GREENCASTLE – Southmont entered the Class 2A Sectional 43 as one of the favorites to bring home the sectional title. The Mounties opened up sectional play at South Putnam by taking on Riverton Parke, looking to snap a two game skid. What resulted was Southmont playing one of their most dominating games of the season as they would run away from the Panthers in a 67-23 victory.
It was a slow start for both the Panthers and Mounties as the Panthers had a 4-2 lead and Southmont coach Jake Turner called a 30 second timeout and that was all the Mounties needed as they ended the first quarter on an a 11-0 run to take a 13-4 lead after one quarter. The Panthers after scoring their first two points of the game, wouldn’t hit another field goal until the 2:54 mark in the second quarter and going into the locker room Southmont would hold a 37-9 lead as they outscored the Panthers 24-5.
“I thought we forced it a little bit early on because we were so amped up and ready to play,” Turner said of the first few minutes. “As we settled into the environment and got our second wind, we started to execute a lot better against their zone and go on a real flurry towards the end of the first quarter and the end of the second.”
Senior Avery Saunders was effective as usual for the Mounties as Riverton Parke had no answer for the athletic 6’5 forward. He ended the game with 22 points and snagged seven rebounds. Carson Chadd ended in double figures by scoring 10 points. Trip Ward, Logan Oppy, and Carter Hubble all ended with eight points in the blowout win. Nine different Mounties would contribute in the scoring column as Turner would put in his JV players late in the third and for the entire fourth.
The Mounties and Panthers also met earlier this season and the result was quite similar to this outcome. Southmont’s defense held Derron Hazzard (18.1 points per game) to just five total points and one made field goal on Wednesday night. Ashton Hines scored seven to lead the Panthers.
“He (Hazzard) didn’t play in the second half of our first matchup so I thought that score was a little misleading the first time we played,” Turner said. “They ended up putting him up top a lot tonight and their other guys struggled to make plays so we were able to contain him and really force their hand tonight.”
The two losses for Southmont heading into the sectional last week came against a tough Parke Heritage team and then their season finale loss to a tough 1A school in Indiana Math & Science Academy. The Mounties needed this win to build back up momentum, and they were able to do that in a very big way.
“It’s always tough going down to play in the Rock-a-dome vs Parke Heritage,” Turner said. “Then Math & Science was the most athletic team we’ve played all season. Winning comes down to effort and paying attention to detail and there’s no question about our effort but when we pay attention to detail and execute what we want to do offensively, we’re a very tough team, and tonight I thought we were able to do that for a majority of the game.”
Defensively Southmont allowed just seven made field goals and held the Panthers to 25% from the field. The had 30 points off the Panthers 18 turnovers and shot 59% (24-41) in the victory.
The sectional victory snapped a seven year skid of going one and done in the tournament for the Mounties as they now advance to Friday night’s sectional semi-final. The Mounties will take on the North Putnam Cougars who defeated Cascade in the second game Wednesday evening 71-57.
Southmont in the opening game of the season was able to defeat the Cougars 55-49. Turner knows that game back on Nov. 24 was a long time ago and that his Mounties squad will be in for a fight.
“They’re obviously a much different and better team than they were at the beginning of the season,” he said. “The same can be said for us because I think we’ve gotten way better. North Putnam is more of a personnel driven team and we’re going to have to make it difficult for them on the offensive side which is easier said than done. Defensively they’re going to run and jump you and we’ll have some counters ready for that. We’re definitely going to enjoy this one tonight and then get back to work and prepare for Friday.”
The Cougars and the Mounties are scheduled to tip off 20 minutes after the conclusion of the first game between host South Putnam and Parke Heritage.
Southmont 67, Riverton Parke 23
Score by Quarters
Southmont 13 24 22 8 - 67
Riverton Parke 4 5 7 7 - 23
FG-FGA FT-FTA PTS: Avery Saunders 9-11 4-4 22, Logan Oppy 3-9 0-0 8, Carson Chadd 4-5 2-3 10, Trip Ward 2-4 2-2 8, EJ Brewer 1-1 2-2 5, Hayden Hess 1-2 1-2 3, Carter Hubble 3-3 2-3 8, Vincent Reimondo 1-1 0-0 2, Aaron McMasters 0-0 1-2 1, Nick Scott 0-2 0-0 0, Kyler McCandless 0-1 0-0 0, Team 0-2 0-0 0; Totals 24-41 14-18 67
Riverton Parke (6-18)
Ashton Hines 2-9 3-3 7, Derron Hazzard 1-4 3-4 5, Jacob Hopton 2-3 0-0 4, Grant Harkrider 1-3 0-0 3, Matthew Mullins 1-3 1-2 3, Pierson Robins 0-2 1-2 1, Brandon Todd 0-2 0-0 9, Team 0-2 0-0 0; Totals 7-28 8-11 23
3-Pt Shooting:Southmont 5-16 (Oppy 2, Ward 2, Brewer), Riverton Parke 1-10 (Harkrider)
Rebounding: Southmont 26 (Saunders 7, Oppy 4) , Riverton Parke 17
Turnovers: Southmont 8, Riverton Parke 18