NEW MARKET — Southmont hosted Lebanon Friday in a Sagamore Conference double-header as the Lady Mounties concluded their regular season and the boys faced their stiffest competition yet in the SAC.
The girls game from the opening tip was controlled by the visiting Tigers and forced the Mounties into a total of 30 turnovers as the Lady Tigers defeated the Mounties in a convincing 55-31 win.
Over on the boys side Southmont and Lebanon battled for the top spot in the SAC and the Mounties made it a game after trailing by nine at halftime using a strong third quarter, but the Tigers would prevail using a big 13-0 in the fourth quarter to pull away and hang on for a 58-52 win as the Tigers came away with a sweep of the Mounties.
Girls miss chance to end season at .500
The Lady Mounties were riding a three-game winning streak and playing their best basketball of the season heading into their regular season finale. A fourth straight win would put the Mounties back at .500 with a 10-10 record, but the Tigers quickly dismissed that idea.
Lebanon led 16-7 after the opening quarter and with each passing quarter increased their lead as the Mounties had no answer on either side of the ball.
“Lebanon did a good job tonight, but we took ourselves out of this game,” Southmont coach Dan Burkman said. “I’ve been talking with our girls a lot about the mental approach to the game and you could see it on both ends, we just weren’t there tonight. Our defense had no energy and was slow and stagnant. Usually that is able to get us going but that wasn’t the case tonight.”
Southmont’s leading scorers in Belle Miller and Dori Frederick were held to just two points combined all night. DeLorean Mason scored eight to lead the Mounties and Jade Gann added seven. Hanna Nichols scored six, Chelsea Veatch five, Chloe Jenkins four and Miller two.
Alexis Wines led all scorers with 19 points for the Tigers while Kylie Ottinger added 15 and Alexandra Barr rounded out the double figure scoring for the Tigers with 10. For the game Lebanon attempted 28 threes and managed to make eight of them compared to just 1-10 for the Mounties.
“Statistically they haven’t shot it that well and that’s what it showed when we scouted them,” Burkman said. “Somehow teams just have hot shooting nights against us and that happened again tonight, they shot lights out.”
Lebanon ends the season with an 11-12 (5-2 SAC) record while Mounties conclude the regular season with a record of 9-11 (1-6 SAC). Southmont now shifts their focus to next week’s Class 2A Sectional 44 which they will host. The Mounties drew the bye and will play the winner of Tuesday’s contest between Parke Heritage and South Putnam on Friday in the first semi-final match up.
“I’m looking forward to having a little time for us to rest,” Burkman said. “Everyone is tired and this week will be good for us. We just have to put this game behind us and learn from it to be more mentally prepared come next week.”
Boys fight but can’t overcome physical Tigers
Southmont and Lebanon boys battled in a physical SAC contest. Early on it was Lebanon who jumped out to an early lead but Carson Chadd’s corner three made just a 15-12 Mountie deficit after a quarter. The Tigers upped their lead to 29-20 at halftime before the Mounties stormed back in the third to trail just by one at 41-40. The Tigers put the nail in the Mounties coffin mid-way through the fourth using a 13-0 run to re-gain the lead for good and hold on for the victory.
“They (Lebanon) do a great job of being prepared coming into big games,” Southmont coach Jake Turner said. “I’m really proud of how our guys kept fighting despite digging ourselves that hole in the first half. A couple of kids really stepped up for them down the stretch. When you have two really good teams sometimes it comes down to which team steps up at a crucial moment. The key was we turned it over 15 times compared to their five.”
Logan Oppy scored all 15 of his points in the second half for Southmont. Avery Saunders scored 14 and Carson Chadd despite being held scoreless in the second half still scored 11.
Lebanon also had three guys in double-figures led by Jake Burns’s game-high 16 points. Korbyn Sloggett scored 14 and Landon Fouts added 10.
“We thought we had some mis-matches with our bigs against theirs and their ability to drive,” Turner said. “Lebanon’s kids were really disciplined on who they wanted to help off of. We trusted each other very well tonight and that’s another thing that I’m proud of. We’re disappointed that we lost but I’m proud of our effort and we have to learn from our mistakes and get ready for another game tomorrow night.”
With the loss Southmont falls to 11-3 (4-1 SAC) on the season. While they lost the chance to win the SAC out-right, they can still claim a share of the conference title with wins in their final two games against Tri-West and Frankfort. Lebanon with the win ends conference play with a 6-1 mark and guarantees them at least a share of the SAC crown.
The Mounties will re-group and look forward to Saturday night’s contest where they will host Owen Valley. It will also be senior night for the Mounties as they honor both Saunders and Oppy.
“We want to send those guys out the right way,” Turner said. “That’s our focus and we’ll get back to work.”