LINDEN – February is the month that can make or break Indiana high school basketball teams.
With two weeks remaining in the regular season following North Montgomery’s 70-59 Sagamore Conference victory Friday night against visiting Frankfort, the Chargers have to be feeling good about themselves.
North Montgomery withstood outstanding 3-point shooting in the first half by Frankfort, trailing on 40-39 going to the locker room. Preston Shaw got the Chargers off to a great start in the third quarter with eight of his 10 points. North Montgomery did not trail for the final 14:51.
“I thought we were a lot more patient,” North Montgomery coach Chad Arnold said. “I think we’re a lot better offensive team. We’re moving the ball, getting it into the paint.”
The Chargers’ patience was evident against the Hot Dogs’ 2-3 zone. Instead of forcing 3-pointers or quick shots, they passed the ball until finding an open man, usually within a few feet of the basket.
Zak Searle found himself the beneficiary of several passes inside, scoring nine of his co-team-high 13 points in the second half .
When the Chargers weren’t getting easy baskets, they were getting easier points at the free throw line. North Montgomery made its first 15 free throws before finishing 18 of 20 from the line.
Keifer Carmean and Logan Kelly kept the Chargers close in the first half, combining for 20 points. Carmean ended up with 13 points, one of four North Montgomery players in double figures. Jaron Bradford added 11 points.
Alex Wallace and Kelly had nine apiece.
“We’ve got guys who can score,” Arnold said. “We’ve got guys coming off the bench who could start for a lot of people. We just need to keep sharing the basketball. Inside, outside, drive to the post and take what the defense gives us.”
Arnold’s first Sagamore Conference victory as Chargers coach didn’t come easily. It seemed like Frankfort could not miss from 3-point range in the first half making 10 of 18. The Hot Dogs were 5 of 13 inside the arc.
Reserve guard Riley Goodnight was 5 of 5 from the field in the second quarter for 14 points. He did not score in the second half, as the Hot Dogs were held to 2 of 8 from 3-point range.
“They can shoot it,” Arnold said. “We didn’t do a good job rebounding the first half especially the second quarter. We let them get loose way too many times.
“The third and fourth quarter … we were more locked in and didn’t give up those offensive rebounds.”
Trey Frazier led Frankfort (3-13) with 22 points.
North Montgomery (10-9, 1-5 Sagamore) wraps up its road schedule Tuesday at North Putnam and next Friday at Tri-West. The Chargers closed the regular season with a Senior Night game Feb. 28 against Greencastle.