Balanced Raiders play aggressive, end droughtDecember 18, 2018
By HENDRIX MAGLEY
HUNTINGBURG — In order to break their three-game losing skid, the Southridge boys basketball team knew they had to become more aggressive.
Sophomore guard/forward Colson Montgomery took that message to heart as he started the game by scoring the first 12 points for Southridge. Montgomery finished with a season-high 25 points in the Raiders 66-37 victory over Pocket Athletic Conference foe Pike Central on Tuesday in Huntingburg.
While Montgomery feels that being aggressive sort of just comes naturally, he admits that it’s taken himself a little bit of time to adjust from football season to life on the hardwood.
“I haven’t really been in the groove of basketball yet and I haven’t really gotten my basketball legs under me,” Montgomery said. “Now that I’m finally starting to get into that groove, I’m going to be more aggressive and just start to play the way I’m supposed to play.”
While Montgomery led the way in scoring for the Raiders, he wasn’t the only one who was getting shots to fall.
Senior guard Matt Price knocked down four three-pointers for a total of 12 points, senior guard Joe LaGrange added 10 points and senior forward/center Jaden Hayes had the post moves going en route to 11 points.
Southridge head coach Mark Rohrer has often preached the importance of having multiple players in double-figures and it ended up being a key in helping the Raiders (3-3, 2-0) break their three-game drought.
“When (Colson) gets going, it’s going to become easier and easier for other guys and I kind of thought that was the case tonight,” Rohrer said. “Our guys have high expectations of their play and how they want to play — they know they didn’t play perfect tonight by any stretch, we just have to be more consistent with things as we move forward.”
After Montgomery’s 12-point outburst in the first quarter led the Raiders to a 12-3 lead, Pike Central (1-4, 0-1) slowly climbed back into the game inching as close as 22-19 in the second quarter. However, Southridge scored the final 10 points of the quarter thanks to big three-pointers from Montgomery and Price.
Price, who finished with four shots from deep in Tuesday’s win, says there isn’t a much better feeling then knowing you’re starting to catch a rhythm with your shot.
“It really opens things up for me, personally,” Price said. “I’m feeding off of (my teammates), they’re feeding off of me — it’s a better game overall for all of us. It’s harder for teams to guard five guys who can be a threat.”
Montgomery agreed with Price, adding that when everybody starts to get things going it means a little less pressure on the entire team.
“It opens up everything and it’s also kind of a relief too — it’s not like one person has to do everything,” Montgomery said. “You can drive, you can kick and you know someone is going to make a shot. It’s very beneficial for us to have multiple scorers.”
After the Chargers scored the first bucket of the second half, Southridge went on a 9-0 run including buckets from Hayes, Montgomery and Garrett Voegerl to make it 41-21 after leading by just 13 points at halftime. However, the Chargers once again reallied as three-pointers from Judah Leathco and Ethan Gorby pulled Pike Central back within 12. Southridge was able to stretch its lead back out to 15 points to end the third quarter, 47-32.
The fourth quarter was pretty much all Raiders — Hayes, LaGrange and Camden Gasser started the quarter off with buckets for Southridge while Kaden Neukam and Carter Whitehead ended the game with buckets for the Raiders. Southridge outscored Pike Central 19-5 in the final period on their way to the 66-37 victory.
It’s the second time this season that Southridge has had four players finish with double-digit scoring totals. In both victories, the Raiders have won by an average of 33 points.
While Southridge had to deal with some tough losses to Evansville Mater Dei, Shoals and Princeton, the Raiders believe they’ve learned a lot about themselves in the early going.
“We just have to keep playing at a normal rhythm and flow and I thought we had many more stretches of that (tonight),” Rohrer said. “We were so stagnant in the second half these past couple of games but I thought there was a lot more flow in what we were doing in our offense tonight.”
Montgomery added: “We know we’re really good but we just have to keep putting the puzzle pieces together. If we play the way we’re supposed to play and the way we know how to play, we’ll be perfectly fine.”
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