Raiders grateful, ecstatic for exposureJanuary 20, 2019
By HENDRIX MAGLEY
ELNORA — Southridge sophomore boys basketball player Colson Montgomery has received his fair share of attention for the performances he’s had for the Raiders in his young high school career.
On Saturday afternoon, Montgomery had a whole new spotlight shined on him — his first live interview on national television. Following Southridge’s 58-46 victory over North Posey at North Daviess in the first televised game of the third annual Basketball Day in Indiana on Fox Sports Indiana, Montgomery sat down with TV analyst Jeremiah Johnson to discuss his season-high 29-point outing in front of thousands of viewers watching from home.
For a first-timer, Montgomery didn’t think the interview went too bad.
“I really wasn’t that nervous, I just tried to soak it all in and have fun with it,” Montgomery said with a laugh. “I just tried to enjoy it all.”
While the Raiders have gotten off to a very solid 10-5 start this season (they won 10 games in the regular season all of last year), they’ve also received a solid amount of exposure by playing in big events. They competed at the Ford Center in Evansville earlier this season against Evansville Mater Dei and then faced off against PAC foe North Posey in front of a live TV audience on Saturday.
Southridge head coach Mark Rohrer hopes that fans who don’t normally get to see the Raiders in action are realizing just how fun of a team they are to watch — both with how they play free and easy on the offensive end as well as locking down on the defensive side of the ball.
“You saw a team throughout the majority of the game that can play both focused and loose and that’s just a fun brand of basketball to watch,” Rohrer said. “We give them a lot of freedom on the court in terms of showing emotion, making plays and also not being afraid to make mistakes. I was overall pleased with the effort they played with on such a quick turnaround after expanding so much energy in (Friday’s) game (against Heritage Hills).”
After a tough 64-52 loss to the Class 3A No. 7 Patriots on Friday night in Memorial Gym, the Raiders drove straight from Memorial Gym and headed up to Elnora to stay overnight in a nearby hotel.
While the Raiders faced a lot of adversity in that eight-hour stretch, things got even more stressful when starting forward Garrett Voegerl became extremely sick around 2:30 a.m. the morning before the game. Voegerl had scored nine points in the Raiders loss to Heritage Hills the night before and has been one of Southridge’s major contributors for a team that often uses a rotation of just five or six players. This meant that sophomore guard Camden Gasser would be making his first start of the season.
“I found out at breakfast (before the game) that I’d be starting,” said Gasser, who finished with two three-pointers in the victory. “I’ve always had that mindset on the bench just to be ready whenever. Confidence is a key thing for me — I know I don’t get in (the game) all of the time but when I do, I just try to be confident in what I do.”
Rohrer added: “I was so proud of (Camden) for being solid — that’s what we always ask him to do, whether it’s four minutes or 25 minutes like (Saturday). That’s going to help us develop our bench and some more depth.”
Southridge jumped out to an early 13-8 lead in the first quarter as Montgomery scored the first nine points of the game for the Raiders. They continued their hot start into the second quarter as they started off on an 8-0 run thanks to three-pointers from Gasser and senior forward Jaden Hayes as well as a bucket from Joe LaGrange which made it 21-8. North Posey’s Josiah Ricketts, who became the Vikings all-time leading scorer as a junior the night before against South Spencer, started to get things going in the second quarter as he jumped up to 10 points but the the Raiders were able to pull ahead 32-16 at the halftime break thanks to 15 first-half points from Montgomery.
Once again, Southridge jumped ahead to start the third quarter on a 9-0 run thanks to shots from Montgomery, Gasser and LaGrange which made it 41-16. North Posey went on a run of their own thanks to Ricketts but a big Montgomery dunk late in the quarter regained momentum for the Raiders as they went into the fourth quarter ahead 47-28. The Vikings never got any closer than the final deficit of 12 points in the fourth quarter as Southridge held tough for the 58-46 victory.
Colson Montgomery led Southridge with 29 points while Joe LaGrange also finished in double-figures with 12 points. Jaden Hayes added seven points while Camden Gasser finished with six points. Josiah Ricketts led North Posey with 23 points while Jonathan Ricketts, Harold Bender and Dalton Cox finished with eight, seven and six points respectively.
Montgomery and Josiah Ricketts got to battle each other for most of the game as they were tasked with guarding one another. Montgomery admits he was rather excited to go head-to-head with the North Posey junior and he feels that he probably wasn’t alone.
“Oh, I was definitely looking forward to it and I bet a whole bunch of people wanted to watch us going against each other too,” said Montgomery. “People love to watch two good players go up against each other so it was just a good time.”
The Raiders will have two more tough battles this weekend as they’ll hit the road to face county and PAC foe Forest Park (9-6) on Friday and then travel to the Hatchet House to face Washington (10-4) on Saturday.
“We’ve got to play in so many great venues with so many great atmospheres throughout the year and it’s such a great experience for our guys,” Rohrer said. “We’ve been telling them to embrace these challenges and focus on going out and winning some basketball games — I think we’ve done a pretty good job of that.”
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