Southmont will look to continue their historic season as they open up sectional play next Wednesday at South Putnam vs Riverton Parke.
NEW MARKET — What a season it has been for the Southmont boys basketball team.
The Mounties ended the regular season with a record of 16-6 — their most since the 2012-13 season. Southmont claimed the county title, and more importantly, a share of the Sagamore Conference title for the first time in school history.
Southmont is put together by what they call their “big three” — the trio of seniors Avery Saunders and Logan Oppy and junior Carson Chadd.
Saunders leads the Mounties in scoring and rebounding with nearly 20 points per game and grabbing almost eight rebounds.
Oppy is a threat from behind the arc and Chadd just plays straight bully ball and does the tough work in the low post.
The Mounties aren’t content with this already historic season. They’re hungry for more. They still have one goal left to check off — a sectional title. If successful, it would be their first since the 1993-94 season.
Coming into this season, coach Jake Turner knew his team had the talent to be competitive.
“Before the season we sat down and wrote out our goals,” Turner said. “We wanted to win the Sugar Creek Classic, which we weren’t able to do, but also win the county, conference, sectional and set the program record for wins (18). We’ve achieved the county and conference, and that sectional title is something we’re really striving for. We’re proud of what we’ve accomplished so far, but we have to continue to look forward because all that matters is what’s in front of us.”
Southmont needed every second to secure a share of the SAC title in a 52-51 win over Frankfort as Saunders hit the game-winning free-throw with .6 left in the game.
The Mounties are the smallest school in the conference and to achieve something that’s never been done before in school history is something neither Turner nor his team take for granted.
“When you consider the history schools like Lebanon, Frankfort and recently Tri-West and Danville have all had, it’s quite the accomplishment for our kids,” Turner said. “What’s even more impressive about winning the conference and our season as a whole is we’ve been so road heavy (15 road games). It’s tough to win on the road and a main reason I think for our success is our experience and defense.”
While the main focus for Southmont has been the play of Saunders, Oppy and Chadd, the Mounties have surrounded them with outstanding role players in E.J Brewer, Trip Ward, Carter Hubble and Kion Cornelius.
“They all relish their roles and know what they are asked to do and it’s been a complete team effort,” Turner said. “E.J usually guards the team’s best perimeter player and holds those guys down. Kion is an excellent defender also who can make life difficult for opposing guards.
“We thought at the beginning of the year everything was moving a little too fast for Trip, but as the year’s gone along he’s become more comfortable and more confident in his shot. Then Carter spells our bigs when they need a break and can protect the rim very well.”
Southmont will open up sectional play Wednesday at South Putnam as they take on Riverton Parke. In order to bring home a sectional title, the Mounties will have to win three games in four days.