If you didn't recognize the crossroads that the Mount basketball team was at entering last night's home NEC game versus Monmouth, you've probably missed most of the last month of play.
The Mount had lost 4 of its last 5 and had seen its efficiency from behind the arc, and its ability to turn teams over diminish a bit during that stretch.
However, there definitely had been some positives on the Mount's desire to become a complete basketball team. The inside play of Kristijan Krajina had really started to develop and Taylor Danaher and Raven Barber had shown the ability to score inside points.
In addition, there had been stretches where the halfcourt defense had performed admirably, despite the fact that teams were in total still shooting a high percentage.
But it certainly did seem like the more the Mount missed from the outside the more the frustration mounted.
However, none of that was evident Saturday night. The Mount went about the first five or six minutes without shooting a three, and didn't make one until less than 10 minutes remained in the half. Yet they had built a lead and seemed in control of the game at that point.
Not only was Krajina scoring inside but guys were moving past an overplay on the perimeter to knock down mid-range jumpers.
Defensively the Mount wasn't forcing as many turnovers as they had been, but they were still settling in much better on the defensive end.
And all of a sudden they started to look like that team that was complete. The looks from outside were more open, and the shots started to drop. Sam Prescott, who matched Krajina's 15 for a team high, knocked down three three-pointers and the Mount shot a very good 4-of-10 from behind the arc in the first half.
In the second half, it looked as if Monmouth would rally on several occasions. But as soon as the Hawks pulled close the Mount made a run. And then maybe that constant pressure paid its biggest reward of the evening. The Mount pushed the lead back to double figures with a run that consisted of some Barber buckets inside, a Whack three, and a steal and an easy layin for Kelvin Parker.
And you had to feel good for Parker last night.
As well as the team had been playing in the first few months of the season, Parker hadn't really been a part of that on the floor. But he looked good on Thursday and was rewarded with more minutes on Saturday night. He made the most of it. And all of a sudden the Kelvin Parker that we saw as a lot of as a walk-on freshman, was back to contributing.
The completeness to the team was obviously more evident last night.
That is going to be needed over the next several weeks. The Mount begins a murderous stretch of seven games (Sorry Coach I did look ahead) that features five road games and home games against Wagner and Quinnipiac.
Without anything but a complete performance on Saturday night, the task would have appeared even more daunting.
Now, I think there is a sense of confidence again.
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