Freshman’s late shot not enough as Raiders fallDecember 8, 2017
By HENDRIX MAGLEY
HUNTINGBURG — As Southridge freshman Colson Montgomery was driving down the lane with 1:17 left in the fourth quarter, he had one thought going through his mind.
Make the basket.
“Finish — that’s all I was thinking,” said Montgomery. “Once I got the and one, I knew I had to just make the free throw and tie the game back up.”
Montgomery’s basket tied the game but after Southridge lost possession on a jump ball turnover, Tell City had one last chance to avoid sending the game to overtime.
It was no surprise that the Marksmen put the ball in Braeden Beard’s hands as the time ticked down. The junior forward drew a foul on Southridge’s Jacob Masterson with four seconds left and knocked down both of the free throws to give Tell City a 63-61 lead.
The Raiders (0-1, 0-1 PAC) called one final timeout and heaved up a last-second shot as the Marksmen were victorious 53-51 on Thursday night in Huntingburg.
“We didn’t handle ourselves great in those last 30 seconds,” Raider coach Ted O’Brien said. “We wanted to hold one for one more shot but that becomes a tough situation when you haven’t played together that long and it just kind of bit us a bit. We didn’t execute down the stretch like we wanted to but we’ll get better at understanding time of possession and those kind of things.”
The Marksmen started quick as they jumped out to a 15-4 lead near the end of the first quarter but back-to-back three pointers from Joe LaGrange and Jaden Hayes brought the Raiders back within striking distance.
The Raiders took a lot of three-point shots early and LaGrange had a feeling they would have to rely on the outside shot a little more than normal due to Tell City’s defensive strategies.
“We knew Tell City was going to pack it in a little bit so we knew we’d have to hit some outside shots to make them come guard us,” said LaGrange, who finished with 10 points in his first game at Southridge after playing at Jeffersonville the past two seasons. “We were a little anxious at first and that’s why the shots weren’t falling but once we got our legs under us we started to knock them down.”
Every time Southridge inched closer and closer, the Marksmen (3-1, 1-1 PAC) found ways to stretch their lead by small increments. The main suspect was Beard who finished with 26 points on the night including the game-winning free throws with four seconds left.
However, O’Brien felt the Raiders improved every quarter as the team began to get comfortable with each other.
“We battled back, we were aggressive and we kept chipping and staying in the game even when shots weren’t falling early,” O’Brien said. “Our offense was a little bit stagnant tonight but that’s just because these guys aren’t used to playing together. It’s going to take some time for our offense to flow, we’re still without Matt (Price, point guard) so we’ll be better as we go.”
Montgomery, who was playing in his first career varsity game, said that he was a little anxious early but once he got settled in he began to feel comfortable.
“At first, I had the butterflies like every freshman does but once I realized they were playing up on me I knew I could only do what I could do,” Montgomery said.
O’Brien added, “He obviously came out and was a little nervous when shots didn’t fall early. He was starting to press a bit but we told him to just let the game come to him and he’ll be fine — he showed us what he can do with the and-one and a few big drives by the baseline.”
For a team who has only been practicing with its full squad for about two weeks and is a week or two behind in games played, the Raiders didn’t show too much rust.
Jaden Hayes had a few big blocks that got Huntingburg Memorial Gym up and out of their seats. Montgomery made a defender fall on his way to driving the lane on one of his first-half shots. Logan Seger picked up a fast break bucket with 4 minutes left to put the Raiders within striking distance.
“I thought as a team following just two weeks of practice, we looked pretty good together,” LaGrange said. “There’s still a lot of things we can get better at the offense and defensive ends but I’m excited for the rest of the upcoming games.”
LaGrange was also excited to play his first game in Huntingburg Memorial Gym as he said that the gymnasium had a lot of history for his family with past family members playing and coaching in the gym including his father Tim who coached at Jasper for thirteen seasons.
At the beginning of the week, Hayes and Montgomery wanted to see the intensity right from the get go and the players noticed the loud energy from the moment Hayes got his first block of the game.
“It was pretty insane,” Montgomery said. “I’ve never played in an energy like this before and once we started knocking down shots the energy just keep going up and up and it was pretty sweet.”
The Raiders will have another chance right away to get their first win of the season as they will travel to Petersburg for a battle with another Pocket Athletic Conference foe in Pike Central (0-2, 0-0 PAC).
The keys to winning tomorrow night against the Chargers?
“We need to communicate better on the defensive end,” LaGrange said. “We also need to get out in transition, I don’t think we had any transition points tonight and we have to be able to get out and run.”
Montgomery added, “We have to play better defense and limit the offensive boards. We don’t want Pike Central to get any offensive rebounds.”
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