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Lady Rebels close strong, come up short in final

Lady Rebels close strong, come up short in final
Lady Rebels close strong, come up short in final
South Central senior Megan Sherrard earns a hug from assistant coach Scott Schoen after fouling out in the closing minute of the regional final. (Photo by Brian Smith)

The No. 1 team in the state, Vincennes Rivet, closed the door late on South Central, not allowing the Lady Rebels to reach the lead in a battle for the Class A North Daviess Regional title Saturday night. Rivet (22-1) hung on to a slim lead through the second half, fending off Lady Rebel attempts for a lead change to end South Central’s run, 55-44.
From the opening tip until the end, South Central played catch-up but never got over the top.
The loss ended South Central’s season among the final eight schools at 12-12.
‘To me, (a regional final) doesn’t gratify the record, but I’ve won enough games. I just want to win the championships,’ South Central coach Randall Schoen said after the game. ‘But for this group, it is gratifying for them because they have heard a lot during the year, hearing people say they weren’t as good as they were in previous years. But they showed what heart and overcoming adversity through the year could lead us to.’
South Central turned the ball over eight times in the first quarter, but South Central’s Whitney Pease kept her team close, hitting a 3-pointer to tie the game at 13. Consecutive baskets from Casandra Brocksmith gave Rivet a 17-13 lead at the end of the first quarter.
Rivet expanded its lead to 22-13 early in the second quarter behind a Sara Young 3-pointer. South Central again didn’t waiver, as Megan Sherrard hit a 3-pointer to start a 7-2 run, putting the Lady Rebels back within four.
Taking better care of the ball in the second quarter, South Central picked up defensive pressure. After Katie Dennison put in a field goal, cutting the Rivet lead to 26-22, South Central appeared to have its biggest stop of the first half. Holding the ball for the last shot, South Central cut off a set-play designed for Young, but the sophomore guard fed the ball back to Brocksmith, who then put up a 25-foot 3-pointer that found the bottom of the net at the buzzer. That gave Rivet a 29-22 edge at half. The Rivet sophomore scored 13 of her 15 points in the first half.
‘We defended that last shot, but it was a tough shot with Shelby’s hand in her face and she hit it,’ Schoen said. ‘You have to tip your hat to her.’
The momentum of the deep 3-pointer ended in the locker room. South Central opened the third quarter with a 6-1 run, pulling within two points, 30-28. Kirsten Kingsley scored on an offensive put-back, and Shelby Miller and Sherrard scored a field goal each during the quick start.
‘We responded well,’ Schoen said. ‘We had the ball and turned it over the first possession. But we responded to that, too, by cutting it to two. Later on, we had it at two for three or four possessions, but we just didn’t get the job done.’
Rivet responded by getting to the charity stripe. In the second half, the Lady Patriots made just three field goals but got to the line 26 times. All six of their third-quarter points came from the line, giving them a 35-28 lead.
A pair of quick 3-pointers kept South Central close in the final quarter. Dennison and Pease connected from beyond the arc, getting the team within two again at 36-34. Rivet answered with an Erin Wehrheim put-back.
Later in the quarter, Young hit a 3-pointer with 3:02 to play, putting Rivet up 47-39. Kingsley fired back with a successful 3-pointer for the Lady Rebels, but from that point on, South Central managed two points in the final 2:48. During the span, the Lady Patriots went 8 of 12 at the line, icing the game.
Rivet took care of the ball all night, turning the ball over seven times. South Central’s half-court defense helped keep the Rivet shooting percentage at 34 percent.
‘I thought Megan disrupted Young and did a great job on her,’ Schoen said. ‘Other than her, we didn’t disrupt a whole lot of what they were doing.’
South Central overcame eight first quarter turnovers to finish with 14 miscues for the game.
‘We talked about attacking their press,’ Schoen said. ‘We meant to do it with the dribble, but early on we were too close to the baseline and we turned the ball over a couple times. We told the girls coming in that we were going to turn the ball over, but we can’t let it devastate us. I thought we could turn them over more than we did, but we didn’t.’
Pease led South Central in scoring with 11 points. Sherrard, a senior, scored 10 points while doing a solid job of holding Young to eight points. Kingsley scored seven points, and Miller was also held to seven.
‘We’ve always had girls lately that have stepped up for us,’ Schoen said. ‘Tonight, we had girls step up. We needed Shelby more offensively, but she had a lot on her breaking the press and drawing a tough defensive assignment.’
Elizabeth Kellor led Rivet in scoring with 16 points, 12 coming from the foul line.
South Central graduates four seniors, including starters Paige Kingsley, Kirsten Kingsley and Sherrard, along with Brittany Hornickle.
‘We’re losing four great seniors that were great leaders all year for us,’ Schoen said. ‘They are great role models. I think more importantly, they showed the younger girls what it takes to get here. We will bounce back next year, ready to make another run.’
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