Tigers send Raiders to third straight loss

Photos by Brittney Lohmiller/The Herald
Southridge's Joe LaGrange tries to steal the ball from Princeton's Matt Dove during Saturday's boys basketball game at Memorial Gymnasium in Huntingburg. Princeton defeated Southridge 53-48 as the Raiders dropped their third consecutive game — LaGrange finished with 12 points in the loss. For more photos from the game, click here.

By JONATHAN SAXON

jsaxon@dcherald.com

HUNTINGBURG —  Southridge was probably hoping for a more consistent start to their season. The Raiders won their first two games, then dropped the next two and now find themselves on the wrong end of a three-game skid after falling to the Princeton Tigers 53-48 on Saturday night.

Southridge head coach Mark Rohrer thought the boys brought the will and fight throughout the whole game, but thinks that a lack of continuity has kept the team from straightening out the kinks in their system the way they would like to at this early stage in the season.

“Effort was there for sure,” he said. “Competitiveness was there. We honestly just need more practice time together. We’re still at about 14 practices with everybody. When we get some time and work together we’re going to make some more shots, have a better understanding of how we want to guard, and changing a couple of things flips that outcome into our favor.”

Princeton (5-2, 1-0) was looking to stretch the floor early as they started the game with back-to-back threes from senior guards Hunter Carey and Stephan Wilkerson. Junior guard Garrett Voegerl answered back with the first points for Southridge (2-3). But the Tigers’ snipers were finding their mark early and often as Carey and sophomore guard Jurrien Ballard added a couple of more threes to give Princeton four total in the first quarter.

However, Southridge was able to keep pace thanks to five points from senior center Jaden Hayes (including a three) and another three from sophomore guard Colson Montgomery. Voegerl had rose up for dunk that brought the crowd to their feet near the end of the first, but Princeton forward Matt Dove threw down his own jam to finish the quarter and give the Tigers a 16-13 lead.

Princeton went right back to Dove to start the second, but Montgomery connected on a three and a follow up floater from Hayes tied the game at 18. Sophomore forward Rhett Thompson was able to slip into the lane for a layup to put the Tigers back on top, Montgomery came back with another basket of his own, and a three-pointer by senior guard Joe LaGrange finally gave the Raiders a 23-20 lead with 3:39 left in the second. Ballard and Raider senior guard Matt Price exchanged a couple more shots from downtown, at which point Southridge tried to slow it down over the final few minutes.

After a miss by Ballard, Southridge decided to hold the ball for the final minute of the second quarter to give themselves the last shot before halftime. The team started going into their set with about 15 seconds left, but Ballard was able to knock the ball loose and Price drew a foul as he prevented Ballard from recovering the ball. The Tigers were able to get one last shot off, but Thompson’s shot rattled off the rim and both teams were tied at 26 after two quarters.

Princeton started to open the gap in the third quarter. Senior forward Zach Dove scored the first five points for the Tigers in what would become an 11-2 run. Matt Dove also started to heat up and used his 6’10” frame to pound the paint for six points. Southridge was able to get a couple of threes from Montgomery and Voegerl, but it wasn’t enough to keep up as the Tigers outscored the Raiders 15-8 in the third quarter.

Southridge's Garrett Voegerl goes up for a dunk while being defended by Princeton's Matt Dove during Saturday's boys basketball game at Memorial Gymnasium in Huntingburg. Voegerl has now had two dunks in Memorial Gym so far this season. For more photos from the game, click here.

Southridge kept on fighting in the fourth as LaGrange kept on driving and getting to the foul line, where we went 4-4 in the quarter. Montgomery had another four points and threes from LaGrange and sophomore forward Camden Gasser kept the score close. But the Tigers’ third quarter push was enough to keep the Raiders at bay. Wilkerson had seven more points to close the game and help Princeton coast to their 53-48 win.

Wilkerson led the Tigers with 14 points, while Matt Dove finished with 13. Montgomery led all scorers with 17 points and LaGrange finished with 12.

“I thought we played well, it’s minor lapses that happened throughout the game that didn’t get the job done,” said Montgomery. “With this team we’re not going to peak right now, we’re going to keep on getting better.”

Rohrer echoed that sentiment when he spoke about what could have happened during the game and how the outcome could have easily been a Southridge win.

As of right now, the Raiders find themselves on a three-game losing streak, but Rohrer doesn’t believe there is any reason to panic at this point in the season. The way he sees it, a couple of little tweaks and adjustments will serve Southridge just fine as they look forward to their next game.

“We’ve talked to them about not feeling like we have to drastically change a lot,” said Rohrer. “It’s more of individually changing one or two plays in a game. We play six guys, you make a two-point swing with each guy instead of a five-point loss it’s a seven-point win. So we’re not thinking we have to make any drastic changes right now, it’s a matter of seeing if we can change a couple of things throughout games to change the outcome.”




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