Rebels downpour too much for Raiders in lossFebruary 17, 2018
BY JONATHAN SAXON
HUNTINGBURG — It rained hard over Huntingburg on Friday night. But it wasn’t precipitation from the clouds above, it was South Spencer to the tune of 11 threes as the Rebels sunk the Southridge Raiders 64-51 at Memorial Gym.
Southridge coach Ted O’Brien did not mince his words in assessing his boys performance on the court against South Spencer. He said the team simply came out flat, which continues a recent trend his team has fallen into over their last six games, which they had split 3-3 before last night.
“We didn’t play with the confidence that we have been playing with on the offensive end,” he said. “Guys were hesitant with some shots, we didn’t shoot a very good percentage. We couldn’t get the stop that we needed to crawl back into the game.”
The Rebels (7-14, 2-6) came out guns blazing in the first quarter. South Spencer was able to carve out a decisive 11-2 lead against a Raiders (9-11, 2-6) starting lineup that included all four of the team’s seniors and slotted freshman sensation Colson Montgomery at forward. They hit three of their first four attempts from three-point land set the tempo for how the night’s proceedings would unfold.
“They just came out and hit shots. Even guys that normally aren’t three-point shooters for them knocked down shots early in the game and dug us a hole,” said O’Brien.
Southridge was able to take advantage of a few mismatches on the frontline with Montgomery and junior forward Jaden Hayes, but the Rebels used their six threes to jump out to a 21-10 lead in the first quarter.
South Spencer slowed down a bit in the second, but not by much. Senior guard Dylan Kelly hit two three-pointers for the Rebels, but Montgomery, Hayes, and junior guard Joe LaGrange could only come up with 11 points in the quarter.
There was a moment late in the second quarter where it looked like the Raiders could have stolen some momentum and cut their lead before halftime. Montgomery scored four straight points, including a fastbreak layup to capitalize on a steal.
But the Rebels were able to answer, first with a drive from senior forward Kipper Johnson. Then coming out of a timeout with about 30 seconds left, South Spencer chose to hold the ball for the last shot before half. The designed dribble-drive would be no good, but the Rebels succeeded in draining enough time off of the clock to keep Southridge from making a last-second heave before halftime. South Spencer led 31-21 after two quarters.
There was a bit of sunshine for the Raiders to start the third quarter. Senior guard Jayce Harter and Montgomery combined to drive Southridge out on a 8-3 run to kick things off. But the Rebel snipers came back with a vengeance, as guards Manning Webb and Jace Kelly nailed two quick threes to even the run and retake control of the game. South Spencer outscored Southridge 12-8 to take a 43-29 advantage into the fourth quarter.
The Raiders made one last attempt to comeback and tried to make the fourth a sprint to the end. The Raiders scored ten quick points, but the Rebels kept pace. Montgomery tried to muster some late game heroics, but the Rebels always had an answer. O’Brien let the seniors finish out the final few minutes of the game, and South Spencer went on to earn their seventh win of the season.
Dylan Kelly and senior forward Jaylen Taylor both scored 17, Jace Kelly posted 14, and Webb had 12 points for South Spencer. Montgomery had 23 points for the Raiders.
O’Brien was quietly irked with the loss. Despite South Spencer’s incredible shooting night, he did not feel that his team did some of the little things on defense that could have at least make things a bit more difficult for the Rebels. Things such as players having their hands raised on closeouts or being quick on their rotations to cover vulnerabilities on the floor. But O’Brien said that the team doesn’t have the luxury of pitying themselves; they have to rally for a tough out against Loogootee this evening at 7:30 pm.
O’Brien hopes the Raiders can use their last three games to fix some problems on the defensive end. He has confidence that their offense will be there once boys sectionals start up on Feb. 27.
“The great thing about Indiana high school basketball is it starts over, it’s a second season once that tournament starts,” he said. “Everybody’s record is 0-0. We have to continue to build and get better, and hopefully be a better team when the tournament starts.”
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