GREENCASTLE – North Montgomery defeated Frankfort 49-46 Friday in their opening game of the Class 3A IHSAA Sectional at Greencastle. The Chargers dodged two last-second 3-point attempts by the Hot Dogs to advance to the tournament championship, something North Montgomery has not played in since 2009.
The Chargers led at halftime 28-15, but the Hot Dogs stormed back and actually only trailed by one point with 3:06 in the game.
But, in the end, the Chargers were able to survive which is all Charger coach Chad Arnold cares about.
“This time of the year anytime you can get a win, it is a good thing,” the first-year coach said.
At the start of the final quarter, with the Chargers leading 41-34, Frankfort used six offensive rebounds to close the gap in the score. Several times the Charger defense forced a miss on the Hot Dogs first shot, only to not grab the ball.
Two Alex Wallace free throws with 58 seconds left in the game put the Chargers up 49-44 for the only makes in the quarter. North Montgomery only mustered 2-of-6 charity tosses including two misses on the front-end of bonus shots in the fourth period. However, Frankfort could not convert in the game’s final minute as they missed their last five field goal attempts including a wide-open 3-pointer at the buzzer.
North Montgomery (13-10) built their first half lead by using a patient offense which led to open shots. The Chargers were 9-of 18 from the field in the opening half including an impressive 6-of-12 from behind the arch.
Frankfort (7-17) came out in the second half and slowed down the Chargers by employing a box-and-one defense concentrating on Wallace. The defensive change seemed to disrupt the Charger offense.
“Their box-and-one seemed to get us out of sync,” Arnold said. “We had seen that before but we only had talked about it this week. We will get ready for it before Saturday’s game.”
North Montgomery had balanced scoring in the game with three Chargers in double figures. Preston Shaw led the team with 13 points. Wallace and Jaron Bradford contributed 12 and 10 respectively. Zak Searle scored eight points.
Frankfort was led in scoring by three players. Jade Ayers, Trey Frazier and Cam Williams each scored nine points.
Arnold said he knows his team has its worked cut out for them in the tonight’s championship game. The other semi-final game featured two teams, Danville and Crawfordsville, that had defeated the Chargers this season. However, the Charger coach said his team is ready for the challenge against the No. 7 3A team and Sagamore Conference rival Danville.
“I think we are a different ball club than we were when we played those teams earlier,” Arnold said. “We have a lot more confidence and look forward to the challenge.”
Danville defeated Crawfordsville 84-62 in the second game. The Warriors are looking for their third sectional title in four years, including a trip to the semi-state in 2018. North Montgomery last won a title in 2009, which ended a five year stretch in which the Chargers cut the nets four times.
Tipoff for tonight’s game is 7:30 p.m. at Greencastle High School.