Area teams prep for key games Friday

North Montgomery is the lone area team with a conference game on Friday, but the other three boys teams have key non-conference games on tap. The Chargers host Lebanon in a girl/boy doubleheader starting at 6 p.m., while Crawfordsville hosts Fountain Central, and Southmont hosts Covington at 7:30 p.m. The Mounties (2-12) are coming off a 42-41 loss to Seeger, and face another top Wabash River Conference opponent in the Trojans (10-3) on Friday. Covington already owns wins over McCutcheon, Lebanon and Seeger, and has a scoring margin of 15 points, averaging more than 65 points a contest. Southmont coach Jake Turner knows it will take a complete effort by the Mounties to compete with the Trojans. “Covington is an excellent team, and coach Ballard always has them prepared,” he said. “They shoot the ball really well and they may be the best passing team I’ve seen all year. We will really have to defend well and take care of the ball on Friday, because they do a great job of capitalizing on opponent’s turnovers and scoring in bunches.” Colton Brown leads Covington with 15.9 points per game, while the Trojans have four players who average double-figures. Southmont only has one, with Justin Howard averaging 18.4 a points a contest. Crawfordsville (7-4) and Fountain Central (9-6) have both had success at times this season, but both are still on the searching for their full potential. The Mustangs are coming off a 69-54 win at North Newton last Friday, but enter Friday’s game losers of four of their last seven. “Our preparation is about us getting better at what we do,” first-year coach Phil Shabi said. “We continue to evaluate our performance from game to game, and try to identify 2-3 areas that we can focus on that will give us the greatest return on time invested.” Fountain Central is scoring 60.9 points per game, and is led by seniors Nathaniel Butts and Aaron Barnett at 14.9 and 14.2 points per contest, respectively. North Montgomery (2-11, 0-3 SAC) will enter Friday’s game against Lebanon (6-8, 3-2 SAC) still searching for that elusive Sagamore Conference victory they haven’t been able to secure since February 2016. The Chargers are averaging just 39.8 points per game, but may be luck as Lebanon is just a tick higher at 45.5 points an outing. Neither team has a player averaging in double-figures as Burtron leads the Tigers with 9.8 points per game, and Jaron Bradford, Matt Jackman, Preston Shaw, and Kade Kobel all average around 6 points per game for the Chargers. The Chargers are coming off an 82-35 loss at Danville last Friday, and first-year coach Andrew Evertts is seeing the confidence drop as the Chargers have dropped three straight. “Finding confidence has been difficult for our guys, and that really showed last Friday,” he said. “We have been reminding them all year long that we have lost several close games, and are not as bad as our record appears. We know Lebanon is a really good basketball team, and we just want a shot at them in the fourth quarter.” Lebanon has lost two straight, including a 57-46 loss to Tri-West last Friday, but own conference wins over Danville, Frankfort and Western Boone. In the first game of the doubleheader at North Montgomery on Friday, the Chargers’ girls basketball team will look to stop an 11-game losing streak to the Tigers. The last time North Montgomery beat Lebanon was 42-39 in 2010. The Chargers haven’t beaten the Tigers at home since 2003. “With every game this year, it’s not what the other team has done, but what we have done that effects the result,” Chargers coach Ryan Nuppnau said. “Therefore, we have been working to get us, as a team better — both individually and collectively.” Check the Journal Review on Friday for a full preview on Crawfordsville and Southmont’s girl/boy doubleheader tilt coming up on Saturday.

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