Girls Basketball Sectional

Mounties punch ticket to semi-finals


GREENCASTLE — Teams know when they play Southmont girls basketball that they’re going to have t find a way to limit their turnovers due to the Mounties harassing style of defense. Wednesday in the Class 2A Sectional 44 opener South got a re-match with host South Putnam and from the opening tip, the Eagles couldn’t handle the Mountie pressure, committing 11 turnovers in the first eight minutes and in the end Southmont was able to get redemption with a 45-35 win in its sectional opener.

In the game Southmont (14-8) forced 29 Eagle turnovers while doing a good job of handling the ball themselves and giving it away 14 times. The Mounties controlled the game and despite the Eagles best efforts to claw their way back multiple times, South had an answer and was able to keep the hosts at bay.

“I have to give our girls a lot of credit for how we began the game defensively,” Southmont coach Dan Burkman said. “It seemed like there was a 3-4 minute stretch where we didn’t let the ball get across half court. We changed the way we wanted to execute our man press specifically for South Put. I couldn’t have asked for a better start and we controlled the game because of that from the get go.”

Leading the Mountie defense as she has all season was senior DeLorean Mason. Mason led all scorers in the game with 17 points and wrecked havoc with a plethora of steals. Freshman Layla Gomez added 10 for the Mounties in the win with Emily Link scoring seven, Chloe Jenkins six, Claire Kessler and Cheyenne Shaw two and Molly Williams one. For the night because of their defense forcing turnovers left and right, that allowed South to have a lot of shot opportunities. For the game the Mounties went 17-57 (30%) from the floor and 2-12 (16.7%) from three while also going 9-22 (41%) from the charity stripe. Another reason for the high amount of shot attempts was South grabbing 40 rebounds (23 offensive).

“Our girls get after it on the glass,” Burkman said. “It’s not just our bigs, but all of  our guards know to crash the glass. I really don’t have to put an emphasis on it, they just go out and do it. I was also very happy with our freshman who got to see what a post-season was like. They all played awesome. Layla is going to Layla things and be a reliable scorer and grab rebounds. It was a really good experience for all of those freshman (Emily Link, Molly Williams, and Claire Kessler) who also got in.”

South Putnam ends their season with a record of 12-11. The Eagles were led in scoring by both Danae Cline and Chlara Pistelli who both scored nine. Emelia Wells scored seven, Drew Gardner six, and both Lyla Rissler and Madison Gardner chipped in two. For the game the Eagles shot 10-34 (29%) from the field in the season-ending loss including 4-17 (23.5%) from three and 11-18 (61%) from the foul line. They grabbed 33 rebounds to go along with those 29 turnovers.

With the win the Mounties continue their best season under Burkman and will once again square off against a team that’s been a thorn in their side, especially in the post-season in the Parke Heritage Wolves who defeated Cloverdale 53-14 in game one on Wednesday. The Wolves are 6-1 against the Mounties overall since consolidation and that includes a 2-0 record in the post-season. Back on Nov. 28 the Wolves brought home a 62-33 win over the Mounties. However the Wolves will be without the services of their second leading scorer Raegan Ramsey who tore her ACL in the final weeks of the regular season. Southmont will still have to contain superstar junior Emma Simpson who averages 20 points and 10 rebounds per game for the Wolves.

“It starts with her,” Burkman said of guarding Simpson. “We did a pretty good job of guarding them the first time, but just turned the ball over way too much. If we can keep Simpson in check and not turn the ball over I think we’ll be in good shape.”

The Wolves and Mounties square off in the second semi-final back at South Putnam on Friday. Greencastle and Riverton Parke get things underway at 6 p.m. You can catch a live broadcast of the game on 1063. WCDQ as the Mounties look to punch their ticket to a sectional championship game.