NEW MARKET — Just as Crawfordsville looked to be in control, Southmont stormed back to defeat the Athenians 49-44 to claim a third-straight Montgomery County title on Saturday night.
Trailing 39-30 early in the fourth quarter, the Mounties needed an answer offensively, and found it in a variety of ways.
Sidney Veatch hit two free throws and Hannah Thompson buried a 3-pointer to make it 39-35, and after the Athenians responded with a 3-0 run, Belle Miller, Claire Remley, and Bailey Thompson scored three-straight baskets for the Mounties to cut the lead to 42-41 with 2:19 left.
“I just thought we were going to grind this one out,” Southmont coach Dustin Oakley said. “It was looking for our teammates, unselfishness and making the extra pass. We just stuck together for 32 minutes.”
Southmont finally took its first lead since the first quarter on a lay-up by Miller with 1:44 left, before the sophomore scored again to make it 45-42. Addi Charles buried 4-of-4 free throw attempts in the final 41 seconds to seal the come-from-behind win.
“I told her, ‘you’ve got to score, and have got to get going,’” Oakley said about Miller.
Miller led the Mounties with 13 points, while Charles added 10.
It was a complete team effort though by Southmont, as seven Mounties scored, including six in the fourth quarter.
“When one of us is having a bad game, we just want to pick them up no matter who they are,” Bailey Thompson said. “No matter what team plays us, who are they going to stop? Our bench is so deep.”
The Thompson twins combined for seven points off the bench.
“I do trust everyone that comes off that bench that they are going to provide something to make us better,” Oakley added. “And they’re going to make those plays and that’s what happened.”
An engaging bench has made all the difference since Christmas, as the Mounties have run their record to 12-7 on the season (3-3 SAC), including a perfect 6-0 record since the New Year.
“The bench is always so hyped, and it helped out so much in this game,” senior Makayla Oppy said.
Veatch added nine points, but fouled out in the fourth quarter — and Remley, a senior who had not scored much until the Mounties recent win-streak, helped picked up the slack with six points.
“That was something I struggled with last year, and every year before that,” she said. “I knew that I had to step it up and help my team and be more confident in myself.”
Southmont had won just two county titles from 2004-2017, before starting its current streak.
Crawfordsville coach Tyler Smith was pleased with his team’s effort, as the Athenians tried to avenge a 53-48 loss to the Mounties suffered back in November.
“From an effort standpoint and a game-plan standpoint, I couldn’t be prouder,” he said. “We did everything from that side of things that we wanted. We knew South was red-hot and playing amazing basketball of late, and we needed to do something to throw off their rhythm. And it worked, we just couldn’t get over the hump when we needed to at the end.”
Lauren Kellerman led all scorers with 16 points, while Shea Williamson and Olivia Reed each added eight. The Athenians fall to 4-16 on the season, and 0-6 in Sagamore Conference play.
Crawfordsville hosts North Vermillion on Tuesday and Frankfort on Friday, while Southmont travels to Covington on Tuesday, Seeger on Wednesday, and hosts Lebanon on Friday.