NEW MARKET — Southmont saved the best for last, literally.
A 17-6 run in overtime, following a 3-pointer at nearly the last second of regulation, propelled the Mounties to a 68-57 win over Indianapolis Scecina in the last game of the regular season.
They also used a double career-high by Avery Saunders, for a double-double, to grab the win and move to 11-9 at the conclusion of the regular season, the 19th time in Southmont’s 50-year history that a winning season is guaranteed.
Trailing by eight at one point of the third quarter, and then by seven at a later point of that same quarter, the Mounties closed that third period with five in a row and then tied the game with the first hoop of the fourth.
The junior scored 15 of his career-best 28 points in the fourth quarter and overtime. He single-handedly outscored the Crusaders 8-7 in the extra four minutes.
He completed his double-double with a career-high 13 rebounds, with six of them off the offensive glass.
“Avery dominated the fourth and overtime,” South coach Jake Turner said. “He did a great job. He was active on the offense, and especially on the offensive glass. His defense was great and he picked up some steals. We wanted him to crash the boards.”
The overtime heroics wouldn’t have happened, however, without Logan Oppy hitting a huge three on a perfectly executed play with about two seconds on the fourth-quarter clock.
The teams traded the lead a couple times down the stretch, and it was 51-48 Scecina in the waning seconds.
The pass went to Oppy, and the junior hit his only field goal of the quarter to give the fans some free basketball. He would finish with 16 points, including four more in the overtime.
The overtime was all Mounties, and they can start prepping for the sectionals.
“The fans go their money’s worth,” Turner said, noting his squad’s 9-0 start to the game, only to have the Crusaders get it back to within one at halftime, then fall have his Mounties fall behind in the third, tie it up and dominate in OT. “It was frustrating, stressful, but at the end of regulation we really executed well, and then in overtime, we got some stops and turned them into baskets. It was a relief at the end, and we’ll take it.”
The Mounties fell behind when the Crusaders started dropping three’s from all over Bob Tandy Gym.
Having taken over 400 triples during their first 21 games, the visitors never stopped firing from deep.
They didn’t find the range until the third quarter, and finished with 11 of their 25 total made field goals coming from long range.
“We had to try and limit (Keaton) Thibo and (Mason) Bareault,” Turner noted. “We did that late.”
Thibo had four threes in the first half, but none in the second, as the Crusaders leading scorer was held exactly to his 16 point average.
Bereault was scoreless in the first half, but had three quick buckets in the third. He was limited to only one early in the fourth and none in the OT to finish with 12. Neither player scored in that extra period. Scecina finishes the season at 8-14.
The win gives the Mounties a shot of momentum heading in the 2A sectionals next week, where they drew a bye and will play the winner of Cloverdale and Parke Heritage next Friday in Cloverdale.
“In years past we might not have come back to win this,” Turner said, tipping his hat to his four seniors. “We have played with good teams like Danville, Tri-West and Parke Heritage. This win guarantees a winning season, which is such a testament to the work by the seniors and all the guys. We were 4-19 two years ago, 7-15 last year and now 11-9. We rode the momentum of Logan’s shot into the OT, and now we have to ride that winning momentum into next Friday. We have to clean up some of the turnovers, keep improving defensively and shoot our free throws better. With good defense, we can play with anybody.”
The Mounties were 26-of-49 from the field, 5-of-12 from deep and 11-of-20 from the line. They won the rebound battle 36-29.
Scecina was 21-of-54 from the field, 11-of-25 from long range and only 4-of-4 from the line. Layden Adair was also in double-figure scoring with 16 points. Both teams had 15 turnovers.
The Crusaders start sectional action next Tuesday against Covenant Christian, and with a win, will play Park Tudor, who defeated Crawfordsville Friday night.
SOUTHMONT 68, INDIANAPOLIS SCECINA 57 OT
SC 8 16 15 12 6 — 57
SM 15 10 12 14 17 — 68
Scecina (8-14): Keaton Thibo 6-22 0-0 16, Jacob Martin 0-0 0-0 0, Mason Beriault 4-7 0-0 12, Jaylon Long 1-4 0-0 3, Jackson Pruitt 0-0 0-0 0, David Mendez 3-8 1-1 8, Layden Adair 6-12 3-3 16, Josiah Smith 1-1 0-0 2. SouthoninTotals 21-54 4-4 57.
Southmont (11-9): Carson Chadd 3-6 0-0 6, Cam King 0-1 1-2 1, Cale Hess 2-7 1-1 6, Austin Bowman 3-6 1-2 7, Logan Oppy 5-13 4-4 16, Steele Baumgardner 0-0 0-0 0, EJ Brewer 1-1 1-4 4, Avery Saunders 12-15 3-7 28. Totals 26-49 11-20 68.
3-Pt Shooting: Scecina 11-25 (Thibo 4-14, Beriault 4-4, Long 1-1, Mendez 1-3, Adair 1-3); South 5-12 (Hess 1-2, Bowman 0-2, Oppy 2-6, Brewer 1-1, Saunders 1-1).
Rebounds: Scecina 29 (Adair 7, Smith 4); South 36 (Saunders 13, Chadd 6).
Turnovers: Scecina 15; South 15.
Second Chance: Scecina 4; South 17.
Paint Pts: Scecina 10; South 32.