MONTEZUMA – Southmont’s girls basketball team got their first New Year resolution with a 39-30 win at Riverton Parke.
The win moves the Mounties to 7-8 on the season, while the Panthers drop to 4-8.
Defense was the key for South in the win.
“Our defense carried us,” South coach Dan Burkman said. “We played pretty well, especially on the defensive end. We just couldn’t get some shots to fall. We ran our offense well, got good looks, but some of them just wouldn’t go in.”
The Mounties used their defense to limit the home squad to only 10 field goals and keep them under 25 percent from the field.
That defense accounted for 15 steals, led by six from DeLorean Mason. In all, they forced 30 RP turnovers.
The steals also gave South an opportunity to accelerate the tempo, which played to their favor.
“We didn’t come in looking to push the ball.” Burkman noted, “but the steals gave us a chance to get into our transition game, and that was to our favor.”
The Mounties trailed only once at 2-0, but the Panthers were never far away. It was a two-point game at the first break, five at halftime and 10 at the end of three.
“Southmont was more aggressive with their press than we have seen,” Panthers y Jared Garman said. “That bothered us some early. Southmont moves the ball well and their defense is quick. We played pretty well, but that and foul trouble for our two best players was the difference.”
Riverton Parke leading scorers Macey Barnes and Bailey Duke were both held four points under their season averages, and both spent time on the bench with foul issues.
That opened the game for Southmont’s offense, and while not shooting all that well, found the range on enough to post the win.
Mason led the way with 18 points, including a 7-of-9 night at the line.
Chloe Jenkins mopped up 17 missed shots to go with her four points, two blocks and two steals. Overall, South was 13-of-46 from the field, 1-of-16 from three-point range, and 12-of-23 from the line. They won the rebound battle 44-40 and had 25 turnovers.
Duke led the scoring for RP with 10 points, and finished her double-double with 18 rebounds. Mathes finished with six points before fouling out midway through the final quarter.
The Panthers were 10-of-41 from the field, 1-of-9 from long range and 9-of-19 from the line.
It’s good to open the year with a win,” Burkman said. “As in the first part of the season, our defense will carry us, which I love. We are quick to the ball, and into the passing lanes. If it wasn’t for the cold shooting, we had a pretty good night. I also want to note the really good night for Saylor Woods. She did a good job all around. She got a bucket, a couple rebounds, and played really good defense. She and Cheyenne Shaw are what makes our team strong – everyone knows and plays their roles.”
Both coaches were optimistic and even used the same terms about the rest of the season.
“We have a lot of winnable games left,” Garman said. “We have a lot of games to go, but this young team has played some really good teams tough already and it would be fun to play Southmont again in the sectional.’
The Panthers are back in WRC action Thursday with a game against North Vermillion.
The Mounties head to North Montgomery Thursday as they look to try and win the county.
“We have winnable games left,” Burkman said. “Obviously, it’s one at a time, starting with North Montgomery on Thursday. We just need to keep playing good defense, limit teams to 30 points like we have been doing, and then just get some shots to fall.”