NEW MARKET — Danville boys basketball no matter who they play year in and year out presents a challenging foe. Yet Southmont was more than ready to go to war with the No. 8, Class 3A Warriors on Friday night at Bob Tandy Gym. Danville swelled their lead to as many as 17 points but the Mounties not once folded. Trailing 34-20 mid-way through the third quarter, South used a 10-0 run to trim the Warrior lead to 34-30 before a buzzer-beating three by Zach Waits gave the Warriors a 37-30 advantage. In the final eight minute stanza, Southmont had the lead to as little as three mutliple times, but the Warriors made enough plays donw the stretch to hold off the Mounties for a 55-49 win.
“When we were successful tonight we were out running, moving the ball, and attacking,” Southmont coach Micahel Byrum said. “It didn’t matter what defense they were playing, that ball was moving quick and we were finding the open guys. We came into this game wanting to be physical and compete for a full 32 minutes and I thougtht we did that. We gave them some problems with our defense, but in close games like this one, a handful of plays are goingt to make the difference.”
A Carter Hubble bucket with 1:06 left cut the Warrior lead to 52-49. Eli Tricket made a pair of free-throws with 32.1 to extend the lead and then the dagger was a ball that bounced off of Hayden Hess’ foot which resulted in a turnover. Despite the loss Southmont gave the Warriors all they could handle and stayed the course and found themselves with a chance to win the game.
Aaron McMasters proved to be an unlikely hero for the Mounties in the game as he tied teammate Vince Reimondo for a game-high 13 points. Down the stretch of the fourth quarter, McMasters scored seven straight Southmont points. Hess ended with nine, Hubble eight, and Evan Watson six. Byrum noted how McMasters performance stood out.
“We gave ourselves a chance in this game and that’s what you want to do agaisnt better competition like a Danville,” he siad. “Aaron is a great athlete and we need him to unlease it. I think he’s still hesitant sometimes. with transitioning from football. He overthinks things a little too much but when he plays like that, he showed what a great player he can be for us.”
For the game Southmont (2-1, 0-1 SAC) went 20-39 (51.3%) from the floor. They were 6-14 (43%) from behind the three point arc but just 2-5 from the foul line. They grabbed 22 rebounds and did struggle with the turnover bug as they ended with 19 give-aways in the loss.
Danville (4-0, 1-0 SAC) was led in scoring as well by a pair of players. Seniors Owen Collier and Evan Lawrence both ended with 11 points. Lawrence who is committed to Indiana University for football showed why he’s relied on down low for coach Brian Barber. Danville ended the game with 33 rebounds and Lawrence had over half of them grabbing 17 boards (10 defensive 7 offensive). Other scorers for the Warriors were Jace Scrafton with nine, Lukas McMahon with eight, both Eli Tricker and Steven Webb four, and Camerson McMahon and Waits scored three.
For the gamw the Warriors shot 17-42 (40%) from the field and only made 2-7 attempts from th three point line. However what stood out in the game was Danville’s ability to get to the foul line. They went 17-29 from the charity stripe compared to just the 2-5 for the Mounties. Along with their 33 rebounds, Danville did struggle to hold on to the ball as well turning it over 17 times of their own.
Both teams return to action on Saturday night with the Warriors being back at home with a showdown with 4A Harrison who comes in 4-0. One team will walk out with their first loss of the season. Southmont will hit the road again when they take on the young, yet athletic GreencastleTiger Cubs (2-3) at the McAnally Center.
“They’re long and athletic and we’re going to have our hands full again,” Byrum said of the matchup with the Tiger Cubs. “It will be a great test for us to see how we are mentally to see if we can re-group.”