NEW MARKET — Danville girls basketball stands atop the Sagamore Conference this season and the Warriors came into Friday’s game against Southmont looking to remain perfect in SAC play. The Mounties showed fight against the Warriors and at one point in the second quarter trailed by only four at 14-10. Danville ended the quarter thought scoring the final eighth to lead 22-10 entering halftime. Trailing by as many as 14 in the final quarter, the Mounties cut it to eight at 39-31, but it was a case of too little too late as the Warriors hung on for a 45-35 win.
The 45 points by the Warriors were a season low as Southmont’s defense played it’s usual aggressive style to keep them in the game. In years past the Warriors have dominated Southmont so Mountie coach Dan Burkman was pleased with the fight that his team showed against the top team in the SAC.
“We talked the whole week about taking this game one quarter at a time,” Burkman said. “We played well enough tonight to keep us in the game in the final stretch. We ran into some foul trouble with Chloe and Layla but still managed to win the second half by two points. I’m proud of our girls and thought they did a great job.”
South’s defense forced Danville to turn the ball over 20 times and only make 2-13 (15%) of their three point attempts.
Like Burkman said both of his interior players in Chloe Jenkins and Layla Gomez battled foul trouble especially in the second quarter. That allowed the Warriors to crash the offensive glass and get second chance opportunities.
“It’s not that their just a tall team, they’re a big, physical, and strong team,” Burkman said of the Warriors. “It was a very physical game and people don’t realize how physical girls basketball can be at times. I was still proud of our girls for being able to match their level of physicality for the most part.”
Southmont (6-5, 0-2 SAC0 was led in scoring by DeLorean Mason’s 16 points. Claire Kessler came off the South bench to have a good game with six. Emily Link added five, Jenkins four, while both Gomez and Cheyenne Shaw scored two. The Mounties as a team shot 13-42 (31%) from the field but just 2-5 from three with Mason attempting all five. South shot 9-16 (56%) from the foul line and grabbed 34 rebounds while turning it over 23 times.
Danville (9-1, 3-0 SAC) was led in scoring by Emma Ancelet’s 13 points. Both Maddy Wethington and Addison Davis scored nine, Ava Walls five, and a trio of Warriors in Gabi Pigecella, Alexis Lynch, and Lucy Riggs all scoring three. From the floor Danville shot 14-39 (36%) from the field including as previously mentioned their 2-13 from three. They grabbed 35 rebounds along with their 20 turnovers.
While it will still go in the books as a loss, Burkman notes how he believes his team gained confidence from playing a tough team well for a full 32 minutes.
“I feel like we could have won the game if we did some things better especially in that second quarter,” Burkman said. “We could’ve shot a little better from the free-throw line but for the most part I believe the girls now believe they can compete well against a very good team. From there I think they gained a lot of confidence.”
Southmont will conclude the 2023 portion of their schedule next week with three games all on the road. Monday they’ll travel for an area showdown with Fountain Central (11-2) who has won seven straight games. The very next day on Tuesday they’ll take on 6-1 Bethesda Christian before having a Sugar Creek Classic re-match with Western Boone on Friday.
“I think there’s a chance for us to start little winning streak in these final three games before break,” Burkman said. “We’re going to have to play well in all three to come out on top. We won’t have a lot of days to prepare for any of those teams, but they’re all winnable games and hopefully our girls come ready to work.”