IHSAA TOURNEY

SECTIONAL BASKETBALL: Wolves blitz Mounties 66-34

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CLOVERDALE — Everything went right for Parke Heritage in a run away 66-34 win over Southmont on Friday night in the IHSAA Class 2A Sectional No. 43 semifinal at Cloverdale.

The No. 4 ranked Wolves (23-3) led 15-6 after a quarter and 27-15 at the half, before blowing the game open in the third period by outscoring the Mounties (11-10) 22-8.

Southmont’s struggles came from the field, connecting on just 11-of-43 (26%) shots for the game, while Parke Heritage was 21-40 (53%).

“I thought we got some looks that we could have made and often made against other teams, but Parke Heritage is so discplined and so physical,” Southmont coach Jake Turner said. “They just give you nothing easy and that’s a credit to coach Schelsky. He’s a great coach and they’re kids just embrace that defensive mindset. They made everything tough for us, and they’re also tough to stop offensively.”

Southmont was just the sixth team all season to score more than 50 points against Parke Heritage in a 64-54 setback last week, but on Friday night the Wolves were forced into a matchup zone defense in the first half when Noble Johnson and Connor Davis were in foul trouble, and the switch paid off.

“Southmont is a really hard team to guard, and we were very concerned with that,” Parke Heritage coach Rich Schelsky said. “We went to a little bit of the ‘matchup’ there for a lot of the game, which is something we haven’t done a lot this season, but we practice it a lot just in case of those situations, and I thought our kids were tremendous in it and I thought it changed the complexion of the game in the second quarter when we were in foul trouble.”

Christian Johnson led all scorers with 18 points to lead Parke Heritage, while Davis added 16 — all in the second half on 6-of-7 shooting. Riley Ferguson also reached double-figures with 14.

Behind a tough defensive effort in the first half, the Wolves built a lead with a 10-1 advantage on second chance points and a 10-of-11 clip from the foul line in the first 16 minutes. At one time Parke Heritage strung together 17-straight makes from the charity stripe. For the game they were 20-of-26.

“In the first half I thought we were able to get a lot of misses, but they’re just so dang strong and relentless on the O-boards,” Turner said. “We gave up some second-chance points and then we got into foul trouble.”

Carson Chadd led the Mounties in scoring with nine points, with seven at the free throw line. Cale Hess and Logan Oppy added six apiece on a pair of made 3-pointers. Southmont was just 4-of-17 from beyond the arc in the loss. 

Southmont secured its first winning season since 2017-18, and will graduate seniors Hess, Austin Bowman, Cam King, and Steele Baumgardner.

“I love coaching this team,” Turner said following the sectional loss. “Going to miss our four seniors. Great kids. I told them in the locker room how much I appreciate them and this was a great group. And one of my favorites, if not my favorite of all-time, because as a coach one of the things that stresses you out the most is when you don’t know what you’re going to get day-to-day in terms of effort and focus and this was probably the least stressful year of my career because all the kids had great attitudes and they were ready to work everyday, and they were focused. They wanted to be really good. Tonight didn’t go our way, but we had a winning record and that’s just the way life goes sometimes. Proud of my guys.”

Parke Heritage will play North Putnam, 70-59 victors over Cascade on Friday, in the sectional final tonight at Cloverdale at 7:30 p.m.

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