VEEDERSBURG — In a late season clash between Fountain Central and Southmont, the Mustangs took the victory 56-48.
Both teams traded 3-pointers in the early going, as Justin Howard and Cole Roach hit triples for the Mounties, and Aaron Barnett hit one for Fountain Central. Barnett carried the Mustangs on a 5-0 run to end the quarter and gave them a 13-9 lead.
“We really hit our season-low last night against Parke Heritage,” Mustangs coach Phil Shabi said. “I preached to the guys in the locker room that we needed to get off to a strong start tonight and I was very happy with how all our guys started, especially Aaron (Barnett).”
Fountain Central extended its’ lead with another 5-0 run to open the second quarter, fueled by a Jake Smith drive and Butts 3-pointer.
Luke Gregg helped lift the Mounties back into the game in the third quarter with a quick bucket. Eventually Southmont took a brief lead, and after Barnett tied the game at 24, Howard hit a 3-pointer to push the Mounties ahead by three. Southmont led 38-35 after three quarters, but were unable to keep up with the Mustangs in the final eight minutes, and that proved to be the difference.
“I really saw great improvement tonight,” Southmont coach Jake Turner said. “Offensively, we really stepped it up tonight. Hats off to Justin Howard tonight. He really stepped up and was a big part of why we had a chance most of the game tonight.
A Carson Eberly 3-pointer early in the fourth brought the Mustangs back to tie it at 40-40, and three more triples from Blade Greene, Andrew Shabi, and Barnett helped Fountain Central pull away. Butts went 7-of-8 from the line in the fourth quarter to help put the game on ice.
“Butts gave us a hard time in the fourth,” Turner said. “We allowed him to go to the line too much, and that killed us in the fourth. It’s always tough to lose, but I saw a lot of improvement and a lot of positives to take away from tonight as we prepare for Frankfort next Friday.”
The Mustangs host North Vermillion on Friday for their senior night. “I was proud of our guys tenacity tonight, especially after how things went at Parke Heritage,” said Shabi. “Our guys really came out focused and got it done and I couldn’t be any more proud of them.”