SENECA — The Seneca Lady Indians earned a 40-all score headed into the fourth quarter when sophomore guard Taylor Mailes weaved her way through the Mount Vernon Lady Mountaineer defense and found Payton Clouse for a layup at the buzzer.

SENECA — The Seneca Lady Indians earned a 40-all score headed into the fourth quarter when sophomore guard Taylor Mailes weaved her way through the Mount Vernon Lady Mountaineer defense and found Payton Clouse for a layup at the buzzer.
With momentum possibly on Seneca’s side, top seed Mount Vernon only replied with the first 14 points of the fourth quarter and it was 6 minutes, 22 seconds into the fourth when Seneca senior Kayleigh Hancock made a pair of free throws for the first Seneca points.
By that point, the damage had already been done and Mount Vernon earned a 58-46 win Thursday night to advance to Saturday night’s championship game against Lamar.
Lamar buried Butler 50-32 in the late semifinal Thursday.
So many times Thursday it looked as if Mount Vernon had Seneca on the ropes and only needed to deliver that knockout punch, but the Lady Indians kept fighting, hanging around and scrapping back into a tie score or even the lead.
For example, Mount Vernon’s Haylee Yeats opened the third quarter with a 3-point shot for a 15-7 lead, but the Lady Indians went on a quick 11-2 run and took a 18-17 lead when Hancock converted an old-fashioned three-point play 4:16 before halftime. Hancock banked her shot in high off the glass.
For the rest of the first half, Mount Vernon and Seneca traded baskets and punches — with eventually Call giving the Lady Mountaineers a 25-24 halftime advantage on a late basket. The Lady Indians took a 24-21 lead — after six consecutive points by senior Maranda Cooper — before Mount Vernon answered the last four.
Then, in the third quarter, Call scored eight straight points to give Mount Vernon a 36-29 advantage with 3:17 on the clock.
Call had a chance to make it a 38-29 game, but Mailes stepped up on the defensive end, picked Call’s pocket, and then stepped up on the other end with a basket to kill the run. Chaney Platner buried a 3-point shot and all of a sudden it was a 36-34 game.
Seneca finished the third on a 11-4 run the final 3:17, with seniors Cooper and Clouse finishing the quarter with baskets.
Foul trouble finally caught up with Seneca in the fourth quarter, as both Clouse and Hancock fouled out. Clouse fouled out with 5:19 and Hancock with 14.6 seconds remaining.
Mount Vernon outscored Seneca 18-6 in the fourth. The Lady Mountaineers had a 31-2 first quarter in their 71-19 win Monday over Diamond.
Call scored a game-high 28 points to spark the Lady Mountaineers and she knocked down three 3-point shots and made all 12 of her free throw attempts in the game. She proved a difficult challenge for Seneca defenders, with her ability to shoot from deep, drive to the basket and then draw contact and either finish the play or make her free throws.
Ashlyn McCanless added nine points and Mikala Veith, Mount Vernon’s lone senior, kept her high school career going with eight points.
Playing their final high school games, Cooper, Hancock and Clouse had 14, 11 and six points, respectively. Mailes added 12 points, as four Seneca players combined for 43 points.
Mount Vernon improved to 23-6 and Seneca finished its season 15-12.

MOUNT VERNON 58, SENECA 46
Seneca                 7  17 16  6 — 46
Mount Vernon        12 13 15 18 — 58
SENECA (15-12) — Maranda Cooper 14, Taylor Mailes 12, Kayleigh Hancock 11, Payton Clouse 6, Chaney Platner 3.
MOUNT VERNON (23-6) — Cameron Call 28, Ashlyn McCanless 9, Mikala Veith 8, Caitlin Hicks 6, Camryn Eldridge 4, Haylee Yeats 3.