Sectional Preview

Mounties saving best basketball for post-season


The good old coaching cliche is that you want to be playing your best basketball for when it matters most. That saying is now a reality for Southmont girls basketball as the Mounties are now focused on the post-season and the Class 2A Sectional 44 which takes place at South Putnam. The 13-8 Mounties come in the post-season winners of five out of their last six and will get a chance at redeeming an earlier season loss when they take on the host  12-10 Eagles on Wednesday in game two.

It was back on Nov. 20 in the same exact gym where the Mounties fell 49-41, but this isn’t the same Mountie team and coach Dan Burkman knows it.

“I watched our game against them from back then and I didn’t recognize our team from where we are now,” Burkman said. “The girls were a little disappointed at the draw until I reminded them that we get a chance to avenge that loss. This last month we’ve been playing our style of basketball and have been able to pick up the tempo. I’ve also been more consistent with our rotations so we are now in just a real good groove all around.”

Back on the Nov. 20 loss was the fact that South committed 15 first-half turnovers but was able to even the game late at 40-40. A quick 8-0 spurt for the Eagles was able to secure the win late.

All season the Mounties have been led by senior guard DeLorean Mason who’s also playing the best basketball of her career in the final stages. Mason scored 28 points against Seeger, 31 vs Frankfort, 18 against Crawfordsville and 14 against Sheridan. Mason also averages 4.5 steals per game and is one of the leaders of the always aggressive Mountie defense. Burkman talked about how he’s seen the play of his senior rise to new heights.

“She’s really found her shot, and that’s the big difference in her game right now,” he said. “Since Christmas break I’ve seen her take her game to another level. When she’s able to hit some outside shots, it really opens up our entire offense. It frees up some driving lanes and allows our post players to go to work too. We need DeLo to continue to play like she has if we want to make a run.”

The winner between the Mounties and Eagles will have a tall task ahead of them as the prohibitive favorite 20-3 Parke Heritage Wolves await the winner in the semi-finals on Friday night. The Mounties were bested also by the Wolves this season but will be without the services of second leading scorer Raegan Ramsey. If the Mounties are to get South Putnam, Burkman looks forward to the challenge of the Wolves on a Friday night with a berth in the sectional title game at stake.

“It’ll be a Friday night atmosphere against a team who has only lost three times to bigger schools,” he said. “I’d like a re-match with them because not only will it test our girls but kind of like the South Putnam game, we just weren’t playing great then. It would make a for a great game on Friday with everything on the line.”

South’s senior class which includes the likes of Mason, Chloe Jenkins, Cheyenne Shaw, and Olivia Gray have seen plenty of success in their four years, but are still looking for their sectional title, as is Burkman with the Mounties. As a program the Mounties are in search of its first sectional title since 2013-14.

The action gets underway from South Putnam at roughly 7:30 on Wednesday. You can also catch a live broadcast of the game on 106.3 WCDQ.