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Issue of September 17, 2014
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January 22, 2014 | 02:05 PM

Trailing by as many as 15 points Monday against Henryville, South Central cut the Lady Hornets' lead to five with six minutes to play.

The rest of the way, South Central was held to two additional field goals, while Henryville put on a shooting clinic at the charity stripe. Netting 13 of 14 free throws in the final four minutes, the Lady Hornets defeated South Central, 57-48, in Southern Athletic Conference action in Elizabeth.

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South Central's Chelsey Kaiser draws attention from a pair of Henryville players, including Tami Burgin (15), while going up for a shot Monday. Photo by Brian Smith (click for larger version)
"We were pretty consistent offensively across four quarters, but we didn't play enough good defense," South Central coach Randall Schoen said.

Henryville went ahead, 44-32, when Tami Burgin scored a field goal.

Surging with its closing run, South Central tried to get going when Sabra Walker hit a 3-pointer. Her effort was coupled with scoring inside on a pass from Chelsey Kaiser. The South Central run grew to 7-0 when Kaiser scored on a put-back.

Seven unanswered points brought the Lady Rebels withing five points, 44-39, the closest margin since the early stages of the contest. From that point, the Lady Rebels went cold from the field.

Henryville hit six straight freebies, including four from Emma Hendricks, to go ahead by 11. Walker broke the drought for South Central with a triple with 1:40 to play, helping cut the margin to 50-43.

At the line, the Lady Hornets were nearly masterful in the final quarter. They sank 13 straight before the final attempt by Emily Hollis rimmed out.

Both teams struggled to keep possession for much of the game. Henryville turned the ball over 26 times, while the Lady Rebels coughed it up 21.

Although the Lady Hornets tallied several miscues, they were able to break South Central's press for easy buckets in the opening quarter.

Hollis, who finished with 24 points, dished a trio of assists to Hendricks for lay-ins in the early going on the breaks. Hendricks scored 12 of her 17 points in the opening quarter, mainly benefiting from beating the Lady Rebels down the floor for points in the paint.

"We started out trying to press with a 1-2-1-1, and they scored layup after layup because we weren't sprinting back," Schoen said. "They'd throw over our initial trap, and we didn't recognize we needed to get back. We dug a hole early and couldn't get out of it."

Henryville took a 10-1 lead early before a run of field goals by Kelsey Miller and Jasmine Nalley brought the Lady Rebels within five, 12-7.

For the game, Henryville hit only two 3-pointers, but those came at key times. To end the first quarter, Hollis swished a trey at the buzzer to make the score 19-9. In similar fashion, Sadie Spears made hers at the end of the second quarter to maintain a 10-point lead (31-21).

"Giving up the three before the half was big for them," Schoen said. "I felt like we were getting some momentum at the time."

Henryville led by as many as 15 in the third quarter before South Central started its comeback attempt.

South Central put four players in the score book, led by Miller's 17. Nalley and Walker had 11 points each, while Kaiser chipped in nine.

Kaiser was a bright spot for the Lady Rebels; she pulled down eight rebounds in the post.

"We've always been more of a perimeter-oriented team, and now we're starting to look to the post more in practice," Schoen said. "I really think Kaiser can finish, but we're struggling to get her the ball in right spots."

Schoen said part of developing more of an inside game is to counter the defenses they've seen in an attempt to slow 1,000-point scorer Miller.

"We're going to see a lot of junk defenses to try and take away the things we want to do," Schoen said. "We talked in practice to look for Kaiser more, but we'll have to get better at swinging the ball to find those spots."

Henryville moved to 4-0 in SAC play, while South Central slipped to 1-1. It was the third straight win for the Lady Hornets over South Central.

The game was part of a Coaches vs. Cancer benefit with coaches wearing specially made cancer awareness T-shirts. Players from South Central wore pink breast cancer awareness socks along with bright pink shoelaces.

Prior to the varsity tip, those who had been affected by cancer gathered at mid-court along with players and coaches.

South Central will return to SAC action Saturday when the Lady Rebels play at New Washington at 7:30 p.m. They'll return home Jan. 29 to face Silver Creek.

Henryville 19 12 11 15 – 57

South Central 9 12 11 16 – 48

Henryville (9-7, 4-0 SAC) – Hollis 24, Hendricks 17, Robertson 6, Spears 3, Dallas 3, Burgin 2, Nunn 2.

South Central (5-11, 1-1) – Miller 17, Nalley 11, Walker 11, Kaiser 9.

3-point goals – Henryville 2 (Hollis, Spears); South Central 3 (Walker 3).

Twitter: @CoryDemSports

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