Southridge comes up shy at buzzerFebruary 21, 2020
By COREY STOLZENBACH
HUNTINGBURG — Heartbreak.
That’s one way to put it the way Southridge’s game with Pocket Athletic Conference rival South Spencer ended Friday evening, with a 45-43 loss and a chance to win the game with 12.3 seconds to play.
The Raiders (8-14, 3-5) trailed, 45-38, following a goaltending call against them, but the goaltend ultimately proved consequential. They put on their rally caps, went on a 5-0 run down the stretch, and on Senior Night, Garrett Voegerl hustled to get a steal off the inbound, trying to help his team win the final regular season home game of his career.
Southridge found junior Colson Montgomery, who finished with a game-high 23 points. He put up a 3-point attempt, it had movement, but he could not make it 26 points on the evening. Voegerl finished with 15. The Raiders could not get off another shot on the offensive rebound, and the buzzer sounded. South Spencer escaped.
“We knew that they were going to run like an X, where (junior Michael) Donoho was going to screen (junior) Jace Kelly and (junior) Kobe Bartlett,” Voegerl said. “We knew something was coming since Kobe Bartlett didn’t come down, we saw Donoho come up to the ball and we just hustled and were able to make a play.”
Southridge had the chance to win it, but some things leading up to that proved costly. The Raiders went 8-for-17 from the free throw line, and also gave up offensive rebounds throughout the evening. One of them came after the Rebels missed at the free throw line late in the game, but pulled down the board, and Kelly made them pay, drawing a foul from junior Sam Sermersheim with 1:25 to go, and making two free throws that made it 43-36 at the time.
Raiders coach Mark Rohrer didn’t appear to be as concerned about the free throws as he did the rebounding, as he said that’ll be the big focus if these two teams meet again in the sectional.
“Regardless of who we play, (Evansville) Mater Dei is one of the better offensive rebounding teams in the sectional,” Rohrer said. “Same with South Spencer. Forest Park’s a very good offensive rebounding team, too. So, we’ll take the positives. We’ll learn from the negatives. We’ll have a great Monday for practice.”
Friday also brought about all sorts of honors at Huntingburg Memorial Gymnasium.
Southridge held Senior Night. The Raiders paid tribute to their four seniors before the game: Garrett Voegerl, Gavin Voegerl, Austin Kaeck and Jadon Culbertson. All four seniors made the starting lineup, getting a few minutes of playing time together in the first quarter.
“Just to practice on this court every day is pretty special because it’s one of the best gyms in Southern Indiana,” Culbertson said. “So, being able to have the lights turn off and come out as a starting player is pretty unique.”
Rohrer referred to them as a special group, not just from a basketball standpoint, but from a personal standpoint. He felt like he’s known them for longer than two years.
“These guys have been through some really good times with us and they’ve been through some tough times,” he said. “When you go through both of those, you just grow to trust, admire, love each other. It’s a very strong bond I think that they have with each other, that they have with the coaching staff and with the entire team.”
Longtime athletic director Brett Bardwell has often honored somebody before a game this season, but on this night, Bardwell himself received recognition for his final regular season home game as athletic director. Many student athletes joined in and gathered around Bardwell at center court. He received a clock with the Southridge logo on it.
“It was very emotional,” Bardwell said. “I’m very humbled and it meant a lot to me. This community means a lot to me. I love these people. I love our community. I love our school and it’s just been such an honor to be the AD here. I look forward to the coming years to still being around here and still supporting the Raiders. It’s just a great place to live and raise your kids, just so many good people. I’ve been so blessed.”
The Raiders also recognized their first-ever sectional winner, the 1976 team, as many members and the coaching staff took center stage, being announced one-by-one before the Raiders and Rebels returned for the third quarter. Southridge had pulled within one, 26-25, just before the buzzer at the half from a Garrett Voegerl basket.
Southridge will have its regular season finale Thursday at Boonville. The Raiders will have a film study on Monday for the Pioneers. Rohrer won’t have his practice plans until he learns of the sectional draw they get.
“If we get the bye, you won’t have to focus in as much early on potentially playing, but if we would draw any of the other five teams, we may not necessarily talk about them a ton, but I will tailor my practice plans for about 20 or 30 minutes specifics for those teams,” Rohrer said.”
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