The Southmont Mounties are considered one of the favorites in the Class 2A Sectional 43 at South Putnam. Despite dropping their final two tough road games of the season, the Mounties still enter the post-season with a record of 16-6.
One of the goals that remains for the Mounties is a coveted sectional title, something the team hasn’t done since the 1993-94 season.
Southmont will open sectional play Wednesday against Riverton Parke. The Mounties dominated the Panthers 58-26 on Jan. 15 — the fewest points the Mounties have given up all season.
“Riverton Parke is a hard-nosed team and they always have been,” Southmont coach Jake Turner said. “That score from our first meeting is a little misleading because their best player didn’t play in the second half. Our defense helped us get a lot of points off turnovers. It simply comes down to we have to be ready to come out and play and play well on Wednesday and respect every opponent you play.”
The Panthers will come into Wednesday’s match up with the Mounties with a record of 6-17. They’re led by junior guard Derron Hazzard who averages 16.4 points per game and nearly five rebounds.
Southmont, as they have been all season, is led by senior Avery Saunders who averages 19.2 ppg and eight rebounds while shooting 56% from the field. Logan Oppy scores 13 a game for the Mounties while drilling 43% of his threes and Carson Chadd rounds out the Mounties big three with nine point and eight rebounds.
If the Mounties get past Riverton Parke, they would advance to the semi-finals Friday where they would likely face the North Putnam Cougars.
“North Putnam is a very talented team,” Turner said. “But you also look at team’s such as Cloverdale who has arguably the best player in the sectional in Kyle Thomas. They’re going to be tough along with Cascade who has played a ton of tough competition. It just comes down to you have to be locked in on offense and focused on defense for a full 32 minutes and perhaps more. All we can do is take it one game and one day at a time and one game at a time.”
In order to win the sectional title, Southmont will have to play and win three games in four days.
“We’ve said to our guys many times this year that the best team doesn’t always win the game,” Turner said. “It’s sometimes the team that simply plays better that night. It doesn’t matter your record or the talent that you may have. We just have to be the better team one game at time, three different times. Winning in the tournament is hard because everyone prepares very hard and watches all your film. It comes down to who executes the best and I hope that’s us.”
Southmont and Riverton Parke face off at 6 p.m. Wednesday at South Putnam.