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‘Stangs snap South’s sectional streak

One may be lonely.
Two might be company.
But three proved to be no charm for South Central’s girls basketball team at Saturday night’s championship game of the Class 1A New Washington Sectional.
The 8th-ranked Lady Rebels, who started out as pre-season No. 1 after last year’s trek to a runner-up finish in the Class 1A state final, were facing off against the sectional hosts for the third time this season.
The first two meetings, which were also played on the Lady Mustang’s home turf, went to South, which won by three in the most recent matchup (53-50) last month, and by one (55-54) during the Southern Indiana Tip-Off Classic.
The old adage about the difficulty of defeating a team three times in a season proved to ring true in Saturday’s war.
New Washington head coach Terry White had never lost a sectional game in the 4-class era, and he was able to keep his streak alive by guiding his club to a three-point victory, 57-54, despite a 35-point night by South’s tourney MVP, Brittany Schoen.
The outcome snapped the Lady Rebels’ streak of four consecutive championships.
It was the fifth time since the inception of class basketball that the two teams had collided in the sectional. The first meeting came in the first season of class in 1998. New Washington dunked South, 60-35, in the semi-final round. Round II came in 2000, which New Washington won, 66-40, in the only other lopsided battle of the series. The Lady Mustangs won Round III in 2001, 51-47, with South finally breaking through for a victory in 2004, 67-66.
New Washington (17-8) faces No. 7-ranked Jac-Cen-Del (18-4) in Saturday’s Southwestern (Shelby) Regional. The other game pits 2006 regional finalist N.E. Dubois (17-6) against Waldron (17-5).
‘This team has faced pressure all year and for the most part, they’ve handled it well,’ South coach Randall Schoen said. ‘They started out as pre-season No. 1 and lost early to Austin, then battled back. Karen Deaton tore her ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) early on and she battled back. We had some girls get sick this year and they battled back. I thought the game sort of got away from us in the third quarter, but we battled back. That’s what this team has done all season. We just ran out of time there at the end.
‘I think maybe after the past four years, we’d become too used to winning this and maybe didn’t work as hard. I probably deserve a little bit of the blame, too, because maybe I didn’t push them a little harder. But we’ll be back and hopefully the girls will remember what this feels like and will want to put the extra time in so they don’t have to feel this way again.’
The two teams swapped threes to start the game, led off by a bomb by the hosts’ Emma Burgin. Schoen countered with a trey, followed by a triple by New Washington’s Ivy Ivers, followed again by a three by Deaton.
Deaton and Schoen knocked down two more threes to tie the game at 12, but New Washington’s Jillian Charlet scored four unanswered points to the first quarter buzzer to push her team ahead, 16-12.
The Lady Rebels (19-6) rallied to start the second period, with Candice Cartwright hitting a jumper from the left wing, and Schoen burying another three for a 17-16 lead.
Charlet hit two frees, which were chased by a deuce by South’s Kaela Orwick.
New Washington took the lead for good at the 3:21 mark of the quarter on another inside bucket by Charlet.
Ivers came through again for her club with back-to-back threes around a Schoen triple, giving the Mustangs a 26-23 lead at the intermission.
The back-breaker for South Central came in the third period, where the Lady Rebels hit just one field goal (another Schoen three) over the eight-minute stretch and fell behind by seven, 38-31, heading into the final frame.
One of South’s last gasps came courtesy of Cartwright, who dropped in two unanswered triples after hitting just one of her previous 12 attempts in the sectional.
After the Lady Rebels got within striking distance, 38-37, New Washington came through with a 12-5 run to hold a 50-43 lead.
Schoen scored 12 points in the final 1:27, including two frees to make it 57-54 with a half-minute remaining.
New Washington turned the ball over, and South frantically tried to run an offense. With eight ticks left, Schoen called a time out.
‘I think we kind of panicked there and looking back I probably should have called it sooner,’ he said. ‘Eight seconds doesn’t give you a whole lot of time to set something up for a quick shot, and hopefully a rebound and another shot in case you miss. Still, I felt pretty confident about our chances.’
