ROCKVILLE – At the end of the conversation, both coaches had zeroed in on the baseline of a Parke Heritage 62-33 girls basketball win over Southmont.
“Their experience,” Mounties coach Dan Burkman said. “They zeroed in on our younger and inexperienced players and took advantage.”
“We have everyone back from a 20-win team,” Wolves coach Mark Harper said, “We took some of their tools away, played well defensively the last three quarters, and took advantage of the turnovers.”
The 34 Southmont turnovers and the 29 points that PH scored after forcing the miscues are the heart and soul of the game.
The Mounties faced non-stop pressure from the PH guards, and while they didn’t turn the ball over in the back court, they found the passing lanes in their offense filled with white shirts, which happened to be the wrong ones to pass to.
“Obviously the turnovers killed us,” Burkman said. “We took pretty good care of the ball in the first quarter, but so many of the turnovers became transition points, and that was too big a hole to dig out of.”
The Wolves used three turnover buckets in the last minute of the first quarter to jump-start things, as they went from down five to up one at the end of that first period.
A 12-0 run by the home team capped off the second quarter, as they held South without a field goal and took the ball away a dozen times.
“Every single defensive player has to take their defensive assignment to heart,” Harper said. “When that happened, we started taking the ball away. Southmont does a great job with their east/west game. They do well with their back cuts and back-door screens. We took some of that away.”
The scoring on the break after takeaways drove the Wolves percentages up, as they finished one shot under 50 percent (23-of-48). They were led by Emma Simpson with 16 points, but the junior, averaging 18.2 coming in, had to work for her shots, and was the focus of the Mounties box-and-one defensive scheme. Her six rebounds were also team-high, but four under her average, as South won the rebound battle 36-28.
Regan Ramsey with 15 and Cate O’Brien with 13 were both well above their averages, as they were first to the bucket several times on turnover breaks.
“Southmont is where we were a couple years ago,” the Wolves coach noted of the number of Mounties freshmen playing roles on the varsity. “They executed well, and they will learn.”
Burkman was also aware of his youthful bunch, and also of the fact that the two teams can meet up in the sectionals.
“We also just had nothing fall for us “ Burkman said. “This is a tough place to play. (Parke Heritage) played aggressively, and we need to be able to handle that. We will watch this video a lot and take a lot from it. The biggest issue right now is finding some consistency from most of our players. Taking care of the basketball is issue one – we get some flow from our offense when we can get into it. We played hard, we just have to get better.”
South was led in scoring by Chloe Jenkins with six points. The senior also had five rebounds. DeLorean Mason added five points and five boards, to go with five steals. Olivia Gray had five points.
The Mounties were 11-of-40 from the field, missed all four three-pointers and were 11-of-16 from the line.
The Wolves, with a season-opening win over North Montgomery, will be at Crawfordsville on Dec. 7. They are at Cascade Thursday.
The Mounties have a home game with Attica Thursday.
South won an exciting JV game 36-35, holding on for the win as a PH shot at the buzzer missed. Kenzie Douglas led South with 10 points, and Charlotte Garver had seven.