NEW MARKET – A dogfight of a county boys’ basketball matchup took the stage Friday night at Southmont as the Mounties met the North Montgomery Chargers. In a low-scoring affair, Southmont edged out an overtime win, 48-47.
“This win was huge,” Southmont head coach Jake Turner said. “We really struggled the first four games without Justin (Howard) and we had an inconsistent week in practice. It wasn’t pretty. It was pretty ugly at times for both teams. But, to be able to hang on is incredible. This is a great team win and I’m proud of them.”
The Mounties returned senior Justin Howard, who was absent in Southmont’s first four games. Howard averaged 13.9 points per game for the Mounties last season.
Both teams took time to settle in and find their range offensively. The Mounties gained the early advantage, thanks to a pair of 3-pointers from Cole Roach, which helped them to an 8-4 lead after the first quarter.
The Chargers then began to find their groove, using an 11-point second quarter to go up by two at halftime, 15-13.
The second half continued to be a back-and-forth affair, but North Montgomery looked to be poised for a run in the fourth quarter after grabbing a 33-31 lead and forcing a Southmont turnover. But, the Mounties responded, first with a Howard two-point shot, then with two free throws from Logan Oppy and finally with a Roach steal and layup, which gave Southmont a 37-33 lead.
The Mounties held on to a 41-39 lead with just 28 seconds left in the fourth quarter, but a missed free throw from Oppy and a Charger rebound allowed North Montgomery a chance to tie the game. The Chargers did just that, as Kade Kobel drew a foul with 11.7 seconds left and knocked down both free throws to send the game into overtime.
After both teams were unable to score for almost two minutes into the overtime period, Roach continued his efficient night from behind the arc and hit another three to give Southmont a 44-41 lead. After two free throws from Howard with just nine seconds left, North Montgomery’s Jaron Bradford hit his first three of the game to trim the deficit to 46-44. The Mounties’ Ryan Stanley was fouled and hit two free throws with 7.6 seconds left in overtime, bringing the score to 48-44 and sealing the victory for Southmont, even with another Bradford three at the buzzer for the Chargers.
“For Cole (Roach) to be just unconscious and hit that three, that was awesome,” Turner said. “And, for Ryan (Stanley) to step up their and hit those free throws was huge.”
Roach finished with 20 points on the night for Southmont, with 18 of those coming from behind the arc. Howard finished with 16 points for the Mounties in his first action of the season. Bradford led in points for North Montgomery, finishing with 14 points while also adding seven rebounds.
Southmont (1-4, 1-0 Sagamore Athletic Conference) is back home tonight when Cloverdale comes to town. North Montgomery (0-2, 0-1 SAC) will entertain Fountain Central at home tonight. Both evenings start with junior varsity at 6 p.m. with varsity to follow.