NEW MARKET — At this point in the season all coach loves to see is their team play great defense and that’s exactly what Southmont head coach Jake Turner saw out of his Mounties in a 47-38 Sagamore Athletic Conference battle Friday night.
The Mounties really put the clamps on in the fourth quarter as they allowed Frankfort (2-18, 0-7) just three points in the final eight minutes and held the Hot Dogs scoreless in the last five minutes of the game.
“Our goal was the keep them under 40 points,” Turner said. “After the way we played in the first half I didn’t think there was any way we were going to have a shot at doing that. We did a much better job communicating, helping out and closing out on their shooters in the second half. To hold any team to three points in a quarter is outstanding.”
The Mounties needed that great defensive effort as the two teams entered the fourth quarter tied at 35 after Frankfort had held a 27-24 halftime lead.
Southmont took the lead for good when Justin Howard scored the first basket of the fourth quarter. That was followed by a Cole Roach 3-pointer and the Mounties had a 40-35 lead. Frankfort responded with its only basket of the quarter when Jose Sandoval hit a 3-pointer with 5:01 to play.
From that point on the Hot Dogs were shut out. In the fourth quarter the visitors hit just 1-of-15 from the floor and that including going 1-of-13 from long range.
Offense wasn’t flowing in great numbers for the Mounties (4-17, 3-4), but the team managed to put enough points on the board for the win, especially when it had to.
The game stayed 42-38 for a long time before Howard hit a free throw with 41.7 second to play to push the lead to 43-38. Ryan Stanley sealed the game by hitting four clutch free throws in the final 24 seconds to close out the game.
The Mounties were led by Howard with 20 and Roach added eight. However, Turner said it was a total team effort.
“We rely on Justin and he got us 20, but I think everyone who played contributed. “I told Luke (Gregg) that he has really turned into a man. He had his second back-to-back double digit game in rebounds and just is playing really well. Stanley came up clutch for us down the stretch with a drive and then he got some big defensive boards and made the free throws to ice the game. I thought (Connor) McVay came in and gave us some great minutes off the bench. Everyone contributed in some way and this is a great team victory for us.”
The Mounties will close out its season with a game against Riverton Parke for Senior Night tonight.
“I really want to see this same kind of effort tonight and send out our seniors with a win,” Turner said. “They really deserve that and I would love to have them enjoy two wins in the last two home games.”