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Brian Smith Driving to the basket on a fast break, South Central's Jasmine Nalley tries to get off a shot before Providence's Michaela Hoke goes for a block. Photo by Brian Smith (click for larger version)

Big 2nd quarter lifts Providence past Lady Rebels

December 04, 2013 | 09:34 AM

Early scheduling has been demanding for the South Central girls' basketball team.

The night before Thanksgiving, the Lady Rebels were bombarded by four 3-pointers during a 16-2 Providence run. Using the big run, Providence was able to defeat South Central, 69-48, in Clarksville.

"This is their eighth game and our third, but you could tell Providence has their act together pretty good," South Central coach Randall Schoen said. "(Coach) Brad (Burden) has them playing some good ball."

Taking an up-close look at the good ball came with the second-quarter spurt. Providence entered with a 14-11 lead and went to the half up 39-20. Early in the second quarter, Taylor Smallwood drained a pair of 3-pointers while Claire Rauck and Olivia Jenkins contributed one each.

The triples were part of the 16-2 run, which ended when Jasmine Nalley drew contact and sank a pair of free throws.

Free throws led to Nalley's 14 points. The junior guard went 14 of 18 at the charity stripe, reaching double figures without a made field goal.

Despite the 19-point halftime deficit, South Central came out the aggressor in the third quarter. Using a man press, they not only forced six Lady Pioneers turnovers, the Lady Rebels opened with an 8-0 run.

Sabra Walker, Chelsey Kaiser and Nalley made free throws during the spurt, while Walker also contributed a triple off a set in-bounds play.

South Central's Maddie O'Connor helped South Central cut Providence's lead to 10 when she made a field goal.

"We had been working on the press a little bit in practice," Schoen said. "To be honest, I wasn't sure we could press. Tonight, I told the girls they showed me we will be able to press some."

Following two Nalley freebies, making the score 42-32, Providence went on another lengthy run. To close the quarter, Lillian Hughes came off the bench for three field goals, along with a Rauck trey, all part of a 9-1 run.

Walker led South Central with 18 points, mainly by way of the 3-pointer. She sank two in the final quarter. Kaiser helped cut the Providence lead to 14 with four minutes to play, but Providence would outscore the Lady Rebels 7-2 the rest of the way.

"In the second half, the press was really effective, but the game got away from us again," Schoen said. "In the fourth quarter, the press got rolling again. We just got lost on defense a few times once we got the lead cut down to 10 or so. There were little mental lapses on defense we'll have to work on and get better at."

Rauck had an impressive game for the Lady Pioneers. The freshman recorded 21 points and 11 rebounds. She made her presence felt early, sinking a trey for the game's first points.

Hughes (15 points) and Bayley Wade (12 points) also reached double-figure scoring.

Schoen said he saw some bright spots with Walker and Nalley's scoring performance.

"I thought Jasmine came in and played a nice game for us," Schoen said. "Sabra is shooting the ball pretty well for us."

Much of the defensive attention for the Lady Pioneers went the direction of South Central's top returning player, Kelsey Miller. She was limited to five points.

"They really keyed off on Kelsey," Schoen said. "She's learning that will be the case a lot of times. Maybe once the other girls get going a few games, it will lighten up a little bit, but it probably won't. She's going to have to learn to go get hers."

South Central was led by its guards on the boards with O'Connor and Nalley pulling down eight each.

"We talked at half that Maddie was leading us in rebounds at that point," Schoen said. "There is no excuse for that. The other girls, other than our point guard, need to get on the boards. Jasmine is athletic enough and Sabra is long enough to go rebound. We have some things we really have to get better at."

The schedule hasn't been easy for South Central in the early going. The Lady Rebels' first three opponents, all above Class A, have a combined 12-4 record.

"We need to put a complete game together, then we have to put back-to-back complete games together," Schoen said. "The teams we're losing to aren't bad teams. We've lost to pretty dang good teams so far, but we have to get to where we compete better with them."

Bouncing back after the Thanksgiving holiday, South Central defeated Loogootee 49-48 Friday for its first victory. Miller led the Lady Rebels in scoring with 20 points, while fellow senior O'Connor had nine.

South Central will play a pair of games to round out the week. The Lady Rebels will play Friday at Tell City at 8 p.m. then return home to face Crothersville at 1:30 p.m. Saturday.

Twitter: @CoryDemSports

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