VEEDERSBURG — A new boys basketball season got underway at Fountain Central on Tuesday when the North Montgomery Chargers battled the Fountain Central Mustangs at Dave Sanders Court. Foul trouble was the name of the game for the Mustangs and it plagued them in a very big way and the visiting Chargers were able to take full advantage. Isaac Gayler picked up two quick fouls in the third quarter to have four for the game. Gayler made his way back in and made the score 46-44 with just 1:29 left keeping FC in it. Fast forward to 10 seconds left and Charger senior Ross Dyson was at the free-throw line looking to seal the game. Instead he missed both giving FC a chance, but a broken play resulted in the Mustangs not getting a good look and North Montgomery walked away with a season-opening 46-44 win over FC.
The Mustangs jumped out to a 21-9 lead at the beginning of the second quarter, but the wheels fell off. What resulted was the Chargers going on a 14-0 run highlighted by three straight Jarrod Kirsch steals and scores. In the final two quarters neither team could gain much of an advantage but the Chargers held serve and continued to play with the lead.
“Our guys simply didn’t quit tonight,” Charger coach Chad Arnold said. “We have a lot of seniors on this team and a lot of guys who have played a lot of basketball. Jarrod had a huge stretch with those three steals and scores and we stuck to our box and one defense and I think we frustrated them a little bit and got them out of what they wanted to do.”
Kelby Harwood and Kirsch led the Chargers with 15 points each while Noah Hopkins crashed the offensive glass all night (six offensive rebounds) and ended with eight points.
For the Mustangs that foul trouble saw some players who Coach Greg Dean didn’t think might have to see the floor as much as they did. Freshman Ely Foxworthy and Rylan Mayotte both saw extended minutes. He noted how this game can only be used a learning experience for his team as there’s still a very long season ahead.
“We’re going to get better from this game and our defense will find ways to guard without fouling,” Dean said. “We had guys in some positions they’ve never been in before. This team is a interesting mix of experience and youth. Some of those guys were getting their first varsity minutes and all of a sudden they got thrust into a very intense basketball game. Hopefully we can take these situations ans use it to get better.”
The Mustangs (0-1) were led in scoring by Gayler’s 17 points. Will Harmon scored 15. FC for the game shot 16-33 (48%) and 7-22 (32%) from three point range. They did turn the ball over 17 times.
North Montgomery (1-0) shot 19-37 (51%) from the floor and 2-9 from three. They were 8-17 (47%) from the foul line, grabbed 24 rebounds and turned it over 11 times.
In year’s past, the Chargers have primarily been a heavy three-point shooting team. Arnold mentioned how this season his team is looking to drive the ball into the paint and play more of an inside-out style of basketball.
“We want to live in there a lot more than we have been in previous years,” he said. “This is a very good win for our guys but there’s still things we have to get better at. We had a lot of guys who made plays left and right for us. Kelby and Jarrod both played great, Ross played great down low, and Noah Hopkins grabbed rebounds left and right for us. Corbin Meadows is out playing for us for the first time since 6th grade so there’s a lot of guys on this team who can play well and it’s going to be exciting to see how they just continue to get better.”
Dean while rounding out his comments did compliment Arnold and the Chargers for a well-played physical game.
“I thought they used their physicality better than us tonight and they’re also fast and athletic,” Dean said of the Chargers. “They have a lot of guys who know their roles and Coach Arnold does a great job getting them ready to play,”