Boys. Basketball Sectional

Cougars edge Mounties by single point in sectional semis


GREENCASTLE ­— Southmont boys basketball showed its true fight and determination on Friday night as the Mounties opened up the Class 2A Sectional 44 Tournament at Greencastle against the North Putnam Cougars. Trailing by as many as 14 points at 34-20 right before halftime, the Mounties surged in the second half and with 6:29 to go in the fourth took their first lead since the first quarter with a Vince Reimondo three at 44-42. The two teams traded baskets left and right in what was a thriller at McAnally Center. When the final horn sounded it was the Cougars who came away with the narrowest of narrow victories in a 57-56 win as Southmont’s season and heroic comeback fell a single point short.

Southmont (9-13) began the game leading 6-2 before North Putnam used a 16-2 run to lead 18-8 after a quarter. The Cougars continued to take advantage of Southmont turnovers and got red hot from three in the second with Nolan Augusta drilling three threes in the second and scored all nine of his points. A put-back by 6’6 sophomore Isaac Pickel at the end of the third quarter gave North Putnam a 42-38 lead.

What might be described as the turning point of the final quarter came with just a little over two minutes to go with South up 51-48. Carter Hubble blocked Pickel’s shot from behind and Aaron McMasters in his attempt to save the ball from going out of bounds, threw it straight into the hands of Kaden Helderman for the Cougars who stepped into and buried the game-tying three. That sparked a mini 7-0 spurt for North Putnam who thanks to a few misses by the Mounties at the free-throw line were able to hold on.

“Our slogan this season has been all in,” Southmont coach Michael Byrum said. “You saw that slogan on full display tonight and I was so proud of our resiliency and effort in that second half. They’re always going to fight and compete and that’s what matters the most is those boys didn’t give up,.”

The big time Southmont run was sparked mainly by junior sharpshooter Vince Reimondo. After the Cougars used a box-and-one style defense on the junior for most of the first half and held him scoreless, Reimondo caught fire in the biggest way scoring 11 of his 16 points in the third quarter. The intensity turned up also thanks to Southmont’s defensive pressure. As it has all season long, the Mountie defense created some of it’s offense.

“When we guard people like that, our offense feeds off that defense,” Byrum said. “We had to remind them of that in the lockeroom at halftime that getting back in this game started on the defensive end. I also told them to let it fly on offense because guys like Vince and Hayden and others are capable of scoring quickly. They were a little too worried about missing some open looks in that first half too.”

For the game Along with Reimondo’s game-high 16 points, Hayden Hess scored 13 with both Evan Watson and Austin Foley scoring nine. McMasters chipped in seven with Hubble, who made his first appearance since Jan. 5, ended with two. The Mounties as a team shot 19-44 (43%) from the field and 7-16 (43.75%) from three. They made 11-15 (73%) of their free-throws while grabbing 28 rebounds and turning the ball over 15 times.

North Putnam (16-9) was led in scoring by Pickel’s 12 points. Helderman scored 11, seven under his season average of 18.3. Nolan Hackleman also added 11 with Augusta scoring nine, both Brady Barber and Jaylen Windmiller five and Matthew Farrington rounded out the scoring with four for the Cougars. For the game they shot right at 50% going 22-44 from the field and 7-15 (46.7%) from three. They did struggle mightily at the foul line going just 6-18 (33.3%) while grabbing 26 rebounds and turning the ball over nine times.

Southmont says goodbye to five seniors and two student managers as Jacob Fox, Kyler McCandless, Dawson Mason, Hess and Hubble all played in the final game of their Mountie careers. Logan Link and Austin Simpson are also the two senior managers for South. Byrum made sure to give those seniors a well deserved tribute after their season and careers came to and end.

“All seven of those guys are great people first and foremost,” Byrum said of the seven total seniors. “It’s always difficult losing a group like that because they’ve meant so much in my first year. We’re going to have a team meeting Monday to wrap this season up and those seven are going to get a well deserved appreciation from the rest of our players and coaching staff.”

North Putnam advances to play Parke Heritage in Saturday’s championship game which is scheduled for a 7 p.m. tip. The Wolves are the defending sectional champions and are looking for their fourth title in six seasons since consolidation.