DOVER — The North Montgomery basketball team tried not to think about it, but it was there in the back of their minds. Heading into Friday night’s match-up at Western Boone, the Chargers had lost 19 straight Sagamore Conference games, last beating Frankfort in February 2016. But that streak is no more. North Montgomery out-scored Western Boone 11-3 in the final three minutes, and topped the Stars 53-45.
“It was awesome,” North Montgomery head coach Andrew Evertts said. “I tried to not mention it so much around them anymore, because I feel like that added pressure, but they knew. I am just so proud of them. They earned this one. I thought they deserved to win that game.” The Stars record dropped to 6-7 on the year and have now lost three in a row. Head coach Bronson Lickliter gave credit to North Montgomery for the way they closed the game. “They did a really nice job running their stuff and we had breakdowns defensively,” Lickliter said. “They do a good job defensively of switching and clogging up the middle, and we didn’t do a good job of finding the openings and mismatches. Hats off to them on a great game plan and execution.” Western Boone had some momentum heading to the fourth quarter. The Stars scored the final five points of the third to take a 39-34 lead and neither team was able to score in the first few minutes of the fourth. But after a solid defensive possession by Western Boone, North Montgomery’s Matt Jackman banked in a 3, igniting an 8-1 run that gave the Chargers the lead. “We talk about doing all the little things correctly,” Lickliter said. “When you do the little things correctly, you tend to get stops. We had been playing really well defensively, and we closed out and got our right hand up, but he got the shot right past it. Maybe if it was a left hand up, it’s a different story. It still banked it, but that gave them some momentum.” Cortez Stoudemire hit two free throws to tie the game at 42 with 3:15 to go, but Western Boone didn’t score for the next three minutes, turning it over twice and missing two shots. The Chargers were able to score every time on their offensive possessions, getting two baskets from Kade Kobel, one from Preston Shaw and two free throws from Jackman to take an eight-point lead to seal the win. “Our guys just did some awesome things down the stretch, and even before that,” Evertts said. “To be down five in the fourth and not panic was great. We were really patient offensively, and just worked it until we got good looks. We executed great down the stretch.” Kobel led the Chargers with 16 points, with Jaron Bradford adding 15 and Shaw 10. The Chargers are now 3-13 on the year, and face Attica tonight. “We hope this win pushes us forward,” Evertts said. “We feel like we have some winnable games now. We have been preaching that we want to be playing our best basketball in March, so hopefully we can get a little streak going, starting with a big game tomorrow with Attica.”