Southmont earned a share of the Sagamore Conference title for the first time in school history with a thrilling 52-51 win over Frankfort. Photo Courtesy of Southmont Athletics
FRANKFORT — History has been made for Southmont that’s been 36 years in the making. The Mounties have earned a share of the Sagamore Conference title for the first time in school history with a thrilling 52-51 victory over Frankfort.
The win did not come easy for the Mounties who trailed by as many as nine points in the second half. The play of the game for Southmont came from senior Avery Saunders who tied it at 51-51 with 12 seconds remaining with an and-one. The Hotdogs then turned the ball over while holding it for the final possession. Saunders again found a way to get the ball in his hands and race down the court for the game-winning shot. However, he was fouled in the process with .6 left on the clock. The senior casually knocked down the first shot to give the Mounties the 52-51 advantage and purposely missed the second.
The Hotdogs called a timeout, but their full-court heave attempt failed.
“This is one of the most exhilarating games I’ve ever coached,” Southmont coach Jake Turner said. “I told them in the locker room that we’ve put in the work and that we deserve it, we just had to go out an earn it. Sometimes maybe we wanted it too much but when you can win a game when you commit 23 turnovers says a lot about our team and we were able to make just one more play than them. I can’t tell you how proud of I am of this team to earn their first Sagamore Conference championship.”
The 23 turnovers is what kept the Hotdogs in the game as when the Mounties were able to get into their offense they often were successful as they shot 18-36 from the field. Saunders had a game-high 21 points to go along with his 11 rebound effort. Logan Oppy drilled four three’s to end with 12 points.
Riley Goodnight led the Hotdogs with 16 points and Jayce Strode added 12.
When it looked like the Mounties were on the verge of letting the game slip away, Saunders and Chadd on back to back possessions late in the fourth quarter converted and-ones to tie up the game back at 46. The resiliency of the Mounties showed constantly throughout the game as they never wavered in the face of adversity.
“That’s a testament to how hard these guys work and you can tell they love to play basketball,” Turner said. “EJ got a put-back that was huge for to go along with Avery and Carson’s and-ones. Carson also did a tremendous job of guarding Strode down low. In the couple of games that we saw on film, he was dominating guys. Carson gave him trouble all night and frustrated him a little bit and we were able to rebound just enough.”
The celebration is well-deserved as they now are 16-4 (6-1 SAC) and will share the Sagamore Conference title with Lebanon after Danville lost to Crawfordsville. While Turner was discussing the game afterwards on the radio the entire Southmont team decided to join them as well and bask in the moment.
What lies ahead now for the Mounties now will be concluding the final week of the regular season first with a match up on the road against a potential sectional opponent in Parke Heritage. The journey for Southmont doesn’t stop with this victory as Turner hopes this will only propel them forward for the final week and into the post-season.
“We obviously have some things to clean up because we can’t turn the ball over that much,” Turner said. “At the end of the day you have to give credit to our guys for turning it over that many times but still holding a team that averages 63 points to just 51. Our guys just continue to play for one another and made enough plays down the stretch. We’re going to enjoy this one at least for tonight because we’re conference champs.”
Southmont 52, Frankfort 51
Score by Quarters
SM 14 10 14 14 - 52
FF 14 10 17 10 - 51
Southmont (16-4,6-1 SAC)
FG-FGA FT-FTA PTS: Avery Saunders 7-15 7-8 21, Logan Oppy 4-9 4-9 1-3 12, Trip Ward 2-4 0-0 6, Carson Chadd, 2-3 0-0 1-1 5, Team 0-2 0-1 0; Totals 18-36 10-14 52
Frankfort 7-11 (2-4 SAC)
Riley Goodnight 6-11 1-1 16, Jayce Strode 5-6 2-6 12, Deacon Spencer 3-10 1-2 9, Quentcy Perry 2-3 0-0 6, Kye Kirby 2-4 0-0 4, Josh Meeks 1-1 0-0 2, Doug Wood 1-2 0-0 2. Team 0-2 0-0 0, Totals 20-39 4-9 51
Southmont 6-15 (Oppy 4 Ward 2), Frankfort 7-19 (Goodnight 3, Spencer 2, Perry 2)
Rebounding: SM 30, FF 17
Turnovers: SM 23, FF 15