INDIANAPOLIS — Southmont picked up momentum heading into the sectionals next week with a 46-38 regular season finale win over Indianapolis Scecina.
The 14th road game of the season in the 21-game schedule saw the Mounties never trail, although the Crusaders did tie the game at the end of the third quarter.
South moves to 7-14 for the season, as they head into their 2A sectional, which they will host.
Scecina falls to 7-15 as their season ends, and they head into 2A playoff action next week.
The game started South’s way, and they used a solid inside and rebounding game to take a 22-14 halftime lead.
The Crusaders turned the tables in the third quarter, forcing six South turnovers and finding the range on their home floor.
It was 28-28 heading into the fourth quarter.
“These guys love to drive me crazy with their turnovers,” Mounties coach Jake Turner said. “We had six in the first half and six in the third quarter. Hopefully we are done with that.”
They were, as the visitors scored the first eight points of the fourth to extend the lead. They continued to shoot well from the line to maintain that lead and didn’t turn the ball over.
“We battled through the adversity,” Turner said. “Scecina is a tough, athletic team that plays really hard. We have a tendency to play a little too fast sometimes, and their good ball pressure turned us over. We stopped dribbling against the pressure and got some good squared up shots and finished at the rim a few times.”
Leading the way for South was Carson Chadd with a double-double of 19 points and 11 rebounds. Logan Oppy had nine points and six boards. Conner McVay was 3-for-3 from the field in the fourth quarter and Avery Saunders had five points and eight rebounds.
“Carson had one of his better games,” Turner said of the freshman, still battling back from a midseason ankle injury. “Oppy had a great floor game and McVay gave us some really good minutes. We managed to shoot our free throws well almost all night, which was big.”
South was 11-of-15 from the line, after a 17-of-41 field goal effort. They had 40 rebounds and 18 turnovers.
The Crusaders were 14-of-45 from the field, 5-of-22 from deep and 5-of-11 from the stripe. They had 25 rebounds and 12 turnovers.
The win sends the Mounties into Sectional No. 43 action next week with a head of steam. They will play North Putnam Tuesday in the first game of the tourney. The Cougars defeated South by 10 in the second game of the season.
“North Put is going to be a real challenge,” Turner said of the Cougars. “They hit nine 3’s on us in the third quarter of our game this year. They can all drive and shoot. We have to cut down on silly turnovers and make them earn every point. Tonight is such a good win, though, because it gives us close-game experience against a good, athletic team. We got to work on holding a fourth-quarter lead against a quality opponent. You can’t simulate these kinds of situations in practice at game-speed and conditions.”
The Crusaders were led in scoring by Max White, one of the 10 seniors honored at halftime by the Scecina program. White had 16, all in the second half, as the guard led the comeback charge. Jaidon Barnes led his team with six rebounds.
They will start sectional play Tuesday also, taking on University High School in Section action.
Southmont’s junior varsity finished it season with a 38-37 loss. The Mounties had two shots late but neither fell.
“We finished 14-7 and we won the county,” coach Craig Carrell said. “I’m very proud of the guys. Over half our games were games of four points or less, and we won three overtime games. We had six juniors and six freshmen, and the juniors game it all they had. I’m looking for them to contribute to the varsity team next season, and I will build on the jv team with the freshmen.”
“We had an experienced jv team,” Turner said. “The juniors were good leaders and we had a good balance of freshmen. I’m very happy with their 14-7 record."