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Issue of October 22, 2014
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March 05, 2014 | 01:03 PM

The night before the Oscars, the South Central boys' basketball team could have been up for a few awards after its performance against visiting Washington Catholic.

South Central's Nick Veith goes nearly horizontal in an effort to grab an offensive rebound around a pair of Washington Catholic players Saturday. Photo by Brian Smith (click for larger version)
Best score? 10 threes a-plenty

Best mixing? Elizabeth Steals Club

Best picture? Rebel Hustle

Putting together deadly long-range shooting and forcing the Cardinals into 29 turnovers along with scrappiness through defensive play, South Central put together an award-worthy performance.

"We went into this game knowing (Washington Catholic) struggles with pressure from the film we watched," South Central coach Ryan Crick said. "We thought we could simulate that and, overall, we did a pretty good job."

Holding Washington Catholic to seven points in the first half helped propel the Rebels to a 64-30 victory in their final game of the regular season. After the game, guard Nathan Shaffer capped off his 15-point performance with a royal ending: being crowned homecoming king. He came off the bench to bury five triples in his last home performance.

Due to approaching inclement weather, South Central granted Washington Catholic's request of having a matinee start. Moving the start time from 7:30 p.m. for the varsity to 5:30 may not have saved spectators a buck, but they were treated to a lightning-fast action start.

To get things going inside, Zack Goodwin put in a pair of buckets early against Washington Catholic's zone defense. Swiping steals on three straight possessions, Nick Wemes and Goodwin were thieves in the backcourt. A steal by Goodwin led to a series of give-and-goes before Wemes finished off a lay-in.

Steals by Wemes happened six times, with consecutive efforts resulting in easy buckets after Goodwin's pick.

Heading toward the end of the period, Shaffer came up big with his second trey of the quarter. Benefiting from a few extra passes, the senior guard was left open to drain a right-corner bomb.

"I was very proud of our guys of the way they came out of the gates and played," Crick said. "They were unselfish with the basketball. When we had a guy hitting, we were able to find him. Early in the game we established our inside game with Zack finishing."

At the end of the opening quarter, the Rebels were well ahead with a 20-2 lead, gaining approval from the Rebel faithful.

The second quarter wasn't as lethal on the offensive end for the Rebels, but picking the Cardinals' pockets led to more easy chances. Wemes had two transition field goals after coming up with steals, along with one from Goodwin.

Another triple by Shaffer vaulted South Central to a 31-7 halftime lead. The Rebels forced 15 turnovers in the opening quarter.

"Whenever Nick plays aggressive and finishes, we are good," Crick said. "He had 15 tonight and was six of eight from the field. How many of those were within two feet?"

Washington Catholic's best quarter came in the third, riding the tuxedo tail of Brandon Strange. Off the bench, he led the team with 10 points, nine coming in the third, even converting a four-point play.

South Central's response? A James Bond-like performance, shooting long-range efforts from beyond the arc and through the twine.

Six 3-pointers fell through in the third quarter. Wemes knocked down the first followed by the still-hot Shaffer. Then fellow senior Ben Cunningham got into the act. Catching and shooting, the forward netted four 3-pointers with each forcing the Rebels' student section to fall backward on one another in unison.

"They hit a couple of 3s," Crick said. "Nathan Shaffer in particular knocked down five of nine (from 3-point range), and Ben was four of six. Those two were the guys hitting for us."

The performance didn't go without some criticism. Seven Rebel turnovers in the fourth quarter led to 15 for the game. The number was off from the single digits Crick aimed for.

"We had goals tonight of holding them under 30 percent shooting and under 40 points, and we had them at 33 percent and 30 points," Crick said. "It's disheartening a little bit because we wanted to stay under double-digit turnovers; we threw that away late."

Wemes and Shaffer led all scorers with 15 points. Dishing five assists, Wemes was able to get teammates involved. Cummingham closed with 14 points, while Goodwin tallied eight points and four assists. Owen Shewmaker was strong on the glass, pulling down nine rebounds.

With the early start, the day was filled for the team.

A red carpet of sorts, the Rebels spent the morning practicing for the Class A Sectional on Borden's floor before a team lunch on Saturday.

"We went up to Borden and got a good hour in," Crick said. "We went and ate together, then, I didn't have them come back until right before the JV game started. Getting them out of bed helped a lot."

The regular season ends for the Rebels, who have won three of four games, improving to 6-16.

"You throw out the Corydon game, and we've won three in a row," Crick said. "Now, it's everyone is 0-0. It doesn't matter your record; anything can happen."

South Central was slated to play Rock Creek Academy last night (Tuesday) in the opening round of postseason play. The winner moves on to Friday's semi-final to take on defending state champion Borden at 6 p.m.

Wash. Catholic 2 5 15 8 – 30

South Central 20 11 21 12 – 64

Washington Catholic (4-15) – Strange 10, Sellers 9, Taylor 4, Mitchell 3, Wichman 2, Brown 2.

South Central (6-16) – Shaffer 15, Wemes 15, Cunningham 14, Goodwin 8, Day 4, Shewmaker 4, Veith 2, Sullivan 2.

3-point goals – Washington Catholic 3 (Strange 2, Sellers); South Central 10 (Shaffer 5, Cunningham 4, Wemes).


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