Western Boone has dominated the Girls Sugar Creek Classic. The Stars have won 11 of the 12 tournaments, and the last 10 in a row.
And the three Montgomery County teams are ready to put an end to Western Boone’s reign.
“Any time you can go win a tournament, it’s a big deal,” North Montgomery coach Ryan Nuppnau said. “When you add your two local rivals and a conference rival like WeBo, winning it would be a big accomplishment. I think the Classic is more open than in the past. WeBo graduated their best player, but they are still very good. We get the first chance to knock off the defending champs.”
The Chargers enter Thursday night’s Sugar Creek Classic at North Montgomery sponsored by Franciscan Health second semi-final against Western Boone on a three-game winning streak, and matched their win total from a season ago with a 51-34 win at Frankfort on Tuesday night. Western Boone enters the Classic with a 1-2 record, and still trying to find their identity without leading scorer Madison Jones, who is now at Davenport University, and led the Stars to a sectional championship a season ago.
North is hoping to ride their momentum from a Sagamore Conference win into the tournament, and get a good feel for how much they have improved from last season.
“The Classic is a great chance early in the season to see where we are,” Nuppnau said. “And playing against rivals and conference opponents is another big opportunity.”
In the first semi-final, Crawfordsville and Southmont will square off for the first time this season. The two county rivals met on the hardwood three times last year – with the Athenians winning twice, including a 59-51 win in the Sugar Creek Classic last year. Crawfordsville fell in the championship to Western Boone 60-27, while the Mounties beat North Montgomery 46-28 in the consolation game.
First-year Athenian coach Tyler Smith is excited to experience the Classic.
“We are excited about seeing where we are, and love having a county rival in the first round,” he said. “The atmosphere should be exciting, and the girls will be ready to battle a county opponent.”
Crawfordsville picked up their first victory of the season on Tuesday with a 53-43 win at Fountain Central, while Southmont enters at 2-1, and with something to prove following a pair of losses to the Athenians last season.
“Our mindset this whole season is to “Be Better” in everything we do,” Southmont coach Dustin Oakley said. “How we practice, prepare, and execute our game plans. We have to be better defensively than we were last year against Cville. We didn’t take pride in our defense and we made a lot of mental mistakes throughout last season. We have made some adjustments and I think our girls are confident going into Thursday’s game.”
The Athenians have struggled defensively on the inside, allowing 27 points against Fountain Central’s post players — an area where the Mounties have a strength.
“I would expect Southmont to try to do the same thing,” Smith said. “We did a good job defending that early in the game (against Fountain Central) and at the very end and that’s the way we will need to play the entire game against them.”
Southmont’s pair of post players in Sidney Veatch and Belle Miller are averaging a combined 15.7 points per game.
Oakley says the chance at winning the classic relies on his team bringing energy, and excitement for the school and community, and it starts with a complete team effort.
“Team defense and a complete team effort is what it will take to win the Sugar Creek Classic,” he said. “I would like to see us shoot the ball around 35-40%, limit our turnovers, and knock down some free throws when we get those opportunities.”
The semi-final games will be played on Thursday night, with the consolation and championship to be played on Saturday beginning at 6 p.m. to accommodate Western Boone’s football team playing in the semi-state on Friday night.