Kurt Sammons scored 22 points as the Johnstown-Monroe High School boys basketball team beat Mount Gilead 44-35 on Tuesday in the opening round of the Division III district tournament at Mount Vernon.

Kurt Sammons scored 22 points as the Johnstown-Monroe High School boys basketball team beat Mount Gilead 44-35 on Tuesday in the opening round of the Division III district tournament at Mount Vernon.

The Johnnies improved to 9-12 and will play top-seeded Hartley at 6:15 p.m. Friday at Gahanna. Mount Gilead finished 7-14.

"I just came out from the get-go feeling it and I looked to take my shots," said Sammons, a 6-foot-1 power forward who played outside linebacker for the Johnnies' football team. "All week (coach Kevin Martin) was preaching that they had two great post players and we had to play hard in the paint. The team that plays best in the paint was going to win and we looked at that as a challenge."

Sammons scored six points in the first and second periods for 12 points at halftime. He also finished with four rebounds. Riley Cannon, a 6-4 center, had 12 rebounds and 11 points.

"We knew we needed to control the paint both offensively and defensively and I think we did that," Martin said. "Kurt found a way to put the ball in the hole whenever we got it to him."

Mount Gilead's Cody Castline, a 6-5 post player, had six of his 11 points in the second quarter when the Indians rallied from a 10-6 deficit to lead 23-21 at half.

"They're a good team and we expected them to make a run at us," Martin said. "We just wanted to be able to play strong defense and hold them off as much as we could."

Shawn Block had nine rebounds for the Johnnies and Jake Hollis added four assists. Jay Orders had four steals and Cannon had three steals.

Marcus Vanderkooi had 13 points, including three 3-pointers, and Geoffery Gompf had seven points for Mount Gilead.