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Turner steps away from Mountie basketball

Jake Turner cuts down the nets after Southmont boys basketball captured the sectional championship last season. In six seasons he guided the Mounties to a 64-67 record and had a winning season each of the last three years.

Saying goodbye to a program that he built was never going to be easy. On Wednesday Southmont boys basketball coach Jake Turner officially stepped down from his role at the helm of the Mountie program. Turner spent the last six seasons leading the Mounties as he took over for John Sparks in the early stages of the 2017-18 season. In his six years with the Mounties Turner compiled a 64-67 record including the last three seasons coaching the Mounties to an above .500 record.

The highlight of Turner’s tenure came last season when he led Southmont to a 19-7 overall record as the team won the schools first sectional title since 1994. They set the program record for wins during that season as well to go on top of being named champions of the Sagamore Athletic Conference.

“I’ve always tried to earn the respect of my players through my preparation,” Turner said. “I want to have answers when they have questions and be able to as much as I can to make us successful. We slowly built this thing up and built our win totals every year and it culminated last year with winning the sectional. We created a culture of working hard and prepare for every game like it’s a sectional championship. I hope that I’ve been able to teach our players to do whatever they do in life by doing it the right way.”

This past season despite losing 2021-22 Journal Review Player of the Year in Avery Saunders and sharpshooter Logan Oppy, Turner and the Mounties still won 15 games. He has coached the Mounties to three county titles and two Sugar Creek Classic championships.

Turner also took a moment to reflect on how special last season was of when he finally was able to achieve a life-long dream of being able to cut down the nets.

“My dad won a sectional title at North Montgomery in 1977 and I wanted to win one so bad as a player but wasn’t able to get it done,” Turner said. “To get one last year was so validating because we all worked so hard and it wasn’t just for me, but for all our the Southmont players and alumni who paved the way. It was so great to see all of the pride that everyone took in that accomplishment.”

Southmont to Turner was more than just a place that he went to coach. It became a second family. There were plenty of thank you’s that he wanted to let everyone know how grateful he was of their support.

“Southmont is such a great school and a great community,” Turner concluded. “There’s so many parents that have helped me and our program throughout the years. They all made a true family environment here. The Oppy’s would drive my grandmother to most of our games so she could watch me coach. To be honest I’m going to miss it dearly and just hope that I might be able to come back one day.”

The search for the next boys basketball coach at Southmont will begin immediately.

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