LINDEN — More often than not your state tournament fate is determined by the draw. And the draw for North Montgomery in the Class 3A girls basketball Sectional at Southmont was not kind for the Chargers.
North Montgomery received a bye, and will face the winner of Greencastle and Benton Central on Friday night in the second semi-final game at 7:30 p.m. The No. 7 ranked Bison come into the sectional as the prohibitive favorite with a 20-4 record. Greencastle is the second favorite according to John Harrell, at just 13-percent, while Benton Central has a 77-percent of cutting down the nets on Saturday night at Southmont. Benton Central defeated Greencastle 55-46, who closed the regular season at 14-7 back on Nov. 10. Nonetheless, the Chargers will have to get past one of them in the semi-finals if they want a shot at the sectional title. North Montgomery’s last sectional title came at the end of a five-year streak of consecutive titles in Class 2A in 2007. The Chargers have never won a sectional in 3A. North Montgomery ended the regular season 3-19, and have measurements against both potential opponents. The Chargers fell to Bison 89-26 on Nov. 27, and 64-35 to the Tiger Cubs on Jan. 8. The Chargers enter the postseason on a five-game losing streak, but coach Ryan Nuppnau has seen a lot of improvement in the past month. “We have been improving this last month of the season,” he said. “For most, it’s not as obvious because we are playing the toughest part of the schedule, but we are getting better, we just need to get healthy. Both Katie Rice and Emily Sennett didn’t play against WeBo because of injury, but we hope to have them on Friday.” Sennett, a junior leads the Chargers with 7.4 points per game. Kendall Humphreys adds a 7.2 points per contest average, and Maddie Moseley 4.9 points per game.
One thing Nuppnau and the Chargers have been consistent about all season long is not beating themselves. And that starts with turnovers. North Montgomery is averaging 21.8 points per game, and in result only averaging 34.6 points per game. In contrast, Benton Central averages 67.7 points a contest, and Greencastle 54.6. “Not matter who we play — either Benton Central or Greencastle — we have to do a better job protecting and handling the ball,” he said. “If we can limit our turnovers and get more, good shots compared to the first time we played them, then we have improved in that department. We have seen improvement with fewer careless mistakes and a smoother offense.” Nitty Gritty Benton Central and Greencastle against North Montgomery Benton Central won the last meeting 89-26. Greencastle won the last meeting 64-35 The Chargers average 34.6 points per game, and give up 55.1 points per game. The Bison average 67.7 points per game, and give up 38.7 points per game. The Tiger Cubs average 54.6 points per game, and give up 43.7 points per game. Emily Sennett leads North Montgomery with 7.4 points per game. Ali Stevens leads Greencastle with 12.7 points per game.