VEEDERSBURG — It was the second night of a back to back for both North Montgomery and Fountain Central on Saturday as the Chargers made the short trip to Veedersburg in what was the home opener for the Mustangs. Both teams came out of the gate rusty as the first points of the game wouldn’t be scored until the four-minute mark of the first quarter. The defense continued to prevail for both teams as at halftime North Montgomery held a 19-17 advantage. In the second half, it was Fountain Central who caught fire, outscoring North Montgomery 36-22 to pull away and be able to cruise to a 55-39 win.
The Chargers who fall to 0-3 (0-1 SAC), were in a very similar situation on Friday night against county rival Southmont. A very close game at halftime, but the Mounties pulled away just like the Mustangs did on Saturday.
“It’s a mental game with us right now,” North Montgomery coach Chad Arnold said. “Credit Fountain Central, they got real hot in the third quarter and were hitting shots with hands in their face. On the other side we went cold and missed some easy shots. The good thing is we’re getting great looks every night but we had some silly turnovers and lapses on defense. We have to be really sound on that side of the ball and we’re just not there yet.”
Sophomore Will Harmon led all scorers in the game for the Mustangs with 19 points. Mason Larkin added 14 points, seven of which came in the third quarter which sparked the Mustang run.
First year coach Greg Dean credited his defense for playing sound while his offense took a half to find their rhythm.
“The guys did exactly what we talked about on defense,” Dean said. “We made some slight changes at halftime and our kids did a great job of adjusting that. Offensively our pace wasn’t real good. We were so half-court oriented in the first half, while in the second we were able to get out and run a little bit. Us playing a little bit faster got us some better looks and helped us get going.”
For the Chargers they were led in scoring by Colton Zachary with eight points. Nolan Graham, Jarrod Kirsch, and Kelby Harwood all had seven while Jakob Kirsch had six.
“You can see that we’re continuing to compete,” Arnold said of his squad. “That’s what I love about our team right now. We’ll get there eventually and the kids keep working, grinding and continuing to get open looks, I think we’ll be just fine.”
While this was just the third game of the season for the Chargers, Saturday’s contest marked the seventh game for the Mustangs who played five games in the Topper Classic in Danville (IL) and a game against Clinton Central on Friday.
“Going over to Illinois was good for us just to see what we had,” Dean said. “We really focused on just getting better in those five games and focusing on ourselves. Some depth developed for us over there and so now we’re able to rotate guys in and out to go 11 deep at some points. Our guys are really starting to pick up on what their roles on both sides and I don’t know if we’d be in that position if we didn’t go over there, so that was good for us in that regard.”
Fountain Central improves to 4-3 with the win and got to send their fans home happy in their home opener. Dean took the time to give a ` to the fans for having an impact on the game and being able to fill up a gym once again after not being able to do so a season ago.
“These people have been chomping at the bits to get to see these guys play,” he said. “It was great to get them out here and they played a big part in how we played tonight.”
The Mustangs will travel to Riverton Parke on Friday for their WRC opener while the Chargers will travel to Seeger also next Friday.
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