Indianapolis - For the second night in a row, Southmont had to swallow a bitter basketball pill with a close, physical, 60-58 loss to Indiana Math and Science Academy.
Trailing big early, the Mounties, who fall to 16-6 as they close the regular season, came back from that deficit and had as much as a seven-point lead in the fourth quarter, only to have the Knights, who move to 15-8, find a bucket or block a shot.
Like Tuesday’s loss at Parke Heritage, a tough road environment and a bruising game flow got the Mounties out of sorts a bit, and like Tuesday, a last shot to tie did not find the mark.
“They (IMSA) made a couple plays down the stretch,” South coach Jake Turner said. “We had the late lead, but we came up a little short. It is tough.
I told the guys that big games come down to poise, poise and more poise, and that we can’t let the game flow get us out of our pace or rhythm. I told the guys that I was really proud of their effort once we got settled down in the first quarter.”
That start saw the Knights take advantage of six early turnovers and a few missed shots to jump out to as much as a 12-point lead. In a deja-vu moment from Tuesday, IMSA hit their first four three-pointers to make matters worse.
The other side of that coin, however, is that the Knights hit only one more trey the rest of the game, as South extended the defense, and picked up the pressure on the ball, forcing six home-team second quarter turnovers.
That resulted in South having a 28-26 lead midway thr0ugh the second, but a 7-0 run gave IMSA the halftime lead.
“We watched the video of these guys playing Bethesda Christian (a previous South opponent), and I told our guys we couldn’t be intimidated by their size and strength,” Turneer said. “I think early on, we passed up a couple shots, but aside from early, we never backed down from that challenge. We did a better job against their zone defense and put more pressure on them.”
The teams traded the lead in the third quarter, and a 7-2 run to open the fourth gave South their biggest cushion of the game.
A couple missed shots, or blocked, and a couple turnovers saw IMSA tie the game at 55 and then take a two-point lead.
With a minute left, and the Knights with the ball, what started as a steal by South turned into a break for IMSA.
With what looked like a held ball occurring, Turner was trying to get a timeout, and an official actually awarded the stoppage.
But, the underneath official ruled that a South player had used too much force, and called a dead-ball technical.
The result was two made free throws and possession with a 59-55 lead.
A steal, bucket and the and-one by EJ Brewer got it to 59-58.
The Knights made one free throw, and the Mounties worked for the final shot, but it was blocked going up and time ran out.
The loss overshadows a pair of double-doubles by South players.
Avery Saunders led the way for the Mounties with 22 points, and grabbed 10 rebounds, including seven on the offensive glass. He put four of those grabs back in. The 23 was one shy of his Tuesday total.
Carson Chadd added 14 points on seven field goals, and the junior pulled down 13 boards, five on the offensive end.
For the game, South was 25-of-55 from the field, 2-of-9 from long range and 6-of-13 from the line. They won the rebound battle 41-27, but lost the turnover war 17-14. The Mounties did have 18 points off those IMSA turnovers and all those offensive rebounds tallied 15 second-chance points.
The Knights were led in scoring by Kameron Horge with 24 and Murray Lewis with 22. Jaden Hatfield led the Knights with 11 rebounds. They were 22-of-48 from the field, 5-of-16 from deep and 112-of-17 from the line.
“These were both winnable games,” Turner said of the back-to-back losses, “but these are also things we can learn from heading into next week.”
The Knights will play in the 1A tournament and will play next Tuesday.
The Mounties play Wednesday, when they take on Riverton Parke in their 2A Sectional 43 tournament.
IN Math and Science 60, Southmont 58
Score by Quarters
South 12 16 17 13 - 58
IMSA 22 11 10 17 - 60
FG-FGA FT-FTA PTS; Carson Chadd 7-10 0-3 14, Trip Ward 0-0 1-2 1, Logan Oppy 2-10 2-2 7, EJ Brewer 3-5 1-1 7, Avery Saunders 10-22 2-5 22, Kion Cornelius 1-4 0-0 3, Carter Hubble 2-2 0-0 4. Totals 25-55 6-13 58.
Jaden Mickens 3-6 2-2 8, Kameron Hordge 8-18 5-8 24, Christopher Hatfield 2-2 0-0 4, Murray Lewis 8-18 4-5 22, Jaden Hatfield 1-3 0-2 2, Jeremiah Oliver 0-0 0-0 0. David Kolurejo 0-1 0-0 0. Amaeire Depriest 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 22-48 11-16 60.
South 2-9 (Cornelius 1-2, Oppy 1-7); IMSA 5-16 (Mickens 0-1, Hordge 3-8, Kolurejo 0-1, Lewis 2-6).
South 41 (Chadd 13, Saunders 10); IMSA 27 (J.Hatfield 11).
Second Chance Pts
South 15; IMSA 11
South 17; IMSA 14
Pts Off TOs
South 18, IMSA 17.