NEW MARKET — Southmont boy’s basketball hasn’t lost back to back games all season. After suffering heart-crushing 48-45 loss to Bethesda Christian last Friday in OT, the Mounties looked to keep that streak alive as they hosted South Putnam in their final home game of the season. It didn’t take long for the Mounties to take control as they were able to cruise to a dominating 78-40 win over the Eagles.
The only lead of the game that South Putnam had was at 5-4 in the first quarter before the Mounties responded with a 9-0 run to take control. The Mounties outscored the Eagles in every quarter and were able to have a 38-21 lead at the half and a 59-30 after three.
Southmont coach Jake Turner was proud of the way his team continues to respond after losses.
“A goal we had coming into the year was to not lose back to back games,” he said. “When you look at our schedule there’s a lot of teams with double digit wins. You have teams like Danville, North Putnam, Crawfordsville, Covington, and Bethesda, and to be able to go through a tough 19-game schedule so far and not have two straight losses is a testament to our kids and coaching staff that we’re able to learn from the past and move on to the next game.”
In his final home game of his career, senior Logan Oppy broke out of his shooting slump in a big way. Coming into Tuesday, Oppy had scored 15 combined points in his last three games. The senior guard ended with a game-high 23 points. Fellow senior Avery Saunders scored 15 points and gave the Mountie faithful one more slam dunk as part of the winning effort.
Eli Smith led the Eagles with 19 points and was the only player in double figures.
Eagles coach Matt Pickerill gave the Mounties credit after the game for how tough they are to defend.
“If we were going to compete with them we’d have to play about a perfect game,” he said of the Mounties. “They’re big, physical, and athletic. We really didn’t play well on any either side of the ball tonight and settled for shots more than we needed to. We weren’t hitting the threes that we were taking and that also made it hard to be successful.”
The Eagles shot just 4-26 (15%) from behind the three-point arc and 15-51 (29%) for the game. Southmont on the other connected on 9-20 (45%) from three and shot 31-47 (66%) from the field.
“I was very happy for Avery and Logan to both play well in their final home game,” Turner said. “We want them to have positive memories of this game. Logan shot it really well tonight (9-13) and score in the 20’s. We want to start building momentum for the tournament here soon and tonight was a step in that direction.”
Southmont improves to 15-4 (5-1 SAC) with the win and now comes what is arguably one of the most important games in Southmont boys basketball history. Friday night they’ll travel to Frankfort and with a win will secure a share of the Sagamore Conference for the first time in school history. Turner knows the importance of the game, but also is taking a calm approach to Friday night.
“We know what’s at stake on Friday,” he said. “It’s Frankfort’s senior night and they’d love to spoil our chances of being able to win a share of the conference. We’re going to have two good practices but make sure our guys are also fresh for that game. Sometimes in big games you can put too much pressure on yourself. We want to play hard and win but also have fun. Once the game starts it comes down to being a basketball player and reacting to what they do. They’re a hard team to guard so we’re going to have to be locked in defensively.”
South Putnam falls to 4-15 with the loss. Coach Pickerill knows that while the loss to the Mounties stings, this is a team they could see once again come the sectional as the Eagles, if that does happen, will get them on their home floor as they host the Class 2A Sectional 44.
“If we do see them again, we have to immediately lock in on the defensive end first,” he said. “Their shooters thrive on getting wide open shots so we have to work on containing the ball and being able to get out to their shooters if we meet up in the post-season.”
The Eagles will be back in action on Friday at home as they take on Owen Valley.
“If you were to tell me at the beginning of the season that we’d have the opportunity to go to Frankfort for a share of the Sagamore Conference I’d say sign me up,” Turner said with a smile on his face. “This is what we want and I hope we can go out there and play one of our best games of the season.”
Southmont 78, South Putnam 40
Score by Quarters
SM 19 19 21 19 - 78
SP 11 10 9 10 - 40
FG-FGA FT-FTA PTS: Logan Oppy 9-13 1-2 23, Avery Saunders 6-7 3-7 15, EJ Brewer 4-4 0-0 8, Carter Hubble 4-6 0-2 8, Carson Chadd 3-4 0-0 6, Trip Ward 2-7 0-0 6, Kion Cornelius 2-4 0-1 6, Nick Scott 1-2 0-0 3, Vince Reimondo 0-0 2-2 2, Aaron McMasters 0-0 1-2 1; Totals 31-47 7-16 78
South Putnam 4-15
Eli Smith 7-15 3-4 19, Josh Hammond 2-6 2-2 7, Drew Hill 2-10 1-2 6, Austen Branham 2-5 0-0 4, Griffin Garner 1-6 0-0 2, Wyatt Mullin 1-1 0-0 2, Jacob Beadles 0-1 0-0 0, Logan Sillery 0-0 0-0 0, Clayton Cash 0-1 0-0 0, Team 0-6 0-0 0; Totals 15-51, 6-8 40
3-Pt Shooting: SM 9-20 (Oppy 4, Cornelius 2, Ward 2, Scott), SP 4-26 (Smith 2, Hammond, Hill).
Rebounding: SM 39, SP 19
Turnovers: SM 13, SP 10