NEW MARKET — With nearly all of its scoring returning from a season ago, the Southmont girls’ basketball team has high expectations.
And with a new coach in Dan Burkman, the goals are much bigger than improving on their 13-10 record from 2019-20. The Mounties have sectional title hopes in mind, something they haven’t achieved since 2014.
“I believe 100% that we can win the sectional,” Burkman said when he was announced as the new coach in October. “I’ve researched it and looked at the other teams and I believe we can do it, but they’re going to have to stay positive even through some pretty rough periods here at the beginning.”
Southmont was blown out by Parke Heritage in the Class 2A Sectional semifinal at Cloverdale last winter after posting a 13-win regular season, including a win over the Wolves.
The Mounties return reigning Journal Review player of the year and senior Sidney Veatch, who averaged a double-double with 11.4 points per game and 10.7 rebounds last season. She is joined by seniors Addison Charles, who returns 8.2 points per game and Natalie Manion, who averaged 5.8 points a game. Belle Miller returns in the middle for the Mounties as a junior, averaging over eight points and seven rebounds a contest last season.
Southmont is already off to a slow start, having its first two contests postponed due to COVID-19, but will open the season at North Vermillion on Tuesday with a varsity only contest. Burkman expects a slow start to the season due to the circumstances established by the pandmeic and his late arrival as the new coach, but is confident they will be playing their best basketball down the stretch.
“I expect this season to have a slow start as we work through games and find good combinations that work,” he said.
Burkman expects sophomore Chelsea Veatch, juniors Hanna Nichols and Dori Frederick, and senior Marissa Craig to help round out the lineup.
While Southmont posted a winning record last season, the Mounties were just 3-4 in the Sagamore Conference with wins over Crawfordsville, Frankfort, and North Montgomery. Burkman hopes to improve that mark and expects their athleticism to get them there despite being weak at the point guard position.
“We don’t have what you would call a true point guard, and I think that’s going to be one of the biggest challenges,” he said. “but we have some very capable kids and if we can learn to play together and spread that responsebility out not just across one or two but several people I think we can be successful,”
Southmont averaged over 25 turnovers per game last season, averaging 46 points per contest and giving up the same to its opponents.
After the Mounties’ opener at North Vermillion, they will be idle until hosting the Sugar Creek Classic on Friday, Nov. 20 and Saturday, Nov. 21. Their home game with Fountain Central orginally scheduled for Thursday has been postponed.