LINDEN - North Montgomery’s girls basketball team is headed for the championship game of Sugar Creek Classic after holding on for a 32-29 win over Crawfordsville in the second semifinal.
The Chargers will take on Southmont in the title game, after the Mounties dispatched the defending champion Stars of Western Boone.
North moves to 4-2 with the win, while the Athenians fall to 0-5.
It was a back-and-forth contest, and the Chargers had to withstand an Athenians comeback attempt in the fourth quarter, as a 30-21 North lead evaporated until it was 30-29 with 2:33 left.
Single free throws made my Piper Ramey and Macee Norman in the last minute, plus some defense applied on the other end of the floor, set the final score and sends the Chargers looking for their first Sugar Creek Class championship in this the 17th year of the event
“We tried to give it away there,” said North coach Ryan Nuppnau, “but we found a way to stay calm enough at the end and land a couple of free throws. Crawfordsville made some defensive adjustments in that fourth quarter and their press caused us some problems. It’s something we need to address, because Southmont will press us all over tomorrow.”
That nine-point lead resulted from a very good third quarter for North, as they broke open a 19-19 halftime score with a couple late buckets and limiting the Athenians to two points in the stanza. Ramey and Norman were at the front of the line again, scoring eight of the nine points for the Chargers.
Crawfordsville never backed down, however, and had multiple possessions late but could not hit a bucket to tie or take a lead. They finished shooting 10-of-44 from the field and didn’t hit a three in the second half.
“Every single person on this team played with flat-out energy tonight,” noted C’ville coach Joe Ferguson. “Everyone played so hard for every minute they were in. This was certainly our best effort of the season. The rivalry makes that energy easy to find, and now we need to come back tomorrow night with this same type of energy. Our defense was good all night, and I really like how we turned up the pressure in the fourth quarter. We decided to speed North up a bit, and it paid off. We attacked the basket well all night offensively and we had a lot of players who were looking to score or get a good look or shot. I like the way we didn’t shy away from some contact and played aggressively.”
The Athenians were led in scoring by Addison Hodges and Yuli Torres with six each. Hodges dropped a couple treys and Torres spent her night rolling off picks heading to the rim. “Torres is like a magician,” Ferguson said of the sophomore. “How she gets from the three-point line to the rim is a feat sometimes.”
Olivia Hedrick was the leading rebounder for C’ville with six, as North won the rebound battle 45-28.
The Chargers were led in scoring by Ramey with 14, and Norman, with nine. Norman had 14 rebounds while Ramey had eight, to go with three blocks, four steals and three assists.
“When you have a player like Piper,” Nuppnau said, “as a teammate, you want to on the floor with her, and we are working on getting more confidence in our shots. We run the offense through her, and when we can get some easy outside shots to fall, it will make her even better. We had some good looks and easy shots tonight that didn’t fall, and we need to continue working on that. We have to be strong with the ball, because South will sure be trying to take it away tomorrow. They are so quick and their 2-3 zone is really good. We have to play well in the middle and take care of the ball. It will be a big challenge, but we are really looking forward to it.”
The Chargers were 11-of-33 from the field, hit their first two three-pointers and missed the next seven, and were 8-of-19 from the line.
The consolation game starts at 6, featuring Crawfordsville and Western Boone. The championship game will start around 7:30.