COVINGTON — A big second-quarter comeback wasn’t enough for Southmont, as they lost to Covington 62-48.
Down 29-15 at the midpoint of the second quarter, the Mounties scored the last 12 of the half.
They tied the game at 29 with two free throws to start the third quarter, but the Trojans got back into control and
stretched the margin back out.
“We know that Covington has a great environment, a great pep block, intelligent fans and a big home court advantage,” South coach Jake Turner said. “We knew we would have to be mentally tough. In the first quarter, we had too many unforced turnovers. In the second, we played to our strengths.”
Those strengths started with defense, as the Mounties forced five turnovers and scored after four of them. Avery Saunders came off the bench to hit three-straight shots, Austin Bowman hit two in a row, and the deficit dwindled.
“We have got to get better at not letting one thing go wrong and let it snowball,” Covington coach Adam Ballard said. “We aren’t ready to play through opponent’s scoring runs. We had guys that just wanted to make a big play every time instead of letting the play work through and trusting your team.”
The Trojans, who move to 9-4 with the win, did just that in the second half.
They stopped turning the ball over, stopped shooting 3-point shots and went to their hot shooter.
Caleb Ellmore scored 18 of his game-best 20 points in the second half, and scored all but two of his team’s 14 points in the fourth quarter.
“He (Ellmore) is probably our most indispensable player,” Ballard said. “We don’t win without him tonight.”
The senior was as good on the glass, as he grabbed 11 of his 15 rebounds in the second half.
“They have so many weapons,” Turner said of the Trojans. “They are quick and they have excellent passing skills. We shut down some of them down, but Ellmore just got away.”
The Mounties did hold WRC leading scorer Logan Pinkerton to half his 18 point average, and had good second-half defensive efforts on Colton Brown, who had four of his 13 points after the half, and Daniel Keller, who had five of his 16 after the break.
“We played really hard,” Turner said. “We played good defense almost the entire game, and the second quarter was the best quarter we have played all year. We were very, very competitive against a team that is a consistent winner, and at their place. We didn’t back down.”
South had four players in double-digits.
Saunders came off the bench, and starters Logan Oppy, Bowman and Carson Chadd all pitched in 11 points. Chadd finished his double-double with 11 rebounds and Saunders grabbed eight. The Mounties had a dozen second-chance points.
For the night, South was 16-of-47 from the field, 4-of-15 from long range and 12-of-18 from the line. They won the rebound battle 34-33 and had the same 13 turnovers that Covington did.
The Trojans, who are the best two-point shooting team in 1A, finished under their 60 percent average by going 16-of-30 from close in, and were 24-of-50 overall. They were 6-of-10 from the line.
Both teams have huge games tonight.
The Trojans take on another Sagamore Conference foe when Lebanon comes in for Winter Homecoming.
South has a county and conference matchup as they will play host to Crawfordsville in the second game of the girl-boy double header.
“It’s a huge game,” Turner said. “We have had two good weeks of practice and I’m really happy with how we have reacted since our Sugar Creek Class nightmare. We are taking steps in the right direction.
Southmont won the jv game 51-47 in overtime. The Trojans time the game late in the fourth quarter, but the Mounties got the first two buckets in extra time to set the pace.
Cale Hess had 15 to lead South, followed by Aidan Portwood with 11 and Keaton Conkright with 10.
Covington was led by Calvin Springer with 17. Duncan Keller had 14 and Neil Ellmore had 13.