Early foul trouble and poor shooting were too much for the Whiteland boys basketball team to overcome Tuesday night in its season-opener at Mount Vernon.
The Warriors clawed back in the third quarter to cut its deficit to five points, but the Marauders pulled away in the final stanza to win, 57-44.
Disappointment aside, first-year Whiteland coach Matt Wadsworth said the game was a good gauge for the Warriors, and he liked what he saw.
“We talked about energy and enthusiasm from the start, and I thought we had that for Game 1,” said Wadsworth. “But we just want to build from here in that regard. I thought we played hard and I think we saw lots of potential on the court. I think we’re a team that’s going to improve throughout the year.”
Whiteland (0-1) finished 17 of 47 from the field (36 percent) and narrowly lost the rebound battle, 24-23. The Warriors made 3 of 5 from the free-throw line and committed 13 turnovers
Senior guard Ethan Wilson led Whiteland with 11 points and made 3 of 7 3-point shots. Senior center Dejan Davis scored nine points and recorded a team-high five rebounds.
Mount Vernon (1-0) shot 46 percent from the field (18 of 39) and was near perfect from the foul line (17 of 18). Marauders junior guard CJ Coleman’s led all scorers with 28 points on 9-of-15 shooting from the field.
Mount Vernon senior Stephen Turner, a 6-foot-6 forward, had 16 points and pulled down a game-best seven rebounds.
Wadsworth said he was pleased Whiteland came out strong in the second half and never got discouraged.
“I just think it shows that our kids have confidence and they’re going to fight,” he said. “That’s all you can ask for at this stage of the year. Fight, have confidence, believe in yourself and get better.”
Whiteland plays again Saturday when it plays host to Greenfield-Central.