County Boys Basketball

Mounties claim county title in OT thriller


NEW MARKET ­— There’s another thrilling chapter in the Crawfordsville Southmont boys basketball rivalry. After winning the Sugar Creek Classic against the Mounties just a few weeks earlier, Crawfordsville traveled to Southmont with the winner claiming the county title. What transpired was a game that Athenian and Mountie fans will remember for quite sometime. An Ethan McLemore three with just 1.8 seconds to go forced overtime with the two county rivals even at 47-47. In the four-minute overtime no team gained an advantage. Down 54-53 with the final possession and chance to win the game, Crawfordsville’s Mason McCarty couldn’t get the mid-range jumper to fall and Alec Saidian got the o-board, found Jordan Shrout open in the corner for three but as time expired Shrout’s jumper also fell short and the Mountie fans erupted as Southmont were crowned county champs.

“Right after halftime I wrote on our board 16 minutes of toughness,” Southmont coach Michael Byrum said. “We knew whoever was the more mentally tougher team was going to win.  It ended up being 20 minutes of toughness from our guys. We had a small slip up on that final possession that gave them that three and kudos to them for making it. I’m just so proud of our kids though because we’ve faced so much adversity in this game and throughout the season already, but we’re sticking together and showed that we’re getting much more tougher mentally.”

With Crawfordsville giving the attention to South’s top scorers in Hayden Hess and Vince Reimondo, it forced another Mountie to step up. Insert junior Aaron McMasters. McMasters shined in the Mountie win scoring 21 points on 6-8 from the floor and going 9-14 from the foul line. McMasters used his size and athleticism to get to the rim almost at will and when his team needed him most, McMasters answered the call.

“We have a lot of size out there and I knew that I ‘d probably have a favorable matchup,” McMasters said of his performance. “Hayden and Vince taking away those perimeter guys allowed me to be able to do my thing and I felt loose tonight. Coach Byrum was just telling us to take overtime as another quarter so the moment really wasn’t too big for us.”

Along with McMasters 21 points, Hess added in 14, Reimondo six, Kyler McCandless and Lucas Oppy four with both Evan Watson and Austin Foley having two. The Mounties as a team shot 17-33 (51%) from the floor, 2-5 (40%) from three and what was a big reason for the Southmont win was them going 17-29 (59%) from the foul line. They grabbed 24 rebounds while turning the ball over 15 times.

The Athenians battled foul trouble all night long and a crucial point in the OT period came when McLemore picked up his fifth foul. Kaden Patton had already fouled out of the game in the fourth quarter so CHS was down a pair of starters in crunch time.

Crawfordsville (6-5, 2-1 SAC) was led by McLemore’s 15 points in the loss. Drake Burris added 11, Tyson Fuller 10, Alec Saidian eight, McCarty four, Patton three, and Shrout two. CHS shot 22-54 (41%) from the field in the loss and 6-19 (32%) from three. What killed the Athenians was going just 3-12 (25%) from the foul line. Cville grabbed 22 rebounds and turned the ball over nine times.

“We missed some bunnies at the rim we normally make,” Crawfordsville coach David Pierce said. “I’m not upset with how we played, the only thing is I’m upset with is us going 3-12 from the foul line.  When you miss those shots at the rim and at the line that’s what it comes down to in a one point overtime game like this. You can’t do things like that in a normal game especially on the road. I have to give McMasters kudos for having the game he did. He’s a junior that stepped up and that’s what you need in games like this.”

Byrum was also very complimentary of his senior. Southmont (6-4, 2-2 SAC) treats every game like a championship and that mentality that Byrum has instilled paid off as the Mounties earned a championship on Saturday.

“It’s the old cliche of having the next man up,” Byrum added. “Aaron was able to exploit some of things with his physicality and we thought we could take advantage of some of those guys. We have a countdown in a our lockeroom until the sectional starts and we have to peaking by then. This team treats most of our games like a championship and now we have one of our championships and are looking for more.”

Southmont with the win continued the trend in the Cville/South rivalry with the Sugar Creek Classic championship loser getting revenge in the county title game.

Crawfordsville will be back in action at home on Friday when they host Frankfort. South will have a very busy three-game week as Tuesday they’ll host North Putnam, Friday host Lebanon, and Saturday travel to Covington.