GREENCASTLE – Both South Putnam and Southmont came into Monday night disappointed with their results in their respective girls’ county basketball tournaments.
In a game in which both Millers, Mountie center Belle and Eagle forward Brie, had moments where they carried their teams on offense, it came down to who made the plays in the final moments, a box the visitors managed to check in a 60-56 win.
“It felt good tonight for the girls to not only break this losing streak but beat the team that knocked us out of the tournament last year,” Southmont head coach Dan Burkman said, referencing the 68-54 loss in February. “The girls came focused tonight and our defense won us this one tonight.”
Early on Belle Miller was the center of attention, scoring 11 first quarter points to power Southmont forward.
While Brie Miller had five points, Lilly Vittetow notched a pair of threes as part of an eight-point quarter, helping South Putnam stay close at 19-16 after a quarter of play.
Belle Miller scored the first two baskets for the Mounties in the second period but was largely silent for a while, though Dori Frederick picked up the slack, scoring eight points around a Hanna Nichols three.
Vittetow scored six points but the visitors put the clamps on the rest of the Eagles, holding the hosts to 10 points in the frame to take a 36-26 lead into halftime.
The roles reversed in the second half as South Putnam was the team with the higher energy level, though Brie Miller was still the focal point of the offense, scoring 10 of the team’s 12 points in the frame.
Southmont’s lead would only trim down as far as four as Jade Gann scored back-to-back baskets, helping the visitors take a 46-38 lead into the final eight minutes.
“Jade played her best game of the year,” Burman said about the senior. “She had started the previous games and tonight, I brought her off the bench and she had a great game and did so much on both ends of the court.”
The Eagles threw themselves into the final period, clawing the deficit back through Brie Miller, who added another 10 points in the period, including free throws that moved the hosts in front 52-51.
Belle Miller knocked down two on the other end to move in front 53-52 while Vittetow tied the game at 53-53, only for a line violation to chalk off the next shot, one that had gone down as the whistle was blown.
Gann hit 1-of-2 to put the visitors back in front for good before Isabelle Miller scored to make it 56-54.
DeLorean Mason would hit two crucial late free throws while Frederick and Isabelle Miller hit one each while locking the hosts down defensively to break the three-game losing streak.
“DeLo only hit half her shots but that’s an improvement for her,” Burkman said about the sophomore, who was targeted by South Putnam to take shots at the line. “Any positive is something we can build off of.”
Southmont hosts North Putnam Wednesday in what Burkman said was a tough challenge.
“(North Putnam) gets out on you from start to finish,” Burkman said. “We have to be poised, handle their press, work from the inside out and we’ll be fine.”
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