SPRINGFIELD, MO -- The O'Reilly Family Athletic center hosted its largest crowd of the season on Friday night to watch the Irish battle the Mountaineers of Mount Vernon. These two teams, better known for their football rivalry have been galvanizing a basketball rivalry in the past few years. In 2017/2018 the Irish took 2 of 3 contests, splitting two regular season matchups but bouncing back and dropping the Mt'neers in the State sectional game.
This years contest was highly anticipated. The Irish have established themselves as one of the top 3A teams in the state and the young Mountaineers have racked up an impressive record of 19-8 under coach Mike Ray. The young Mt'neer team jumped out on the Irish and took advantage of cold shooting building a 7-point lead in the process. The Irish would not score until halfway through the 1st quarter. The Irish finally settled in and tied the game at the 3:00 mark and ended the first quarter up two 15-13.
The second quarter would see 5 lead changes. The Mountaineers settled in, making 4 of 6 threes in the quarter but the Irish took advantage of their size and added 9 points in the paint with Will Morrison and Tyson Riley. The Irish would close out the quarter up 32-31.
Mount Vernon came out of halftime and immediately took the lead. Catholic would quickly answer with two 3-pointers from Hunter Brown and Charlie O'Reilly. The Irish would build on this lead throughout the 3rd and for the reamainder of the 4th. The Irish would once again outpace their opponent in the second half and did so by shooting 91% from the free-throw line in the fourth. The large crowd gave their Seniors a standing ovation with one minute remaining and Will Morrison capped of the game with an uncontested dunk.
The Irish will play their final regular-season game of the year with the Big 8 Crossover, hosting the Lamar Tigers next Tuesday (2/12) at 7pm. District play will begin on 2/19 at Clever High School.