Tempel returns, Raiders cruise in opener

Photo by Hunter Tickel/The Herald
Southridge junior guard Marie Tempel (3) makes her long-awaited return to the starting lineup. The Lady Raiders topped Perry Central 54-29 on Tuesday in Leopold in the season opener.


LEOPOLD — Marie Tempel took to the hardwood donning the black and red for the first time in nearly two seasons.

“It was a little nerve-racking because I haven’t played in two years, but I mean, I was pretty confident with my body,” Tempel said. “I was pretty confident playing with my team.”

The Southridge junior guard checked most boxes maneuvering the floor against Perry Central in her second comeback from a severe knee injury.

The Raiders (1-0) defeated the Commodores 54-29 in the season opener on Tuesday in Leopold.

Tempel was reintroduced to the physicality of the game when she stole the ball in the backcourt and was sent to the floor driving to the rim with 4:53 left in the first quarter. She split a pair.

“I played a few times before, this summer, I knew it was going to be new,” Tempel said. “(My) strength got a lot (stronger) over the offseason, but I (know) I’m not 100%, 110% like I want to be.”

Almost a minute later, she collected a pass in transition on the run and finished the layup for her first basket without putting it on the deck.

Another field goal to open the second period, and a sound 12-foot bank off the dribble on an angle from the left gave her seven points in the opening half.

She looked poised gliding to the left side of the floor.

“It’s my strong leg to push off of,” Tempel said. “I just got to make do with what works with my body right now.”

She opened up looks for teammates, too.

The 5 foot, 7 inch guard started the contest at the two-guard before rotating to point guard duties.

With 6:14 to go in the half, she drove to the paint on the right side before a penetrating bounce pass to the other block created a simple finish for sophomore forward Maddux Marshall.

With a 23-11 lead at the break, Tempel rested in the closing two quarters.

“We wanted to make sure we’re not overdoing it,” Southridge coach Greg Werner said. “We played her a lot in the first half. We want to make sure she’s 100%. She came down hard on that one layup, and (her knee) kind of hyperextended.”

Freshman guard Avah Montgomery was the primary ballhandler to close after starting the game with the ball.

It was a tall task for the first-year guard in her Raiders debut. She had five points in the opening half and finished with nine.

In the middle of the fourth, she went to the bench after picking up a knock.

It's early, but Southridge caught a break coming out unscathed after being riddled with injuries in recent years.

“We just were cautious, we were okay there,” Werner said. “The game was pretty rough.”

Montgomery's sister, Myah, missed the game but participated in warmups after suffering a severe knee injury in the summer — the second of her career.

In her absence, senior forward Mikah Goeppner led the way with 20 points. Junior guard Ara Wagner pitched in with eight points.

In recent opening history, the Raiders fell to Princeton last year, and in the previous five went 4-1 against Perry Central.

Next, Southridge is set on Saturday to host Class 2A-No. 12 Paoli ranked in the Indiana Coaches of Girls Sports Association at Huntingburg Memorial Gym.

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