Raider boys knock off TecumsehJanuary 8, 2021
By COREY STOLZENBACH
HUNTINGBURG — A 20-11 lead momentarily turned into a 22-20 deficit, until a bucket at the buzzer forced a 22-22 halftime score. That was the predicament Southridge was in at halftime on Friday, but the Raiders (3-4, 2-0) responded in the second half against Pocket Athletic Conference rival Tecumseh, and notched their third win of the season, 62-41.
"(Coach Mark Rohrer) was just telling us to keep our composure, don't fold, even though they were on an 11-0 run, we just got to stick to our game plan, we just couldn't fold," said senior Colson Montgomery, who scored 27 points. "We kind of got hit in the face there for a little bit, but we bounced back pretty well."
"We got to get into a better offensive rhthym where we don't have self-inflicted turnovers," Rohrer later added. "Not necessarily turnovers that the defense is causing, but we are not making the best decisions on the offensive end. And that was the main message — I thought our turnovers led to us relaxing a little bit on the defensive end, and they capitalized big time. We knew it was going to be a battle, we knew it was going to be a tight game. That was the number one message was making sure we didn't have any self-inflicted wounds on the offensive end with our turnovers, and we did a really good job of cleaning that up in the second half."
Montgomery propelled Southridge's third quarter rally when he scored his team's first four points of the half. He scooped some and-ones, just as he did in the first half, and helped further Southridge's cause by knocking down some free throws.
Junior Carter Whitehead also got involved while Tecumseh kept it close early on. His and-one with 5:19 to play in the third, and a 3-pointer gave his team a 35-26 cushion. Whitehead had 16 points. The Raiders enjoyed a 40-30 edge after three, largely behind getting to the free throw line and sinking their shots.
The Braves made sure to give the Raiders a close game in the first half, and showed their range early Friday evening when their first nine points of the game came from 3-point land. Tecumseh chipped away at the 20-11 deficit the Raiders put them in during the second quarter - making good use of some of their offensive rebounds,
Tecumseh went on an 11-0 run after Southridge enjoyed that 20-11 advantage, and part of that 11-0 run came off of second chance buckets. Braves senior Tanner Toopes retook the lead for his team when he had an and-one with 4.8 seconds to play in the first half. He made his free throw for a 22-20 lead, and scored 13 of his 14 points in the first half.
However, the Raiders managed to salvage the final 4.8 seconds of the first half when senior Sam Sermersheim, who scored 10, made a bucket at the rim for a buzzer beater to send it to a 22-22 tied game at halftime. They responded with their third quarter run, and outscored the Braves, 22-11, in the fourth.
The Raiders had not been on their home floor of Huntingburg Memorial Gym in nearly a month, when they bested another PAC foe in Pike Central in their only other conference game to date, 49-38, Dec. 12.
"It was just special with us being out there again," Montgomery said.
"Just getting back and the comfort level of playing here — I had a feeling we were going to play really well," Rohrer later said. "For 28 of the 32 minutes, we played very well tonight — just that comfort level. We got to go on the road. We're going to play some tough teams on the road that we've got to be better, but I just always have a lot of confidence in our guys playing well here at home."
One would have to go back to Dec. 12 the last time the Raiders took the floor at Huntingburg Memorial Gym, which resulted in a win against another PAC rival, Pike Central, in their only conference game heading into Friday. They'll get more acquainted with conference play because with 13 games left, 10 are against PAC foes. Rohrer told his players that they only have big games left this season.
However, Southridge will get a short reprieve from conference, starting Saturday at home against Northeast Dubois, and Tuesday at Jasper for a couple of country rivalry showdowns.
"We're very motivated, and we're very mature and locked in, I feel like, with this upperclassmen group that we have that, regardless of who the opponent is, they're going to have a good mindset when we come in the morning to go through our game plan," Rohrer said. "And hopefully, we do our best at executing tomorrow night."
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