DOVER – Southmont (7-0, 4-0 SAC) entered Friday’s game knowing they were going to get Western Boone’s (2-4, 0-3 SAC) best shot. The Mounties were up to the task going blow for blow with the Stars to pull out a 19-point win, 54-35, to stay perfect on the season and atop the Sagamore Conference standings in the meantime.
The Stars jumped out to an 8-3 lead with under 3:00 to go in the first quarter, before the Mounties stormed back to tie it at 8.
“I knew they were going to play extremely hard. After watching them on film, the thing that stood out to me was how hard they play,” said Mountie head coach Jake Turner. “Coach Oakley’s a friend of mine, and I know he’d have them ready to go, and were they ever.”
“I think that’s who we are. We’re defensive minded. We’re physical and we’re tough,” said Star mentor Dustin Oakley. “I thought we executed the game plan well. We wanted to sag off Avery and Chadd and make them shoot over the top and stick with Oppy as much as possible.”
The Mounties made the adjustment in the second quarter and were able to outscore the Stars 17-5 in the period, forcing Western Boone into 12 first half turnovers as they lead 25-13 at the break.
“Our defense stood out in the first half,” said Turner “We gave up 13-points. Defense is something we want to hang our hats on. Western Boone made a run in the second half, but we were able to get some stops, which is great to see.”
Western Boone trailed 33-17 with 4:48 remaining in the third, and they were able to cut it to seven with 1:36 remaining in the quarter thanks to the play of Elliott Young. The senior scored nine of his team high 10 points during the run. However, South would outscore them 5-2 to close out the quarter with a 10-point lead.
“We wanted to attack the paint more and reverse the ball,” Oakley said of the second half adjustment. “I thought we could move the ball a little better, hit some shots and get in our press. I thought our press was pretty good tonight.”
The Stars again cut the lead to eight with 4:50 remaining, but the Mounties closed out the game on an 11-0 run.
“We spoke about how every Conference game is going to be a tough game. They were going to have a great crowd and be into it,” Turner said of the Stars. “In the end, we were able to tough it out, get stops, and we stuck together and rebounded better in the second half which were the keys to our victory.
The Mounties were led by Avery Saunders 22, including a perfect 9-for-9 from the charity stripe. Logan Oppy chipped in 15 and EJ Brewer 8. The Mounties shot 35% from the floor, 12-13 from the line and outrebounded the Stars 27-19.
The Stars were led by Young and Marcus Stopp’s 10-points. They shot 31% from the field including 10-12 from the free throw line.
“It’s nice to be undefeated. It will make Christmas and New Year a little sweeter,” Turner said of the unblemished record heading to the Holiday break. “We need to get better defensively, blocking out and taking care of the ball, but if we continue to strive to be the best we can be, then I think we can play with anyone in our league.”
The Mounties are off until January 7, when they’ll face the same Western Boone in the first round of the Sugar Creek Classic at Crawfordsville.
The Stars are back in action tonight when they’ll host Fountain Central, and they’ll travel to Covington before taking off for break.
“We’re going through a little rough patch right now, but we battled the Conference leader and got it back down to eight with under 5:00 to go,” Oakley said. “I see a lot of positives. Seven out of 10 guys haven’t played.
We have Fountain Central tomorrow,” he continued. “We need to make a statement and get a win and see where we stand in our sectional.”
Southmont 54, Western Boone 35
SM 8 17 16 13 — 54
WB 8 5 18 7 — 35
Southmont (7-0 3-0 SAC)
FG-FGA FT-FTA: Avery Saunders 4-7 9-9 22, Logan Oppy 5-10 1-1 15, EJ Brewer 3-5 0-0 8, Carson Chadd 1-6 2-3 4, Kion Cornelius 1-2 0-0 3, Carter Hubble 1-4 0-0 2; Totals 14-40 12-13 54
Western Boone (2-4. 0-3 SAC)
Elliott Young 3-11 3-3 10, Marcus Stopp 3-8 6-7 10, Seth McClaskey 2-5 0-0 5, Corbin Jones 2-4 0-0 4, Garrett Morton 1-6 1-2 3, Kaden Bennington 1-2 0-0 3; Totals 12-39 10-12 35
3-Point Shooting: Southmont 8-14 (Oppy 3, Brewer 2, Saunders 2), Western Boone 3-12 (McClaskey 1, Young 1, Stopp 1)
Rebounding: Southmont 27, Western Boone 19
Turnovers: Western Boone 18, Southmont 14