knights close out the half ahead 30-24.
“KVonn is at a different level this year,” said Sullivan. “People think he’s one dimensional; they think he’s just a dunker. I mean, he can, fortunately for us. But he’s not just that.”
Still, there is no overlooking the impact of the Cramer dunk.
Mount Pleasant broke the game open by going on a 15-2 run to open the second half, scoring six times in transition during that burst. And the one play that got the gym rocking, got the bench hopping and got a timeout out of Dragons coach Jeremy Jeanne … ?
Taylor intercepting a pass and drilling a strike to a breaking Ali, who underhanded a pass off the glass to a trailing Cramer for the emphatic jam.
Two factors played in the game getting away from Glasgow. One, the Dragons were short-handed at point guard for this game, and when Devon Earl got into foul trouble, ball-handing became a problem. The other factor, Mount Pleasant didn’t care.
“We’ve got the whole game, the whole 32 minutes, and we have a defense,” said Taylor, “so I don’t worry about it. You really can’t stop us, because we’re so deep. We’ve got like a starting five on the bench.”
To Sullivan’s way of thinking, they’ve got the horses to do it, so just open the door and let them run.
Taylor goes about business as usual, Cramer scores 24 points to go with four blocks and seven offensive rebounds, DeJon Backus blocks five shots, and Ali, a sophomore transfer from Salesianum, leaves the building with 14 points and nine steals.
“I thought I was blessed with having [graduated all-state guard] Raheem Burnett,” said Sullivan. “His basketball IQ will never be replaced. So, in walks Fah’Mir Ali. I’m not saying he’s Raheem Burnett right now, but he certainly will be — like a high basketball IQ where he understands things, and when he doesn’t, he’s willing to work.”
Senior guard Rahsaan Brown led Glasgow with 15 points, while 6-foot-6 junior Devin McDowell worked the low post for 10 points.