|Wed, Apr 16, 2014 06:30 AM
February 12, 2014 | 10:37 AM
In a rematch of the Class A Sectional final from a year ago, New Washington came away Thursday night with another win against Southern Athletic Conference rival South Central 48-37.
While this season's version of the rivalry took place Thursday part of a make-up game due to a cancellation in late January, both teams had to keep notes throughout this time around. They were slated to meet in the opening game of the Class A New Washington Sectional last night (Tuesday).
South Central's Maddie O'Connor prepares to fire off a 3-point attempt Thursday against New Washington. Photo by Brian Smith (click for larger version)
"It's a tough game because we turn around and play them again," South Central coach Randall Schoen said.
Thursday's game, however, was a game led by the host Lady Mustangs for much of the way. Outside of an early first-quarter edge for the Lady Rebels, New Washington was able to see its lead grow to 13 points late.
South Central had plenty of runs in an attempt to take the lead in the second and third quarters but never reached the positive side of the scoreboard.
"We didn't have the effort we needed," Schoen said. "I downplayed it, too, saying this game doesn't mean anything because of playing them in sectional next week. I had to tell them at halftime I didn't mean to not play hard. It should mean something to the players no matter what. We had a few that didn't play with much energy."
One of the Lady Rebels showing energy, especially from beyond the arc, was Maddie O'Connor. The guard hit a triple early and scored off an offensive board to give her team a 5-3 lead.
From that point in the first quarter, New Washington closed on a 9-0 run. Seven of the points came on second-chance opportunities, including put-backs by Kaitlyn Schindler and Courtney Amick.
Despite New Washington's 12-5 lead after one, O'Connor drilled another trey. Jasmine Nalley came up with a loose rebound then swung a pass through Sabra Walker to find O'Connor open.
Walker got in on the act as well, using an assist from Kelsey Miller to nail a three, cutting New Washington's lead to one, 12-11.
The rest of the half, New Washington's Ashley Johnson took over. She finished with a game-high 18 points, with 11 of those coming in the second quarter. The points led to a 24-18 Lady Mustangs lead at the break.
"Johnson is a real good ball player," Schoen said. "I told the girls at half that one time we didn't block her out on a rebound and Johnson spun around and got it. Another time when she was shooting free throws, she went right down the lane and grabbed her own rebound. It's not because she is so athletic and quick, rather her playing with more heart."
South Central was able to hang through the early parts of the second half. A run of Lady Rebel points by Victoria Sallee and O'Connor trimmed New Washington's lead to 31-27, forcing a time out by the home team with 1:14 left in the third.
Responding to the time out, New Wash closed the quarter with eight straight points, including two straight 3-pointers.
New Washington was able to maintain the wide margin the rest of the way to win its fifth straight over South Central in the series.
"We have a little bit of soul searching before (yesterday) to see if we are ready to do this," Schoen said. "We've had it off and on. I've told the girls I've seen a sectional championship team in the locker room this year. It just isn't sitting there every night."
O'Connor led the Lady Rebels in scoring with 14 points, followed by 10 from Miller. Kaiser and Walker had four points each.
"Maddie had good energy and Chelsey Kaiser did inside, too," Schoen said. "The couple times we were able to get the ball to Chelsey, she was able to finish a couple times."
South Central bounced back to end the regular season Saturday on a high note, defeating Crothersville 57-27.
The Lady Rebels faced New Washington last night (Tuesday) in the Class A New Washington Sectional. The winner will face Christian Academy of Indiana Friday night at 7:30 p.m.
South Central 5 12 10 10 – 37
New Washington 12 12 15 9 – 48
South Central (6-14, 1-3 SAC) – O'Connor 14, Miller 10, Walker 4, Kaiser 4, Sallee 3, Nalley 2.
New Washington (10-8, 3-2) – Johnson 18, Amick 11, Abbott 8, Haymaker 3, Holloway 3, Tye 3, Schindler 2.
3-point goals – South Central 5 (O'Connor 2, Miller 2, Walker); New Washington 6 (Amick 3, Johnson, Holloway, Tye).