LEBANON — Southmont’s boys’ basketball team made history Friday night as it beat Lebanon 41-40 for the Mounties first win ever at Lebanon - ending a 20-game losing streak.
“When I found out we had never won over here, I told the guys we could be the Neil Armstrong of Southmont basketball,” Southmont head coach Jake Turner said. “I just feel so good for the kids. It’s not been an easy year and this is the type of win that could propel us down the stretch.”
Southmont (3-14, 2-3) probably played its best game of the year and it grew up in the process.
“If nothing else I think this game proves to the team that we can win with someone other than Justin Howard leading the way,” Turner said. “We had a lot of guys step up and Austin (Bowman) played by far the best game of his career as a varsity player.”
Lebanon (8-10, 4-3) was able to shut down the Mounties’ leading scorer, especially in the first half as he ended the half with no points, but yet the Tigers led just 20-19 as Bowman scored 12 of his 20 points in the opening half.
Lebanon had a hard time getting off open shots as the Mounties stepped up its effort on the defensive end the entire game.
“Lebanon has some great shooters and our goal was the not let them shoot outside,” Turner said. “We wanted to turn them into drivers and that worked well for the first three quarters. They got a lot more aggressive getting to the basket in the fourth quarter.”
Lebanon really struggled in the third quarter when the Mounties outscored them 11-2 as Lebanon hit a basket at the buzzer to keep from being shut out in the period. The Mounties took a 30-22 lead into the final period.
Lebanon trailed 34-24 with 4:12 to play before it mounted its comeback thanks to two things - defensive pressure and hitting free throws.
In the Tigers hit 10-of-15 from the foul line and its full court pressure took its toll on the Mounties. Lebanon finally regained the lead on a three-point play from Luke Ferrell with 1:43 to play. The two teams traded the lead two more times over the next 45 seconds. With the Tigers leading 39-38, Bowman hit his fourth 3-pointer of the game to give the Mounties a 41-39 lead with 41 seconds to play.
Lebanon had a chance to tie when Carson Burtron went to the foul one for two free throws with 27.7 seconds to play. He missed the first but made the second to cut the lead to 41-40.
On the next Southmont possession Southmont Avery Saunders was fouled and missed the front end of a one-and-one which Lebanon for the rebound and had 14 seconds to play. The Tigers got a 3-point shot off at the buzzer but it rimmed out sending the Mounties home a winner.
“Just a great effort by our guys,” Turner said. “I am so proud of them. In this day and age when teams don’t enjoy a lot of success it’s easy for kids to check out. This team has never given up on us as a staff, each other or our seniors.”
Bowman led the Mounties with 20 and Howard tallied 10. Lebanon got 13 points from Burtron and Ferrell.
Southmont will be back in action Thursday when it will battle Tri-West.