Raiders move to 2-0November 10, 2019
By JONATHAN SAXON
HUNTINGBURG — The beginning stages of a sports season are full of bumps and learning curves, even for teams that win early. To that end, the Southridge offense was far from perfect when it played Paoli on Saturday, but the Raiders (2-0) used their tenacity to get the shots and stops they needed in order to beat the Rams (1-1), 41-34.
Raiders coach Greg Werner praised the players’ defensive effort while at the same time conceding that they were fortunate the Rams couldn’t make them pay for some of the mistakes they committed. Werner’s main concern lies within the offense, which is coming along slower than he would like. However, he believes that the Raiders can overcome that hurdle if they keep up the high effort they’ve shown in their first two games.
“We’re behind on offense,” he said. “We’re not all on the same page, the chemistry is not there. We’re going to have to look at a few things and make some changes. It doesn’t matter if they mess up, as long as they have that fight and spirit to find a way to win. If they will run through that brick wall and we keep teaching them along the way, that’s all I care about.”
The start of the game was slow-going as both the Raiders and Rams experienced the miscues and timing errors on offense. However, Southridge was able to get the first points on the board after consecutive shots from sophomore forward Mikah Goeppner. The Rams soon followed after a pair of free throws from sophomore guard Kacey McBride. Sophomore forward Myah Montgomery and senior guard Anna Kappner gave the Raiders an 8-5 lead to cap off the low-scoring first quarter.
Freshman guard Jackie Crews tried to inject some spark into Paoli’s offense, first with a drive at the start of the second quarter then with a 3-pointer on the next possession. A miscommunication between Montgomery and Goeppner then led to a layup for senior guard EB Kerby and the first lead of the night for the Rams, 12-10.
Consecutive free throw line visits for freshman guard Marie Tempel and junior forward Rose Tempel, combined with a pair of scoring drives from junior guard Kennedy Nalley, fueled a 9-0 run in the waning minutes of the second quarter and put the Raiders up, 21-13, at halftime.
Southridge started the third quarter with a putback basket from Rose Tempel and another scoring drive from Nalley. Crews hit back with a trey, but baskets from Nalley and junior center Abigail Kerkhoff solidified the Raiders’ grip on the game. Montgomery finished the third quarter hitting what was initially ruled a 3-point shot as time expired, but the call was changed to two, and Southridge led, 33-20, going into the fourth.
Paoli did everything it could to keep fighting and steal the game from Southridge. Crews drove in for a bucket to start things off, and back-to-back threes from Kerby and senior forward Audrey Blankenbaker drew the Rams within seven points with less than two minutes left in the fourth. Crews then put in a pair of free throws to make it 39-34 with 1:14 remaining. However, Marie Tempel came up with a key steal with 14 seconds left, and Nalley iced the game with a pair of free throws for the final 41-34 margin.
Nalley and Rose Tempel led the Raiders with 10 points each, while Montgomery finished with eight points and five rebounds. The Raiders also went 13-for-18 at the free throw line. Crews led the Rams in scoring with 14 points.
“Our coaches made a great game plan for us,” said Nalley. “Everyone just came out to play and wanted to get that win really bad.”
“We all stepped up and up and didn’t rely on just a few people to make all the points,” added Montgomery. “We did a lot of preparation for this game and it really paid off. We’re still working on our communication, but it’s coming along.”
The Raiders won’t have much time to rest this week, as they’ll face Princeton on Tuesday and Jasper on Thursday before ending the week with the Corydon Central Tournament. Werner said his main concern is getting through next week without any major injuries, but his team will have to be flexible, and he’ll work on his patience, as they work to get better on the fly. As far as immediate areas of concern, Werner wants the team to use the next five games to get more organized offensively and improve on how they deal with aggressive presses from opposing defenses.
“Number one is to keep them healthy,” he said. “Number two is to manage their minutes, we can go eight-deep if we need to. I want us on the same page, coaches and players. I want us to be able to handle any pressure, if we balance the floor we’ll be able to score. I want to get those things accomplished more than anything.”
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