CAYUGA — Sidney Veatch connected on just one of her first 12 shots, and Southmont trailed North Vermillion 25-21 midway through the third quarter — but the senior wasn’t about to back down and let her team suffer its first lost of the season.
Veatch made her next five shots, giving the Mounties the lead for good after three quarters on their way to a 41-35 win over the Falcons to improve to 8-0 on the season.
Southmont (8-0) was just 5-of-30 shooting in the first half, but forced 12 first half North Vermillion (5-5) turnovers to stay in the game. The game was tied 14-14 at the break.
“I was really impressed with our defense, and we maintained our composure down the stretch,” first-year Southmont coach Dan Burkman said. “In the first half I really feel like a conservative estimate we could have easily been up 10 points. I just told them that’s not going to continue for four quarters, and I think they just needed a little extra confidence to keep doing what they were doing and stick with it.”
Burkman was right — the cold shooting didn’t continue.
The Mounties were 9-of-19 in the second half from the field. Addison Charles knocked down a pair of 3-pointers, scoring seven of her 10 points over the last 16 minutes. Veatch led the Mounties with 16 points and 10 rebounds, including 14 points in the second half.
Charles buried a triple to open the fourth quarter to make it 33-28 Mounties, but three times the Falcons cut it to a one possession game. And each time the Mounties responded. Natalie Manion made a foul shot and later found Veatch for a wide open lay-up after a steal, before Veatch and Marissa Craig iced the game with a pair of free throws each in the final minute. Southmont connected on 11-of-16 shots from the stripe in the win.
“I thought today we made progress and are just inches away from really clicking on a lot of things,” Burkman said. “Our last game was December 15 before Saturday. That’s almost three weeks and in a way you can’t really fine tune a lot of things. So in a lot of ways I think we are inches away from clicking on all cylinders.”
Defensively the Mounties forced 22 turnovers, and held the Falcons to a 14-of-41 shooting effort, including just five made 3-pointers on 17 attempts. McKenzie Crowder was just two off her season average to lead North Vermillion with 13 points, but made just 5-of-20 shots.
Southmont is at Riverton Parke tonight, while North Vermillion will entertain the 2-5 Panthers on Thursday.