Everything came together for Southmont boys basketball last season. A 19-7 overall record saw the Mounties win the a share of the Sagamore Conference title for the first time in school history and their first sectional title since 1994. That season is now behind them as South prepares now for a new season that sees the departure of it’s top two players from a season ago in Journal Review Player of the Year Avery Saunders and sharp-shooter Logan Oppy. Saunders averaged nearly 19 points a game and eight rebounds a season ago on 54% from the field. Oppy added another 13 a game and 40% from three.
Despite those two big losses, the Mounties return plenty of role players from last year’s squad led by senior big man Carson Chadd who scored nine points and grabbed seven rebounds a year ago. Other players such a Trip Ward, EJ Brewer, Kion Cornelius, and Carter Hubble also will be back for the Mounties as they look to continue their success from a year ago.
“When you lose only two guys that’s usually a good thing, it just hurts when it’s players like Logan and Avery,” Southmont coach Jake Turner said. “The guys we have back all have started for us for the most part so that experience that we bring back is nice to have. You add in guys like Kyler McCandless, Hayden Hess, Vince Reimondo, and Lucas Oppy from the JV, we feel like that those young guys are going to get some opportunities.”
Unfortunately for the Mounties Hubble is still recovering from off-season knee surgery and won’t return to until January according to Turner. A season ago the Mounties gave up only 43 points per game. Turner prides his teams on that side of the ball and knows that while the team figures out the offensive side, they can still rely on playing hard-nosed physicla defense.
“We’ve created a culture here of if you want to play, you have to be able to defend,” Turner said. “It’s easier to win games when you’re able to defend and can get continuous stops.If you’re able to score along with playing defense at a high level like we did last year, then we saw that we could pull away from some teams. If we embody that mentality again this year and taking defense seriously and sharing the ball on offense, then we’ll be a solid team can play with anybody.”
The Mounties open up their 2022-23 season on Tuesday with a trip to North Putnam, a team they defeated last year in the sectional semi-finals. It’ll be a girl/boy double-header that evening with the boys taking the court at around 7:30.
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