Raiders claim sectional championshipMarch 6, 2021
By JIMMY LAFAKIS
HUNTINGBURG — As Southridge (15-10) put the finishing touches on its 58-44 2A Sectional 48 championship win over South Spencer, Raiders head coach Mark Rohrer embraced the victors. Fans roared in the background while the raw emotions poured out.
“It’s these guys’ whole lives,” Rohrer said. “We’re playing five guys, four seniors and a junior, that have prepared their entire lives to play their best when the moment was the most important. They came out and got that accomplished.”
The victory came with some extra satisfaction, as the Raiders avenged last year’s 56-51 sectional loss to South Spencer. Southridge senior Colson Montgomery nearly tore Memorial Gym’s roof off with his all-around play in the first half. Montgomery knocked down five 3-pointers and penetrated through the lane for additional buckets.
When the Raiders and Rebels entered their respective locker rooms at halftime, Southridge held a 30-19 lead. Montgomery single-handedly outscored South Spencer in the first two frames — the senior dropped 26 first-half points.
“It was insane,” Montgomery said. “It was the whole atmosphere. All of our guys were so locked in to win this game. It just feels awesome.”
Rohrer acknowledged Montgomery’s stupendous first half, but he also recognized his leadership.
“Because of his mental toughness and willingness to be great whenever the moment is needed, I’m not surprised.” Rohrer said. “He’s a terrific player, but his mental toughness is second-to-none. When you have that combination of mental toughness with being that special player, these types of things can happen.”
The Raiders executed rapid switches on ball screens throughout the second half. The aggressive defensive style forced the Rebels to rush critical shots and commit several turnovers. Southridge limited South Spencer to under 15 points in each quarter.
“They all do such an amazing job on the defensive end of taking the game plan and going and applying it,” Rohrer said. “Some of that is preparation, obviously. Some of that is just feel. When they make those plays in terms of getting big steals and taking away first options, all of them are simply incredible.”
Tight defense paved paths for fruitful offensive possessions. With 6:58 remaining in the fourth quarter, Southridge senior Camden Gasser battled through contact and finished with a tough layup.
Gasser converted the feathery finish right in front of the Southridge student section, who burst with joy as the ball dropped through the nylon.
“Our guys did a tremendous job of using our crowd to get a little extra adrenaline,” Rohrer said. “We played with a lot of passion, I thought. There’s a difference between playing with emotion and being emotional. I thought we did a great job of controlling that.”
Montgomery led all scorers with 38 points. Fellow senior Sam Sermersheim added 11 points for the Raiders, while South Spencer senior Jace Kelly led the Rebels with 20 points.
Southridge will return to Memorial Gym for 2A Regional 12 action. The Raiders will face Paoli at 10 a.m. on March 13.
“We’ll bring everybody back here to watch us play against a good team,” Montgomery said. “We’re ready for everything.”
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