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Rough fourth dooms Chargers

LINDEN — A fourth quarter filled with turnovers plagued the North Montgomery girls’ basketball team Tuesday night as they fell 42-31 to the North Vermillion Falcons.

Heading into the final quarter the Chargers trailed 28-25 after leading 17-15 at the half, however a quick 6-0 run to begin the quarter gave the Falcons a nine-point lead and they never looked back.

McKenzie Crowder scored all 13 of the Falcons points in the third quarter after scoring just two in the first half. She would end the game leading all scorers in the game with 18 points.

“She set the tone in that third quarter and let everyone know in the gym that this game was hers,” North Montgomery coach Ryan Nuppnau said. “Everyone else fed off of her energy and that helped them down the stretch.”

The Chargers (3-13 1-4 SAC) offense struggled to take care of the ball and finished with 20 turnovers in the game. When they were able to hold onto the ball, the Chargers were hesitant to shoot, something Nuppnau knows will have to be corrected.

“We got scared to shoot tonight and scared to score,” he said. “Our bigs didn’t demand the ball when they got position down on the blocks and had some easy post opportunities. Going forward we need to understand our passing lanes against the 2-3 zone that most teams are playing against us because we still struggle to shoot it from the outside.”

Madi Welch led the Chargers with 12 points in the loss. Grace McClaskey added in seven. Both Katie Rice and McKenzie Schroeder chipped in six each. Lydia Dugard also made her return to the court for North Montgomery after an absence due to COVID-19 protocols. The defensive-minded junior came off the bench as she works on getting back into game shape.

“It was good to have her back tonight,” Nuppnau said. “You can tell she’s still trying to get her legs underneath her out there and work on her stamina, but that will come with time. She provides us another big body that we can do multiple things with.”

The Charges have one final game remaining before the sectional tips off next week. Friday night they will make the short drive to Western Boone for a Sagamore Conference matchup with the Lady Stars as they look to end the regular season on a positive note. A Chargers win would be the first win over the Stars since the 2006-07 season.

“Getting that win would be big for us,” Nuppnau said. “I think it would help us our mentally more than anything because losing gets tough in that aspect. WeBo is a team that we have historically struggled against so that would be a huge confidence booster for us if we were able to win.”

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