By Justin Whitaker
DANVILLE — The Danville boys’ and girls’ basketball teams hosted Sagamore Conference foe North Montgomery for a doubleheader Friday night.
The boys were able to come out with a victory and the girls struggled in defeat.
It wasn’t pretty and it wasn’t ugly, but the Danville Warriors found a way to win last night.
A 24-3 run in the final 10 minutes propelled the Warriors to a 48-35 Sagamore Conference victory over North Montgomery.
“It was one of those games where you had to keep working yourself into a rhythm,” Danville coach Brian Barber said. “It took us a while to get into a rhythm. I don’t know if it was a hangover from the county tourney or what. But we fought through it.”
Barber told his team that he did not think they were ready to play before the game and it showed as Danville (11-2, 3-1 conference) trailed at halftime and after the third quarter.
North Montgomery (2-9, 1-2 conference) led 32-24 in the third quarter before the Warriors woke up.
Two consecutive timeouts by Barber grabbed the team’s attention.
“Our coach, as you saw when he took those two straight timeouts, he didn’t really have much to yell but he definitely got to us,” senior Ian Asher said.
Asher proceeded to scored four of his team-high 14 points to start the run at the end of the third quarter.
“You could tell once we got on a run, our focus got there,” Asher said.
Scott Amor’s corner 3-pointer, after a patient possession waiting for the right shot, gave Danville the lead and they never looked back.
“I thought our intensity level picked up. We were a lot more sharp mentally as well as emotionally,” Barber said. “There’s no such thing as coming out flat, a lot of that had to do with North Montgomery. They did a good job in their half court defense, packing everybody in there and we had trouble with our perimeter shots.”
The Warriors scored 16 unanswered points before Charger senior Nathan Neal’s trey with 2:20 remaining in the fourth.
It was the only field goal and points in the final 10 minutes for North Montgomery.
Danville honed in on North Montgomery’s Nathan Rogers and Grant Gaylor who attempted 64 percent of the Chargers’ shots.
“(Rogers and Gaylor) had almost all of their shots so we went to a defense that just took them out completely,” Asher said. “We did what we could to keep them isolated and out of the game. We made some of their other players step up and that definitely helped us out a lot.”
Throughout the evening, there was no one Danville player carrying the load.
Jackson Butler took a key charge down the stretch, C.J. Just snatched some crucial rebounds and Amor had the trey to take the lead.
It was a total team effort with different Warriors stepping up at different times.
“It’s a long season, you’ve got to have some of those games,” Barber said. “When you’re able to gut some of those out, you know you’ve got a special group of guys.”
Butler scored eight points off the bench, season-leading scorer Avery Motes added eight and Tyler Ross contributed seven points.
Asher was sporting a Wheaton Thunder t-shirt after the game as he was recently accepted to the Division III school. The 6-foot-2 senior plans on double majoring in criminal justice and ministry while continuing his basketball career.
Danville fell 61-37 to North Montgomery in a game where the Warriors were within striking distance the majority of the game.
They trailed by eight after the first and nine at halftime.
Seven points was the closest Danville came in the third quarter before North Montgomery stretched the lead to 46-29 headed to the fourth quarter.
The Chargers finished the third on a 13-6 run.
“We went brain dead again. We just didn’t recognize what was going on,” Danville coach Terry Hammons said. “They just ran a simple two-man game. It was not the fault of the two people guarding the ball or guarding the screener, it was everybody’s fault. People away from the ball were just stuck in the mud.”
The Warriors struggled offensively with 18 turnovers and 31 percent shooting from the field.
“It wasn’t so much shots going down, we weren’t ready to score,” Hammons said. “Different people at different times had scoring opportunities and we caught the ball and we weren’t in triple threat. We just caught the ball standing up and couldn’t do anything with it.”
North Montgomery senior Becka Myers scored a game-high 31 points and added seven rebounds. Myers took advantage of good post position all evening.
“She did what we want our players to do,” Hammons said. “She did all the simple things. She didn’t do anything fancy and flashy. When they got the ball into her, she finished. She was ready to score.”
Sophomore Morgan Bear was the only Warrior to score in double figures with 12 points. Chelsea Gould added eight and Allie Lake scored seven.
Even in defeat, Hammons knows his team has better showings ahead.
“They’ve got to start believing a little bit more in themselves,” he said. “The scoreboard made this look a lot worse than what the two teams are. I think we are pretty good and we have some capabilities. We just let those little things magnify and it made a huge difference on the scoreboard.”