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Mounties’ depth unloads on Chargers

LINDEN — North Montgomery had the correct game plan, but Southmont’s depth and confidence gave the Mounties a 55-29 county and conference victory on Thursday night.

The Chargers (2-9, 0-2 SAC) jumped out to a 7-0 lead behind five early points from 6-foot-3 sophomore McKenzie Schroeder, but the Mounties (10-0, 2-0 SAC) never wavered — taking their first lead at 16-14 on a Dori Frederick 3-pointer at the midway point in the second quarter, and never looked back.

“Really proud of the girls,” North Montgomery coach Ryan Nuppnau said. “That first quarter is who we can be, and who we are. We got some looks, moving the ball around and playing good defense. And then after that first quarter, we just got tired.”

The Chargers had four players play almost the entire game for a second time in three nights, while first-year Southmont coach Dan Burkman enjoyed his teams’ depth as they won their third game this week. 12 players saw the floor and six found the scoring column.

“We didn’t wait until the second half,” Burkman said of his teams’ recent first half struggles. “We actually got started in the second quarter. But we still need to figure out a way to start the game with the energy and enthusiasm we bring in the second half.”

The Mounties led 22-14 at the break, but they brought another level of energy the second 16 minutes. Sidney Veatch scored eight of her game-high 16 points in the third period, as Southmont outscored North Montgomery 21-12.

Addison Charles added 14 for the Mounties and Frederick nine, as they each knocked down a trio of 3-pointers. The Mounties made their first six triples of the game.

Once the Chargers started to tire, the Mounties took advantage in transition and on the boards.

“I don’t think they realize how fast they are as a team,” Burkman said of his squad. “Every one of those girls are athletic and they can get up and down the court pretty quick. I think they are starting to see it, because against Riverton Parke we got a lot fastbreak points and tonight a lot of similar results.”

Seniors Natalie Manion and Marissa Craig helped push the ball up the floor, while sophomore Jordan Gilstrap came in off the bench to help clean up misses on both ends.

“I feel like every game Natalie Manion provides so much that doesn’t even show up in the stat sheet,” Burkman said. “Marissa came off the bench with a lot of energy and Jordan Gilstrap is a beast and she played like it tonight.”

Southmont out-rebounded North Montgomery 49-28. Manion added six points, while Belle Miller scored eight.

Madi Welch led the Chargers with eight, while Grace McClaskey added seven and Schroeder and Hadley Broadwater scored five apiece. North Montgomery did knock down 42% (8-of-19) shots in the second half, but connected on just 14-of-47 for the game. Southmont was 19-of-51 from the field and 11-of-17 from the foul line.

The Chargers, who were once again without the services of Makinze Rominger, Lydia Dugard, and Katie Rice, honored their three senior players and three managers for senior night.

“Glad we were able to get a senior night in,” Nuppnau said. “That’s special. Being able to have a lot of people here and friends and family come in, that means the world to Grace McClaskey, Nina Gable, and MaKinze Rominger, who unfortunately wasn’t able to play, and then our three senior managers in Aubrey Birge, Haley Burton, and Kyla King.”

North Montgomery will host Greencastle on Tuesday, while Southmont will put its perfect record on the line when they entertain SAC foe Tri-West, who is 9-4, on the same night.

“It’s great for the kids. It really shows the character of the girls. It’s hard to be 10-0. You have to be together, all together, from practice through the games. Doing the little things the right way all the time," Burkman said.

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