NEW MARKET — This is the team that Southmont girls basketball coach Dan Burkman has been waiting to see. Monday evening after a disappointing Sugar Creek Classic championship loss to Western Boone, Southmont was back in action as they welcomed sectional foe South Putnam. From the opening tip it was all Mounties as they were firing on all cylinders and cruised to a 53-32 win over the Eagles. The 53 points are a season high for the Mounties.
South scored 19 points in the second quarter after leading 8-4 after the first eight minutes to take a 27-13 lead into the locker room. The second half saw the Mounties score 14 and 12 points respectively in the final 16 minutes as it was an all-around complete game.
“This is who we are and I was very happy tonight especially with how we ran in transition,” Burkman said. “We made good decision in the open court and just took what they gave us. If we didn’t score in transition we were more patient and were able to find a good shot. They just have to be reminded sometimes of how well they can play and I’m happy with everyone.”
South shot 23-51 (45%) from the field and forced 28 Eagle turnovers. DeLorean Mason led all scorers in the game with 17 points and dished out many assists to her open teammates. Chloe Jenkins notched another double-double with 15 points and 12 rebounds. Chelsea Veatch scored nine, Saylor Woods six, Olivia Gray four, and Cheyenne Shaw rounded out the scoring with two.
Burkman made sure to compliment the play of Mason who is asked to do a lot for the Mounties, yet takes that role in stride.
“She’s a special player,” Burkman said of the junior. “Often she hears the things that she doesn’t do well from me, but she knows that I appreciate the way she plays.”
The Eagles were without two of their starting guards in Danae Cline and Chlara Pistelli due to injury and that forced some other girls into different roles according to head coach Brian Gardner.
“When those two girls are out it puts other girls positions that they’re not accustomed to,” Gardner said. “You do have to give them (Southmont) credit for how the played their zone defense tonight. I thought we were very passive against it and that caused some of those turnovers. I thought there were times where we did some good things against it, but when you get behind by that much it’s hard to come back. Defensively we didn’t have a lot of energy and effort and with a young team sometimes you have to figure out that maturity level and ways to have that energy and effort when you’re tired.”
Lexi Phillips led the Eagles in the scoring column with 10 points. Ariel Dooley ended the night with eight, Kelsey Custis had four, both Madison Gardner and Lilah Holderfield three while Lillian Emmerich and Joscelyn Pilcher both had two.
The Eagles and Mounties are potential sectional foes and Gardner knows that along with having his two starting guards back, the rest of his team can use this as a learning experience if the two teams were to meet up in the Class 2A Sectional 44 tournament.
“That’s the number one thing about tonight is using this and learning from it,” Gardner said. “Some of these girls got that experience of playing in spots they normally don’t and that will pay off down the road.”
South Putnam falls to 3-4 on the season with the loss and they will get eight days off before returning to action next Tuesday when they host Crawfordsville.
The Mounties with the win improve to 4-4 on the year and they will be right back on the court Tuesday when they travel to North Putnam (5-2) for a girl/boy double-header.
“They’re always a scrappy team to play,” Burkman said of the Cougars. “We’ll be prepared and I’m real confident in our girls, especially if they come out with the intensity that they played with tonight.”
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