Altamont shuts down Cougars
Indians blanket South Central, improve to 4-3 on the season
Cornett, Childerson power Altamont inside offensive attack

- Altamont head coach John Niebrugge knows, like most basketball coaches have found out over the years, that on nights when the offense isn't there the defense should make up the difference.

On Friday in the their conference opener at South Central, the Indians made up for their rough going with the ball by making things even tougher on the hosts when they had 'the rock'.

Altamont used its size and length advantage over the Cougars to spoil the hosts' homecoming game as they led from beginning to end in a 56-43 victory.

For most of the contest, the Indians' offense struggled to find a flow.

However behind their frontcourt effectiveness around the basket and a perimeter defense that forced South Central into a horrendous first half shooting performance, Altamont improved to 4-3 overall an 1-0 in the National Trail Conference.

“We made some adjustments this week in practice. We've been getting 'back door-ed' a lot lately so we tweaked our defense on the help side,” said Coach Niebrugge. “The boys responded well tonight. Defensively you can't have an off night. And we didn't tonight.”

Evan Cornett and Sam Childerson, both 6-foot-4 senior forwards, had their way with the smaller Cougars in the paint.

Cornett topped the club with 16-points while Childerson added 15.

Five-foot-ten senior guard Ryan Armstrong was held to just four-points by South Central, but according to Coach Niebrugge, part of that was by design.

With an emphasis on getting the ball inside to Cornett and Childerson, Armstrong got his senior classmates involved early in the win.

“We had a height advantage tonight and we made a point in the pregame to get the ball inside. Ryan is starting to figure out that 'if I can make the other players better, that's going to open it up for me later' and he and I have had some sit down talks about it and I think it's finally clicking for him,” said Coach Niebrugge. “He wants that thing at the end (postseason success) rather than 'the now'.”

When they needed some outside offense, Altamont got a trio of 3-point bombs from senior guard Jesus Flores, who ended up with 10-points on the night.

Head coach Jamie VanScyoc saw his Cougars come out cold and remained that way for the first 16 minutes, falling behind by double-digits at the half to fall to 0-1 in the NTC, 3-6 overall in his first season leading his Alma mater.

The Cougars were a woeful 2-of-14 in the first quarter and 5-of-23 in the half and were in a 25-13 hole at intermission.

Although they played a lot better offensively in the second half, the damage had been done for South Central.

“They are long and athletic and they are going to cause a lot of teams problems. We played better in the second half, but the first half and we didn't start the game very well,” said Coach VanScyoc. “When you throw turnovers in with that sort of shooting you are going to find yourself down. I felt that we were fortunate to just be down twelve considering the percentages that we shot and the turnovers that we had. I felt like our defense did a pretty good job of keeping us in the game.”

Coach Niebrugge's Indians ended up shooting the ball better than the Cougars and they managed to offset 17-turnovers in the contest with a commanding performance on the glass.

Altamont crushed SC on the boards, holding a 30-12 advantage with nine offensive rebounds.

“Every drill we run (in practice) we always include a rebounding drill. Again, when you have an off night shooting the ball, your rebounding can't have an off night,” said Coach Niebrugge. “Wyatt (Stone) and Sam (Childerson) do a great job rebounding and when Evan (Cornett) wants to dominate he can.”

The Cougars were led in scoring by senior Trevor Markley with 15-points as he led the club with three 3-pointers.

South Central hit eight shots from beyond the arc but it two 23-attempts to do so.

Junior guard Trent Geiler added 10-points for the Cougars while sophomore guard Logan Lotz got going late, scoring all eight of his points in the fourth quarter.

“He (Lotz) handles the ball well and he shot it well for us in the second half. People kind of forget he is just a sophomore. He is young and played some varsity last year as a freshman and he is starting for me this year,” said Coach VanScyoc. “He will still make sophomore mistakes on offense with turnovers. As he grows and matures things will get better for him.”

By the time the Cougars got anything going in the second half, the Indians had too big of an advantage.

Altamont closed out the contest hitting 5-of-7 charity tosses in the fourth quarter for the win.

The Indians also had some difficulties in the opening stages of the matchup.

Cornett (6) and Childerson (4) scored all of the Tribes' points in the first quarter.

The two forwards powered their way in for a pair of buckets early that began a 8-2 run.

Getting the ball inside was a priority and Cornett scored on back-to-back post up moves in the lane.

South Central's Markley answered with first 3-point bomb but Armstrong found Childerson open in the lane in transition to close the frame at 10-5.

Altamont had a better second quarter scoring with a 9-3 run beginning, sparked again by inside scores from Cornett.

He scored six points in the scoring run, all three baskets in the paint.

A Flores 3-point bomb added to the South Central problems and, when Cornett closed the march with a baseline score on a pass from junior guard Mitchell Stevenson, Altamont led 19-8 with 3:08 left in the half.

Every time the Cougars tried to crawl back into the game, Altamont had an answer.

Consecutive scores by Geiler (a 3-pointer) and Matheny (a drive down the baseline) cut the Altamont lead to just 19-13.

However senior guard Drake Williams and Childerson each nailed 3-pointers in the final moments of the second frame.

When Childerson found the mark with just :02 remaining, the Indians were up by 12-points at the break.

Williams was playing in his first game back after battling a knee injury.

South Central managed to whittle the lead down to seven-points during the third quarter as Coach VanScyoc's club went on its best charge of the contest.

A 10-2 burst, sparked by back-to-back 3-pointers from Markley and consecutive scores inside the arc by Geiler and Matheny breathed a bit of life into the Cougars hopes, cutting the deficit down to just 33-26.

However as they had done throughout the night, Altamont answered.

Six-foot-three senior Wyatt Stone scored on a lob inside by Armstrong and then Flores nailed yet another 3-pointer.

Two free throws by Cornett as he was fouled at the buzzer ended the third with the visitors in command at 40-26.

Free throws by Childerson and buckets by Cornett and Childerson in the lane opened the gap to 46-29 with 6:29 remaining.

The Indians largest lead of the night occurred when Flores closed his scoring night with his third trifecta and a back door score from Stone on an assist from Childerson making it 54-36.

Coach Niebrugge's squad coasted home for the important league win.

Altamont survived 17-turnovers by its rebounding domination and a 21-of-44 shooting night (47 percent), including 5-of-11 from the arc.

South Central never got anything going other than a couple of mini runs in the second half.

The Cougars ended up 17-of-48 from the floor (35.4 percent) and they added 13-turnovers to their troubles.

South Central will play Vandalia on Wednesday night at the St. Elmo Holiday Tournament in its next action while Altamont will play North Clay December 16.

“We did a pretty good job on Armstrong and Stevenson but the two big kids killed us on the blocks,” said Coach VanScyoc. “We don't have any answers for guys that are 6-5 or 6-6.”

South Central
Altamont (56) – Stevenson 0 0 2-2 2, Flores 0 3 1-2 10, Stone 3 0 0-0 6, Biggs 0 0 0-0 0, Williams 0 1 0-1 3, Childerson 5 1 2-3 15, Cornett 7 0 2-2 16, Brown 0 0 0-0 0.
2FG-16, 3FG-5, FT-9-12 PF-8.

South Central (43)
– Markley 3 3 0-0 15, Matheny 3 0 0-0 6, Geiler 2 2 0-0 10, Lotz 1 2 0-0 8, McCown 0 0 1-2 1, Harpster 0 0 0-0 0, Fox 0 0 0-0 0, Brandt 0 1 0-0 3.
2FG-9, 3FG-8, FT-1-2, PF-9.

Fouled Out
– None.
Technical Fouls
– None.