Montgomery sets record in Raiders three-point barrage

By JONATHAN SAXON

jsaxon@dcherald.com

Montgomery

HUNTINGBURG — The skies were clear Saturday night, but the Southridge boys basketball team made it rain over the court in their game against Loogootee. In an exciting display of marksmanship beyond the arc, the Raiders dropped in 11 three-pointers as they defeated Lions 60-47 for their eighth win in a row. Sophomore Colson Montgomery also set a new school record for most points in a single season with 476 points — he can climb that number a little higher as the Raiders still have one more game to play.

Southridge head coach Mark Rohrer called it a strangely physical sort of game, despite the what the shooting numbers may suggest, as both teams were banging on each other to the point where three technical fouls were called during the contest. But Rohrer thinks having a game like that close to the sectional tournament is good thing that will teach the Raiders (17-5) how to respond in games that get a bit rough around the edges.

“It was a physical game for sure,” he said. “That’s a good thing for us going into the tournament. Our guys have to respond properly, I thought for the most part tonight we did.”

The Lions (8-13) were the first on the board as sophomore forward Silas Bauer was able to slip behind the Raider defense for a point-blank layup, but Montgomery came back with four straight points to get it going for Southridge. Junior guard Landon Harder tied it up on a putback then senior guard Bailey Dearwester followed with a three-pointer to give the Lions a 7-6 lead. A baseline drive by senior center Jaden Hayes put the Raiders right back up, but a fast break layup from Dearwester in the closing seconds was enough to give the Lions a 9-8 lead at the end of the first.

Southridge, however, turned on the faucet in the second quarter. It started with Hayes hitting the team’s first three-pointer from the top of the key to give the Raiders an 11-9 lead. Bauer posted up and tied things up once again at 11-all, but then the Raiders broke things open with a trilogy of threes from Montgomery and senior guards Matt Price and Joe LaGrange. Montgomery was able to work in the low post of a shot to put the Raiders up 22-11 after an 11-0 run. Senior guard Cade Chezem hit a three to respond for the Lions, but Hayes hit right back with another three-pointer for the 25-14 lead with three minutes left in the second. Chezem knocked in another three as Loogootee worked to shoot it out with Southridge, but back-to-back triples for LaGrange gave Southridge a decisive 31-20 lead as they finished the second quarter with seven three-pointers.

Montgomery went back to the post to start the third quarter. Bauer went back to work down low with a second-chance shot  to which LaGrange countered with his fourth three-pointer of the game. On the Raiders’ next possession LaGrange got tied up with sophomore guard Jordan Wildman as he went up for a layup. Wildman got wrapped around his neck, LaGrange made a move to get him off and both players had to be separated as the situation escalated beyond the whistle. All the players on the floor rushed to the aid of their respective teammates, but none of the benches cleared and no further action took place between Wildman and LaGrange. When the dust settled both players were given technicals; LaGrange and Wildman hit both of their foul shots and the teams tipped it off with Southridge still in control, 40-27, with 5:46 left in the third.

Bauer hit a layup after the tipoff and struck back quickly with a three after a stop. Wildman connected on another try from beyond the arc to cut the gap to six points, 41-35. Montgomery cut inside to give the Raiders some space, but Wildman drew a foul on another three-pointer and hit all three free throws to help the Lions close in, 43-38. Montgomery and Wildman traded buckets as the quarter came to a close with the Raiders claiming a slim 45-40 edge going into the fourth.

Bauer put in a jumper to cut the deficit to 45-42, but Montgomery rushed back with three-straight shots from the sniper’s nest to give the Raiders a 54-42 lead with 5:15 left to play. Harder and Chezem combined for five points, but the Lions’ momentum came to halt after a big block by Hayes turned into a transition bucket for Montgomery. LaGrange drew another technical foul as he was brought to the ground on a breakaway layup. He would would hit one-of-two, and the Raiders would go on to win it 60-47.

Montgomery finished with 28 points and broke the previous school record for scoring in a single season. LaGrange finished with 14. Bauer led the Lions with 16 and Harder finished with 11.

“It’s pretty sweet. I wasn’t worried about trying to get the record, I was just trying to win the ball game,” said Montgomery. “It just happened. My teammates were getting me open.”

The three-point display was one of the season’s best for the Raiders as they looked to bounce back from a subpar shooting game against the South Spencer Rebels.

Some of the shots were a function of necessity to open up the paint against the Lions, but once the Raiders got hot it felt like they simply couldn’t miss when the windows opened up.

“They were packing it in a little bit and we needed to hit some threes to stretch out the defense,” said LaGrange, who finished the game with three three-pointers. Montgomery led the team with four and Hayes had a pair as he finished with nine points.

“A lot of them were in motion and rhythm moving the ball,” said Price, who finished the game with two threes for six points. “As the year’s gone on we’ve gotten a lot better at sharing and being more comfortable playing with each other.”

The Raiders will host their final game against the Boonville Pioneers on Friday and look to finish their season with a ninth consecutive win. But, in addition to that, Rohrer wants to the team to keep in mind the three things that have buoyed them during this run to end the season.

“There’s three things that we’re trying to do down the stretch,” he said. “Number one is win, number two is work on some of the details that we can still improve on going into the tournament, and three we want to feel good about the way we play. These last eight games we’ve done all of those things, and hopefully we’ll continue to do that next Friday.”




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