Boys Basketball

Mounties pull away in second half against Eagles


NEW MARKET —Both Southmont and South Putnam boys basketball are rounding third and heading into the home stretch of their seasons and both want to finish things strong as the two squared off at Southmont on Tuesday night. The Mounties coming in had dropped seven straight games while playing a grueling stretch of games in a short amount of time. The first half was a battle between the two evenly matched teams with the visiting Eagles leading 14-10 after a quarter, but the Mounties outscored South Put 12-5 in the second to take a 22-19 lead into half. In the second half it was all Mounties and Southmont for the first time since January 20, got in the win column with a 56-38 win.

A big reason for why the Mounties were able to pull away was their defense which once again was stout in the third. They held the Eagles to just seven points and got out and ran in transition to the tune of a 19-7 third quarter to lead 41-26 after three. South Putnam senior and leading scorer Drew Hill did not play in the second half due to a concussion. Hill had 15 points heading into the locker room and still managed to lead all scorers in the game.

Southmont (7-11) saw eight different players find the scoring column in the win led by Vince Reimondo’s 14 and Evan Watson’s 11.

“We stuck to our formula for success tonight,” Southmont coach Michael Byrum said. “Defense plus rebounding plus taking care of the basketball usually allows you to win most games and we did a great job of that tonight. Also we came out of the gate and played with a lot more energy than we have lately. The past couple of weeks we’ve played sort of flat but a big reason for that was us playing so many games in a short amount of time (seven games in 13 days). That stretch was tough on us but now we’re back to playing a normal schedule and looked like the team I know we can be.”

First-Year South Putnam coach Josh Estridge noted the obvious loss of Hill and how that changed the game.

“When they (Southmont) saw that Drew wasn’t playing in the second half, they got more confident,” Estridge said. “Southmont picked up the pressure on us and forced some turnovers which allowed them to get easy points in transition. Our guys in that third quarter didn’t play with that same confidence. Drew does a lot for us along with being our senior leader. We finally started to adjust late in the fourth quarter, but the game was already out of reach by that point.”

Along with Reimondo’s 14 and Watson’s 11, Hayden Hess scored nine in the Southmont win with Kyler McCandless adding eight. Austin Foley scored six, both Jacob Fox and Lucas Oppy three with Aaron McMasters scoring two. The Mounties shot 25-35 (51.1%) in the win from the floor and 4-15 (26.6%) from three and 6-16 (37.5%) from the foul line. Southmont grabbed 32 rebounds and turned it over 12 times, but just four times in the second half.

South Putnam (7-12)  had Wyatt Mullin chip in seven points to go along with Hill’s 15. Khalil Jefferson scored four, Ty Benton and Cameron Bozell each scored three while Blake Witt, Drew Cline, and Parker Harris all ended with two. The Eagles shot 16-44 (36.4%) in the loss and just 3-17 (17.6%) from deep and 3-8 (37.5%) from the free-throw line. South Putnam grabbed 27 rebounds and turned the ball over 16 times including 10 in the second half.

With both teams having just three games left in the regular season,  the Eagles will have to look upon some other players to step up if Hill is out for a few games.

“Some guys are going to have to play some new roles that they’re not used to playing,” Estridge said. “This team and these guys are certainly capable of doing that.”

South Putnam will be back at home Friday to host Owen Valley.

“We’re continuing to focus on getting better each and every day,” Byrum said of the final few games. “It comes down to getting our bodies and minds right and get ready for a tough Frankfort team.”

The Mounties will travel to Case Arena on Friday to conclude Sagamore Conference play against the Hot Dogs.