VEEDERSBURG -— North Montgomery rebounded from Friday night’s home loss to Southmont with a 61-40 blowout win at Fountain Central on Saturday.
“I’m real proud of the guys after Friday’s game and how physical and how hard they played, and to come back and do it again on a Saturday,” Chargers coach Chad Arnold said. “That shows a lot of toughness in them, and how much heart they have.”
The Chargers (2-1) put together their best performance of the season both offensive and defensively. North Montgomery held the Mustangs (3-3) to just 13-of-41 from the field, while they connected on 24-of-51 shots, and won the rebounding battle 34-20.
Jumping out to a 20-12 lead after a quarter, the Chargers extended it a 16-point lead sparked by a Jaron Bradford bucket to start the second period. The senior scored nine of his game-high 14 points in the first half. Fountain Central trailed by 10 at the half, and cut it to 34-26 early in the third quarter, but North Montgomery put its foot back on the gas, and cruised in the second half.
“With a young group that is kind of tender right now,” Fountain Central coach Phil Shabi said. “I just have to make sure I’m staying positive with them, but there still has to be a level of accountability, and we didn’t do a very good job tonight. Early on in the game our lack of detail and focus wasn’t really there, and there were some things we knew they could do that would hurt us, and we were allowing them to do.”
Preston Shaw and Kade Kobel combined for five straight points early in the fourth to stretch the North Montgomery lead to 20. Kobel reached double-figures with 10, while Shaw added nine.
“We had good ball movement, and got the ball moving from side to side,” Arnold said. “I like how we ran, and we built that lead. That’s who we are.”
Fountain Central, who started all underclassmen on Saturday, has already played six games on the young season, and Shabi has seen leaps and bounds of improvement throughout.
“From that CC scrimmage up until tonight, we’ve seen a tremendous amount of improvement,” he said. “We’ve kind of settled into roles a little bit, and we are just getting better at all times.”
Carson Eberly led the Mustangs with 11 points, and while Fountain Central waits for Andrew Shabi to recover from an ankle injury, coach Shabi constantly has to remind his young team of patience as they try to rebuild after losing a pair of double-figure scorers from last season in Nathaniel Butts and Aaron Barnett.
“We were really brief with the guys in the locker room tonight,” he said. “And was like look ‘if you guy thought it was going to be easy, than you were fooling yourselves.’ It’s never going to be easy for us with how young we are and our inexperience. It obviously wasn’t a lot of fun for us out there for 32 minutes, but the only way it’s truly a loss is if you don’t build on it, and improve. So that’s what we have to take away from a game like this.”
Logan Kelly, much like he did on Friday night against Southmont, gave the Chargers a much needed spark from behind the arc. The junior added 12 points for the Chargers on 4-of-7 shooting from deep.
“All the kids stepped up and did some great things,” Arnold said. “Logan Kelly came in and hit a lot of big shots. The kid has a big heart, and works so hard.”
Fountain Central returns to floor at 7:30 p.m. on Friday at Riverton Parke to open up Wabash River Conference play, while North Montgomery travels to Seeger.
The Chargers won the JV contest 39-35, and was led in scoring by Kolton Scrimager with 16 points.