Schoen was able to get a shot off over Emma and Callie Burgin, but the 21-footer was a touch long, and time expired before another attempt could be made.
Charlet led New Washington’s scoring punch with 16 points, followed by 13 by Ivers and 10 from Jenna Sexton. Callie Burgin came through with nine points and 10 boards.
Schoen wound up with 35 points (17 in the final eight minutes), hitting six threes, pulling down seven rebounds, dishing out five assists and coming away with five steals and three deflections.
Cartwright scored nine, Deaton had six and Kaela Orwick and Megan Sherrard each tacked on two points.
Neither club shot particularly well, with South hitting 17 of 59 (29 percent) from the field and New Washington dropping in 18 of 49 (37 percent).
The Lady Mustangs won the battle of the boards, 35-28.
For the sectional, South Central shot 58-190 (30 percent) from the field, 17 of 52 from beyond the arc (33 percent) and 27 of 45 at the foul line (60 percent).
‘We just beat ourselves,’ Schoen said. ‘We needed to hit free throws and hit a few more shots, and we just didn’t do it.
‘Down the stretch in the regular season against Borden and Silver Creek and Salem, we shot the ball really well and I thought we were where we needed to be going into the tournament. Then, in the days leading up to it, we couldn’t hit anything in practice.’
S.C. 41, Henryville 40
The Lady Rebels nudged Henryville by a single point in the sectional semi-final on Friday, but it wasn’t without a bit of controversy.
With 34 seconds left in the game and Henryville leading, 40-39, Lady Hornet sophomore Katie Spellman toed the line for two foul shots. After the first attempt rolled off the left side of the rim, the officials inexplicably let play continue. The ball was passed ahead to Schoen, who was whistled for traveling with 26.7 seconds to go.
The referees realized the free throw error, and allowed Spellman to put up her second attempt, which bounced off to the right. Again, the rebound was grabbed by the Lady Rebels.
‘I would have liked for her to be able to step up there for her two attempts and be able to shoot one right after the other,’ said Henryville coach Brian Guernsey. ‘It’s a lot easier going to that stripe when you know you’ve got two shots. Even if you miss the first, you know you’ve got a second. She had to go back up there after a wild possession with her adrenaline pumping again. That’s a tough situation to be in.’
After the rebound, Schoen came through with a drive through the paint. She missed the lay-up, but in the ensuing battle for the rebound, Henryville’s Brooklyn Guthrie was whistled for being over the back.
The official who made the call erroneously said Schoen would be the foul shooter.
‘I didn’t get touched,’ the junior guard admitted. ‘I wasn’t even involved in the play. When (the referee) looked at me and said I was the shooter, I was like, ‘Oh … my … gosh.’ ‘
Schoen’s two attempts found nothing but net.
Henryville’s first attempt at the win was an off-balance runner by Maggie Gilstrap that was off the mark. After regaining possession, the Lady Hornets worked for one final shot, however Spellman’s pass to Erin Mohler (a former South Central student) was fumbled. Orwick came up with the loose ball to secure the victory.
Schoen scored 17, while Deaton and Cartwright added 10 apiece.
Deaton had a personal 8-2 run (including two threes and a steal and lay-in) to kick off the fourth quarter, which rallied South from a 34-31 deficit to a 39-36 lead.
‘Those threes were huge for us,’ Schoen said. ‘I’m not sure what we would have done without those.’
Mohler wound up with 19 points, and Gilstrap scored 17 on 7-11 shooting for Henryville (12-12).
South opened play with a 65-22 blowout of Restoration Christian (3-20), a game in which all but one Lady Rebel scored.
Schoen scored 20, Deaton had eight, Orwick and Kayla Hurley each had six and Kristin Schaffer added five. Rounding out the scoring line for South were Sarah Yelch, and Paige and Kirstin Kingsley (four apiece), Cartwright and Sherrard (three each) and Hannah Luedtke (two). Though she didn’t score, Kayla Money had two boards, two steals and a block in the win.
Restoration was powered by a triple-double by senior Elana Eickholtz, who had 10 points, 10 blocks and 10 rebounds.