North Montgomery boys’ basketball has had the rematch against Western Boone in its sights since the final buzzer of their 57-31 loss to the Stars three weeks ago at the Sugar Creek Classic, and this time, they put up a far better battle. They were within three points in the final minute of Friday night’s game, before settling at a 41-33 final.
The Chargers (1-14, 0-5 in SAC) introduced a zone in this game, which caused problems for the Stars, who, coupled with the loss of junior guard Marcus Stepp early in the contest, struggled to get good looks from beyond the three point arc in the first half.
After a Kelby Harwood pull up jumper from 15 feet tied the game at the close of the first quarter, the Chargers picked up the energy, answering a Kaden Bennington layup with short hook by Drew Norman and three pointers from Harwood and Nolan Graham. A baseline jumper from Treyce Pittman gave the Chargers a 17-11 lead heading into halftime.
“The lead could have been wider at halftime, which would have helped put them back on their heels, but some good looks didn’t fall” said longtime Charger assistant coach Tom Lutz.
Sure enough, Western Boone responded in the second half by chipping away at the Charger lead.
They retooled their zone attack, and overtook North on the strength of a transition layup by Garrett Morton, followed by a three pointer by Morton on the next Star possession, on their way to a 21-6 run.
On this night, however, the Chargers did not let the Stars get away from them. North Montgomery executed its sets and found open three pointers for Jakob and Jarrod Kirsch. After a pair of Pittman free throws and a turn around eight footer by Jarrod Kirsch, the Chargers had pulled to 36-33 with 0:27 left in the game.
However, the Charger press could not stop Western Boone (4-10, 1-5 in SAC), as Seth McClaskey knocked down a pair of free throws, and Corbin Jones slipped away on the press break and put an exclamation mark on the Stars’ victory with a dunk and a free throw.
“The zone helped, and the execution of it was good,” Lutz complimented. Jakob Kirsch scored eight for North, Harwood and Jarrod Kirsch seven apiece. Jones had nine for the Stars, McClaskey and Elliott Young eight apiece. North Montgomery goes back into action Saturday night against the Attica Red Ramblers, 7:30 p.m. in Attica.