Austin frosh help slug No. 1 South, 70-55
The only player on South Central’s roster to bring up the team’s 69-63 loss to Austin in the 2003-2004 edition of the Southern Indiana Tip-Off Tournament was senior Karen Deaton.
‘Some of the girls said before the game how they’d never won the Tip-Off Tournament and how we were in position to,’ South coach Randall Schoen said. ‘Then Karen chimed in and said, ‘I’ve won one.’ ‘
Deaton, who was a freshman for Austin in its only other SITT title, sat out her third straight game with a knee injury and could only watch from the sidelines as the Lady Rebels were out-hustled and out-muscled by Austin on Saturday in Charlestown, 70-55.
South, which came into the game ranked preseason No. 1 by the Indiana Coaches of Girls Sports Association, fell behind early, led by three at the intermission, then wilted in the second half after the Lady Eagles used a 13-4 run to start the third quarter. Austin, which started hit its free throws down the stretch (16 of 22 in the fourth quarter) to cap the victory.
Austin held South’s leading scorer, Brittany Schoen, to just two points in the first half using box-and-one and double-team defenses.
‘I’m probably the one to blame on us losing,’ Coach Schoen said. ‘We have some sets in to counter that and this year we hadn’t worked on that yet. We just didn’t make very good adjustments to everything. We’ve seen that stuff before when we had Rachel (Dixon) here. I felt like we made some adjustments at halftime and (Austin) did a good job changing what they were doing.’
After Austin’s Tasha Taylor opened the game with a bucket inside, South sophomore Megan Sherrard bombed a triple, hit a deuce and recorded an assist on a nice pass into the low post to senior teammate Kaela Orwick to take a 7-4 lead.
‘Karen’s out right now, so we threw Megan into the middle of things. We were hoping she’d be able to come along kind of easy, but she’s had to step up and go,’ Schoen said. ‘She’d been showing signs of improving every game, and with the way they jumped all over Brittany, it was a good thing she got going for us.’
The two clubs swapped points until Chelsea Jones’ three-pointer with 40 seconds left bounced three times on the rim before falling through. Austin led, 14-11.
The tussle continued in the second frame as this time junior Candice Cartwright stepped up for South with three triples. Senior Sarah Yelch helped out with a couple of free throws (she was 6-6 for the night) as the Lady Rebels pulled ahead in the final minute on a Cartwright three, 28-26.
‘(Candice) is going to get a lot of open looks and so far she’s been doing a nice job for us,’ Schoen said.
Austin’s 13-4 spurt in the third quarter ‘ helped along by seven South turnovers ‘ proved to be the turning point of the game.
The run started with a three-ball by Brittany Smith and ended with a lay-in by Katy McIntosh. Austin’s mastery of South’s press led to several transition buckets. After a three by junior Brittany Schoen trimmed the deficit to 39-35, Ashley Dowling swished a three from the left side at the buzzer to put Austin up 42-35.
‘Our press is never effective early in the season, and looking back I probably shouldn’t have tried to do that because we were pretty tired,’ Schoen said. ‘I don’t want to use that as an excuse, but I think that’s what happened. We tried to press more and gave up a lot of layups. We probably should have backed off and played half-court defense. When we kept them out of transition, they weren’t quite as effective.’
Another 12-2 run by the Lady Eagles effectively put the game out of reach for South Central. The closest the club came the rest of the way was 12 points.
South Central was just 17 of 61 (28 percent) from the floor and went 6-29 (20 percent) from beyond the arc. During its comeback attempt, the squad was 2-15 on threes in the final quarter.
The two clubs were nearly awash when it came to rebounds (43-42 in favor of Austin) and turnovers (20 for Austin; 21 for South).
Schoen, who was the only player from South to score in the third period, struggled from the field but still wound up with a game-high 20 points (18 in the second half). Cartwright put in 13 points, and Sherrard scored 11.
Freshman Katy McIntosh, who was voted the tourney’s MVP, scored 16 points and was 10 of 17 at the line to pace Austin. Jones, who is also a freshman, had 14 points, and Goodin (another freshman) added 11. Dowling ‘ yes, a freshman ‘ finished with 10 points.
Austin shot 22 of 55 (40 percent) from the field and drained seven of 21 three-point tries.
Schoen said the loss will remove some of the burden of being ranked No. 1 in the state.
‘Losing to Austin isn’t going to hurt us. We’ve never won this thing before and we’ve been pretty successful. I’d rather be in the middle of the floor in February celebrating a sectional,’ Schoen said. ‘Maybe this will make us a little bit more hungry again.’
South returns to the hardwood Friday as it hosts Springs Valley. The jayvee game tips off at 6 p.m.
— Results from an MRI taken last week on Deaton’s knee confirmed a tear of the anterior cruciate ligament, suffered in the season-opening victory against Paoli last week.
‘We’ve been told there’s a way she can put a brace on it and play after a couple of weeks, but doing the surgery or not is up to her,’ Schoen said. ‘We don’t want to risk completely damaging something and that leading to something further down the road out of high school. But it’s her last year and knowing the type of competitor she is, she may give it a go.’
Deaton was the team’s second-leading scorer last season, averaging 9.1 points, 2.5 rebounds and 2.1 assists. Her effort in the title game of last year’s Southwestern Regional was vital in the team’s 49-46 upset of N.E. Dubois.
Southern Indiana Tip-off Tournament All-Tourney ‘ MVP ‘ Katy McIntosh (Austin); Team ‘ C. Jones (A), T. Taylor (A), Brittany Schoen (SC), Candice Cartwright (SC), Burgin (NW), Carlisle (Ch), Erin Harbeson (L), A. Turner (Pa), Thomas (Pr), Spainhour (Cl).