LEBANON — Lebanon withstood a North Montgomery comeback beating the Chargers 56-48 Friday. The Tigers connected on 15-of-20 free throws in the deciding fourth quarter to keep North Montgomery winless in the Sagamore Conference.
Poor offensive execution hurt North Montgomery (7-7, 0-4) through three quarters which enabled Lebanon (9-3, 4-1) to take a 35-24 lead into the final period. Twice in the period the Chargers cut the lead to three points but could get no closer.
Free throws played a big part in the entire game in favor of the Tigers. Lebanon went to the line 33 times and hit 24 of them. The Chargers were only 5-of-13 from the charity stripe.
Charger coach Chad Arnold said his squad missed too many open shots.
“We had our chances regardless that they shot 33 free throws,” Arnold said. “We had open looks and we have to knock them down”
Lebanon’s Carson Burton was a difference maker in the deciding period. The senior made 9-of-12 free throws. Burton went to the line 16 times in the game and made 12 while leading Lebanon with 18 points.
North Montgomery’s comeback was fueled by Alex Wallace. The senior scored a game-high 20 points including 10 in the final quarter.
After the two teams battled even through the first 10 minutes of the game, North Montgomery took a 13-8 lead with 4:41 left in the period. However, the Chargers went stone cold and Lebanon outscored the visitors 13-0 to take a 21-13 lead into the locker rooms.
The Chargers connected on only 5-of-21 shots in the opening half and including several shots when they were wide open. For the game North Montgomery shot 31 percent on 17-of-54 shooting.
Arnold said his squad missed several opportunities to get the ball inside which he said would have helped with the shooting percentages.
“We did not do a good job of getting the ball to our post players,” Arnold said. “Thompson and Keifer were working hard to get the ball but we did not get it to them.”
Arnold said he continues to believe in his team despite the loss. He said he appreciates how hard the team is playing and believes things can get turned around for his squad.
“It really is up to our guys to decide to keep working and start winning some game,” Arnold said. “I love how hard we are playing. I am very proud of my guys despite the disparity of free throws tonight and the outcome. Our defensive effort was very good tonight.”
Kade Kobel added 14 points for the Charger as the only other double-digit scorer.
Lebanon had four double-digit scorers. Burton finished with 18 and Kobe Ottinger scored 14 points. Luke Farrell and Michael Reese each added 10 points.
North Montgomery will entertain West Lafayette Tuesday.