Raiders drop close contest to Princeton on senior nightFebruary 20, 2021
By JIMMY LAFAKIS
HUNTINGBURG — Emotions ran high in Huntingburg’s Memorial Gym as Southridge (11-10, 7-3) clashed with Princeton on senior night. Moments before Saturday evening’s Pocket Athletic Conference showdown tipped off, the Raiders recognized seniors Colson Montgomery, Camden Gasser, Sam Sermersheim, Kaleb Wibbeler and Leyton Lauderdale in a pregame ceremony.
Southridge strung together a thrilling fourth-quarter rally, but ultimately lost the 48-43 contest. Raiders head coach Mark Rohrer tipped his cap to the senior nucleus.
“I was really pleased to see the support they got from our fan base tonight,” Rohrer said. “It’s very well-deserved. It’s earned. We obviously didn’t get the outcome we wanted, but I know the people that were here are very appreciative of everything they’ve done for this basketball program.”
The game crawled along early on, but the action picked up in the second half. The Tigers held a 39-27 lead as the squads entered the final frame.
Montgomery and Sermersheim teamed up for a barrage of clutch baskets in the fourth quarter. As Montgomery slashed through the lane for several deft finishes, the Southridge student section electrified the gymnasium.
“In that fourth quarter, there were some ‘goosebumps’ moments,” Rohrer said. “This is what Indiana high school basketball is all about — especially when we tied it. What a great fourth-quarter comeback from our guys. We put ourselves in the position to win. Those are the moments that you work for. It was really nice to have that.”
Princeton seniors Jurrien Ballard, Rhett Thompson and Dominic Hardiman showcased their long-distance range in the first three quarters, but the Raiders shut down their outside shots in the fourth. Both teams scratched and clawed for valuable rebounds in the paint. The game’s grind-it-out nature aligned with Rohrer’s main philosophy.
“There’s not really a book on how to teach high school-age kids on toughness,” he said. “It’s about trying to facilitate, trying to encourage them to internally have that and put it together as an entire group. I’m never going to question that with this group, especially with it being senior-led. We talk about toughness more than we talk about Xs and Os. Even though we didn’t get over the hump at the end, that is one of the examples of toughness that we look for from our guys.”
Montgomery led all scorers with an emphatic 26 points. He also knocked down Southridge’s only two 3-pointers. Sermersheim added seven points, while junior Carter Whitehead contributed six points. The Raiders made nine of their 13 foul shots.
Thompson scored a team-high 14 points for Princeton. Ballard chipped in with 11 points, and the seniors combined for six of the Tigers’ eight 3-pointers.
Southridge will wrap up its regular season at 8 p.m. Thursday at home against PAC foe Boonville. The Pioneers are currently mired in a six-game losing streak.
“Overall, we just want to make sure we get refocused on us and clean a couple things up,” Rohrer said. “We’ll make sure that we are 100% locked in and ready for the challenges that are going to come in a couple weeks.”
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