Photo by Lori PoteetChaos was the norm Monday night between the Southmont and North Montgomery girls’ basketball teams.
Photo by Lori Poteet

Chaos was the norm Monday night between the Southmont and North Montgomery girls’ basketball teams.
LINDEN - The last four days have been brutal for the Southmont Lady Mounties basketball team. On Thursday, the Mounties shot 8-of-29 from the free throw line in a 23-point loss to Sagamore Athletic Conference opponent Frankfort. Saturday they traveled to Crawfordsville where they outshot and outrebounded the Lady Athenians, and still ended up on the wrong side of the scoreboard, 53-40.

Monday the Mounties got redemption.

They shot 16-of-27 from the charity stripe to avenge an earlier loss and beat North Montgomery with a fourth-quarter rally, 34-29.

"I never quite know what we're going to get from the free throw line, even though we hit them consistently in practice," Southmont head coach Susan McVay said after her first career varsity win over a county opponent. "That was nice to see that we hit them when they counted."

The game was physical from the start and both squads ran into early foul trouble. Southmont's Kasey Burton and North Montgomery's Carli Cahill both found the bench in the first four minutes with two fouls. Southmont's Aarika McKinsey followed midway through the second quarter when she picked up her third foul.

"I knew it would be a slugfest. The girls know each other, the records are similar, it's a county rivalry," McVay said. "We knew it was going to come down to the last couple of possessions."

The officials loosened up, creating an even more physical environment. Adding to the body-banging were 79 missed shots between the teams, with a battle guaranteed on every rebound. The shooting for both teams was abysmal. Southmont was 8-of-36 from the field (22 percent) and North was just 11-of-44 (25 percent).

"We just wanted to play our game and execute our defense, which we didn't," North Montgomery head coach Ryan Nuppnau said. He also commented that the physical style wasn't what North was hoping for in the matchup. "And we just couldn't find the basket. We tried every which way to find the basket."

It was the Chargers that benefitted early on from the game's style. They jumped out to an 8-3 lead in the first stanza and extended it to 10-3 in the second before Southmont started chipping away. With North leading 16-11, Southmont's junior guard, Brittany Barrett took the game over, scoring seven of Southmont's next eight points in an 8-2 run that gave Southmont the lead. Becca Adams tied things back up with a bucket for the Chargers before half.

"With Kaiti Chadd leading from the bench, if Aarika isn't in there Brittany always seems to step up and that was huge," McVay said. Chadd went down with an ACL tear at the Sugar Creek Classic.

The Mounties went stagnant again after halftime. It took two and a half minutes for either team to get on the board. Becca Adams started the action with a bucket at 5:30, and South freshman Avery Hess countered a minute later. Reagan Case put South on top again with a deep 3-pointer before North scored the quarter's last six points.

The fourth quarter was the Mounties chance to prove that they had the gusto to get it done at the charity stripe. They did just that, hitting 8-of-11 in the fourth quarter and needing just one field goal to overcome the 3-point deficit the quarter began with. They swung the game with an 8-0 run using free throws and the lone bucket, from McKinsey.

The Mounties gambled late, going to a four-corners offense with just a 1-point lead and 1:30 remaining. The Chargers chased the ball for nearly a minute before fouling Case with 32.8 second left on the close. She nailed both freebies, the Mounties got another turnover and McKinsey nailed two more before being whistled for her fifth foul with just seven seconds left.

"We wanted to make them come to us because for a while there they weren't even getting a (five-second) county going," McVay said. "I didn't know how well that would work but we were hopeful and it worked. We gambled a little bit, but that was the nature of the game tonight."

Southmont (4-14) will have little time to celebrate. Covington comes to town tonight and the Mounties will honor McKinsey, their only senior, at halftime. North Montgomery (3-15) goes to Western Boone Friday.

"It's a matter of learning to play consistently. When we start playing consistently the W's will start coming," Nuppnau said. "It was just lack of execution. We couldn't run one set play. Defensively we broke down at key times and that hurt us."