Girls Basketball Sectional

Chargers season comes to an end at sectional


MONTICELLO – The season came to an end for the North Montgomery girls basketball team with a 61-19 first-round sectional loss to Benton Central.

The loss in the 3A Sectional 22 tournament ends the Chargers season at 9-15, while the Bison move into semifinal action on Friday with a 23-3 record.

The tournament nearly didn’t get started, as a power outage in Monticello darkened things early in the evening. The school and much of the city were without power.

In fact, the North girls, scheduled to play the second game of the night, had gotten back on their bus, as officials were in the process of postponing the night.

“We were on the bus, and were just about ready to leave, when we saw the lights come on,” Chargers coach Ryan Nuppnau said. “I said let’s just wait a minute more, and sure enough, they called me and said to come back. We were glad for that, because we didn’t want to have to make another hour-long trip back (on Thursday) for a reschedule.”

As it was, the power outage was a bit of a precursor for the Chargers, who ran into a Benton Central team that was locked and loaded.

It went badly from the start for North, as turnovers told the story of the start, and the rest of, the first half.

The Bison scored 19 of their 21 first-quarter points off turnovers, and that trend continued into the second, as BC had 44 points at the half, with 37 coming off turnovers.

“Benton Central is big, quick and very athletic,” Nuppnau said. “They made a lot of things happen. This whole sectional might be the toughest one in the state.”

With all the turnovers, the North offense had little operating time. When they did, there was a good shot, but few fell. They played good defense when they weren’t chasing the Bison after a turnover.

Piper Ramey finished with six points to lead North’s scoring, while Madysen Holt, Blair Nichols, and Krestyn Bradford each had three points. Ramey finished with a game-best 11 rebounds.

“We broke the press a few times, and did a good job with our offense,” Nuppnau said. “Piper did a great job passing the ball (she had three assists) and got some good looks. I was really happy that she looked to shoot more. That is one of our jobs going into next season. We also attacked the basket well when we had the chance.”

The Bison were led in scoring by Rachel Tolen. The senior had 18, five better than her average. Avery Hardebeck had 13, eight over her average.

BC was 24-of-54 from the field and 9-of-17 from long range. Both teams struggled from the line, and North won the rebound battle 35-35. The Bison had only eight turnovers to the Chargers 29.

It took no time after the game to start looking forward for North, after a five-win improvement over last season, and with not a senior on the roster.

“We do return everyone,” Nuppnau said, “and our offseason will concentrate on getting lots more and lots better shots, but we also have other work to do. We have to get everyone to realize how much potential there is in this team, and we have work to do on individual skills. There is work to be done in the weight room-we need to get stronger as the younger girls mature physically. How much better can it get though when we are going to shoot and shoot and shoot. That’s what Indiana basketball is all about! This was such a fun group of players to work with, and I enjoyed working with this team and these girls so much. They get along so well, and have become close. It’s sad to see the season come to an end, but we have high hopes for the future.”

The coach also pointed to a specific offseason program.

“We have a Summer Challenge,” the coach noted, “and I would love to see all the girls complete the Challenge in the offseason. The only player to complete it last offseason was Adley Royer, who is a third-grader, so I’m hoping the entire team will rise to that challenge. We want to be able to hold our heads high after every game, knowing that we gave our best for the entire game. That’s all we can ask for. It’s an individual answer, and one we want to be proud of next season.”

Benton Central will take on Twin Lakes in the second semifinal game on Friday, after West Lafayette and Rensselaer Central play.

The four teams have a combined record of 74-22.