LINDEN – North Montgomery invited No. 2 ranked Danville into Charger Den, Friday night, in hopes of catching the Hendricks County Tournament champions full on their recent success. Instead, the Warriors were hungry to add to their momentum, devouring the Chargers 70-40.
The Warriors (11-3, 2-0 SAC) bolted to a 7-0 start, and scored more than 20 points in each of the first two quarters to keep the Chargers at arms' length throughout the contest. North Montgomery (8-5, 2-1 SAC) suffered their first Sagamore Athletic Conference loss and fell for the second time in three games.
“Their length, their athleticism, their speed, how hard they play is hard to simulate,” said dejected Chargers head coach Joel Grindle. “They jumped out on us, and that was the story of the game – what happened right at the beginning.”
Danville was led by the game-high scoring of forward Ryan Cloncs. The senior kept pace with his season average 20.6 points per game by tossing in 21 on 10-of-16 shooting. Jake Elliott and Alec Burton joined Cloncs in double figures with 13 point and 12 points respectively. Caleb Randolph was the only Charger in double figures with 13 points.
The trademark unselfish play and team depth of North Montgomery was not enough to overcome the laws of nature. Danville sported a line-up that went 6'7”, 6'4”, 6'4”, and 6'3” across the front, and they were active defensively and on the glass. The Warriors ruled the boards, out-rebounding the Chargers 40-26.
“They packed it in and with their size and length we couldn't get good looks,” said Grindle wistfully. “Defensively, they were a whole lot better than we were tonight. They have a lot of guys who can fly in and close out. Every shot we took was contested.”
The game snowballed quickly when North Montgomery failed to handle the aggressive Danville defense in the opening minutes, yielding eight quick turnovers. In turn, Danville was able to work the ball inside for easy shots. “We couldn't get a stop, which led them to set up their pressure, which led to us not getting easy bucket against their zone.”
“Danville is a top 10 cream of the crop team right now.”
January doesn't get any easier for the Chargers. Up next is conference leading Lebanon.
“We don't have the luxury to sit back and feel sorry for ourselves,” noted Grindle. “It is back to the drawing board.”