Raiders at crossroads after lossFebruary 15, 2020
BY JONATHAN SAXON
HUNTINGBURG — It was a frustrating affair Saturday night, as a lack of offensive flow and a second half keep away game plan from the Pocket Athletic Conference foe Tell City Marksmen combined to produce a 36-24 loss for the Southridge Raiders (8-13, 3-4), their fourth in a row.
"We just had no rhythm the entire game," said Raiders coach Mark Rohrer. "They had a game plan, and they executed it extremely well. We didn't control things we can control."
The Marksmen (10-10, 3-3) concentrated a lot of their fire from the 3-point line in the first half senior guard Owen Noble nailed two in the first quarter; the first scored the initial Marksmen points, while the second answered a three from sophomore guard Kaden Neukam and broke a 5-5 tie. The Marksmen also counted scores from sophomore guard Keaton Lloyd and junior guard Kaden Chestnut. The Raiders picked up extra baskets from senior forward Austin Kaeck and junior guard Colson Montgomery, who returned after missing three games with an ankle injury, but they finished the first quarter down 10-7.
Kaeck made it a one-point game to start the second, but back-to-back threes from Noble and senior guard Devin Pruitt jumped the lead back to seven. Senior forward Garrett Voegerl scored four consecutive points to make it a one-possession game, but Chestnut connected another three to keep the Marksmen ahead. Neukam and Lloyd traded free throw line appearences to close the first half, but the Marksmen had a 21-14 lead at the break.
Voegerl opened the third with a basket to cut the lead to five, but he picked up a technical foul after complaining about a personal foul on Pruitt. Pruitt hit both his shots, while Noble missed both the technical attempts. Junior forward Dylan Mathena got a second-chance score that put the Marksmen up 25-16 going into the fourth quarter.
Kaeck hit a turnaround shot, and a three from sophomore guard Fernando Hernandez got the Raiders within seven, but that’s as close as they could get to closing the gap. Lloyd made 8-of-11 free throws down the stretch as the Marksmen picked up their fifth win a row.
Voegerl had six points and four rebounds. Kaeck also had six points, and junior forward Sam Sermersheim had eight rebounds. Lloyd had 12 points and eight rebounds.
"They did exactly what their game plan was," said Montgomery, who finished with two points and five rebounds. "We know other teams are going to see that."
While the Raiders had been optimistic after losses in the past, Saturday’s defeat has them believing their season is at a gut check moment. Injuries have forced the team to shift players into roles that were foreign to them, and while they’ve never quit and have had big moments, it hasn’t been enough to help the team reach the consistent level of success they desire. The Raiders hope the return of junior guard Camden Gasser can help rebalance the floor, but they only have two more games to make adjustments and create positive momentum before the sectional tournament. The Raiders have a big test with their final PAC game against the South Spencer Rebels (14-4, 5-1), a possible sectional opponent, at 8 p.m. on Friday at home.
“Our season is at a crossroads right now,” said Rohrer. “Are we able to handle adverse situations in games? If we can’t, it doesn’t matter what we do in practice. I got to look in the mirror, and everybody needs to look and say, ‘I’ve been doing this well, I need to continue it,’ or ‘I got to fix this.’ It’s going to be a team effort from coaching staff to players. When we get to game situations and adverse things happen, we’ve got to be mentally tougher if we want to give ourselves a chance in a couple weeks.”
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