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Chargers strong second half leads to win

LINDEN — North Montgomery’s bigs came up big in the second half and the Chargers came up with a big 45-32 girls basketball win over Fountain Central.

Down on the blocks, three players owned the painted area as North moves to 5-3 on the season while the Mustangs fall to 3-6.

Lydia Dugard was the leading scorer, as the senior scored 13 of her game-best 16 points in the second half, that had the Chargers come back from down two at intermission to take the big lead.

Dugard put four buckets in, including a couple on second chances, but she lived at the line, scoring eight of North’s 10 points from the line, finishing 8-of-13.

Katie Rice, compromised by foul issues in the first two quarters, put 10 of her 12 points on the board in the last two. The senior capped off her double-double with 11 rebounds.

Freshman Piper Ramey had a bit of a coming-out first half, as she scored all 10 of her points in the first half, giving her Chargers the only offense they had.

All three of the bigs were at the root of the 29-14 second half scoring advantage.

“The girls rallied around the call to arms at halftime,” North coach Ryan Nuppnau said. “We challenged the team. We have to come out with more fire and desire at the start of the game. Give Fountain Central a lot of credit - they gave us trouble in the first half. We came out and capitalized in the second. We looked to attack the basket from the high post.”

Attack the Chargers did, living in the lane in the second half, scoring often and taking control of the rebounding situation.

“We played good defense in the first half, rebounded well and took North out of their game,” FC coach Jason Good said. “In the second half, we started missing some shots, especially when we were trying to run the offense too quickly. Their bigs took control, they gave us no easy shots and we had some miscues guarding them in the post. When they needed a basket, they got one. When we needed a basket, we didn’t get one.”

After leading early, the Chargers were up 13-6 early in the second quarter, but between fouls, missed shots and a couple turnovers, the Mustangs went on 12-3 run to lead 18-16 at halftime.

The teams traded baskets and the lead for five possessions of the third, but it was all North from that point on, and it was all the bigs.

“We had a lot of good possessions tonight,” Good said, but then we dug a little hole, got impatient on offense a few times and then just missed some shots. We are still a very young team, and sometimes we play young. We are learning and getting better. After nine games we are guarding better, especially away from the ball, and we are starting to understand the game (at the varsity level) better. It’s all about getting more and more reps.”

The Mustangs were led in scoring by Jerzi Hershberger and Larissa Bowers with eight each. They each had five rebounds to lead their squad, who was 14-of-37 from the field, 0-for3 from deep and 4-of-6 from the line. They had 23 rebounds and 18 turnovers. Hershberger also had four assists and five steals, that drew positive notes from Nuppnau.

“She’s tough,” he said of the senior. “She attacks, sees the court well, dishes off and plays good defense.”

His Chargers also had a guard with similar numbers, as Madi Welch had that same four helpers and five steals.

“Madi did a good job on Jerzi,” Nuppnau noted. “She is such a good defender away from the ball, in addition to her defense on the ball.”

It was the bigs, however, that carried the night.

“Ramey was great getting to the hoop in the first half,” Nuppnau said. “She looked much more comfortable in the first half. She was our damage control in the second quarter. It is good to see her grow into her position.”

Rice had a pair of blocks and steals to go with the double-double.

“We depend on her for these kind of nights,” he coach said. “It was good to have her working close to the basket, and it was really good to have Lydia (Dugard) driving to the rim and getting all those free throws. We looked to attack their zone from the high post, and that is a strength we need to exploit.”

For the night, North was 17-of-47 from the field, Welch hit the only trey of the night and they were 10-of-16 from the line. They had 38 rebounds (Dugard 6 and Ramey 5) and they had 15 turnovers, with only one in the third quarter and only two before reserve-time in the fourth.

The Mustangs are back in action next Tuesday with a trip to Delphi while North also waits until next week to play again. They have Faith Christian at home Tuesday and travel to Covington Thursday.

North Montgomery 45, Fountain Central 32

Score by Quarters

FC 6 12 6 8 - 32

North 9 7 19 10 - 45

Fountain Central (3-6)

FG-FGA FT-FTA PTS: Rylee Simko 1-3 0-0 2, Brailey Hoadland 3-4 0-0 6, Jerzi Hershberger 3-9 2-2 8, Hannah Prickett 2-8 2-4 6, Larissa Bowers 4-9 0-0 8, Kendra Earlywine 0-2 0-0 0, Katie Brown 0-1 0-0 0, Audree Brown 1-1 0-0 2, Kendall Eberly 0-0 0-0 0, Madisyn Morgan 0-0 0-0 0, KayLee Spragg 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 14-37 4-6 32.

North (5-3)

Madi Welch 1-7 0-0 3, Hadley Broadwater 0-5 0-0 0, Jaydelyn Phillips 0-5 0-0 0, Katie Rice 6-12 0-0 12, Lydia Dugard 4-7 8-13 16, Madison Banta 1-1 0-0 2, Piper Ramey 4-8 2-3 10, Kaydence Young 1-2 0-0 2, Maggie Hall 0-0 0-0 0, Karleigh Hall 0-0 0-0 0, Charlotte Garver 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 17-47 10-16 45.

3-Pt Shooting: FC 0-3 (Prickett 0-1, K.Brown 0-1, Earlywine 0-1); North 1-5 (Welch 1-4, Broadwater 0-1).

Rebounding: FC 23 (Bowers 5, Hershberger 5); North 38 (Rice 11, Dugard 6, Ramey 5).

Turnovers: FC 18; North 15.

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