CLOVERDALE — Parke Heritage dominated Southmont 67-49 in the Class 2A Cloverdale Sectional semifinal on Friday night.
The Wolves (12-14) played like their 58-35 regular season loss to the Mounties (13-10) was a distant memory, outscoring Southmont 23-11 in the second quarter, and never looking back.
“They just exploded after that (first quarter),” Southmont coach Dustin Oakley said. “It was a mixture of everything. We just had no defensive presence tonight.”
Parke Heritage was efficient inside, connecting on 20-of-31 (65%) shots from 2-point land. A trio of Wolves ended the game in double-figures. Hannah O’Brien led all scorers off the bench with 24 points, while Grace Ramsay added 16, and Mady Millspaugh 12.
“Parke Heritage just physically and mentally beat us the last 24 minutes,” Oakley added. “That’s probably the best shooting game they’ve had in a long time or maybe all season, but I think the keyword we use scouting them is ‘don’t let them get comfortable.’ And it was like this was their home gym or something. They were super comfortable with everything they tried to do.”
O’Brien sparked an 11-0 Parke Heritage run to start the second quarter, while the Mounties were scoreless for the first four minutes of the period. Trailing 32-20 at the half, Southmont had another near four-minute stretch without a point, and a Lexi Jones 3-pointer pushed the Wolves ahead 42-22 with 3:38 left in the third quarter. Parke Heritage continued to put its foot on the gas, and stretched the lead to as many as 24 midway through the final stanza.
Oakley was disappointed with the way the season ended for the Mounties, despite a favorable sectional draw.
“We got the best draw possible, but we just looked really sluggish, and I didn’t think our ball movement was a good as it needs to be, and we just made some bad decisions,” he said.
Offense wasn’t the only strong suit for the Wolves, as they held Southmont leading scorer Sidney Veatch scoreless, while Addi Charles had just six points. Belle Miller led the Mounties with 12, while Claire Remley added eight and Natalie Manion seven. Southmont connected on just 15-of-53 (28%) of its shots.
Despite the early exit in the tournament, the Mounties improved their 2018-19 win total by seven wins, including a seven game win streak to start 2020.
“Our leadership was huge this year, and much improved from last year,” Oakley said. “To have that stretch coming back from Christmas break, you just have to have a different type of mindset and competitive spirit and we brought that.”