Start couldn’t be better for Lady Rebs
South Central coach Randall Schoen admitted he was unsure of the start he would get from his girls when the ball was tossed Saturday night against rival New Washington. Prior to the game, junior Shelby Miller was honored for her 1,000th career point, and many in the community came together for Breast Cancer Awareness.
Basketball, however, was quickly on the Lady Rebels’ mind when the game started. They raced out to an 18-2 start after the first quarter against the Southern Athletic Conference foe. South Central maintained that wide advantage throughout the game, paced by double-doubles from Abby Day and Miller to take down New Washington, 62-44.
‘We’ve come out the last few games with really good starts,’ Schoen said. ‘We like to think we are a pretty good defensive team, but we are more offense oriented. It helps defensively when you come out and score points like that.’
Katie Dennison and Day hit field goals, along with a Whitney Pease 3-pointer, to take a 7-0 lead early. New Washington scored its first point on a Lindsey Mudd free throw, but South Central continued to find the bottom of the net.
Aided by six offensive rebounds in the first quarter, Katie Saylor and Miller jumped in on the scoring. Miller hit a trey to put South Central up, 16-1, prompting New Washington’s second time out. Day then made a field goal to put South Central up 18-2 after the first quarter.
‘I was a little worried with all the festivities going on that they wouldn’t focus in, but they know how they need to come out against them,’ Schoen said. ‘I thought early in the game, our intensity level was a lot higher (than New Washington’s). You take the first quarter away, it’s a pretty good game.’
Miller scored two points to kick off the second quarter. The field goal caused New Washington coach Terry White to burn his third time out quickly. From that point, New Washington’s offense came to life when Chloe Franklin hit a 3-pointer. The Lady Mustangs kept pace with South Central through the quarter, but the Lady Rebels led 29-15 at the half.
Day scored six of South Central’s 10 points to start the second half, extending its lead to 39-17. New Washington cut the lead to 14 in the fourth quarter but never got closer.
‘I was really pleased the way we rebounded the ball,’ Schoen said. ‘I thought Abby was really a force in there early. She got a little winded late, but we just don’t have a lot of depth there.’
Day finished with 11 points and 10 rebounds. Miller led all scorers with 24 points and contributed 13 rebounds. Dennison also reached double-figure scoring with 14.
‘I thought Katie Dennison had a great game for us,’ Schoen said. ‘I started her that fourth quarter with four fouls, and the assistant coaches brought that to my attention. But I said these girls, come sectional time, need to learn to play with four fouls. We’re going to have our backs to the wall some nights when a lot of fouls are called. Dennison did a nice job responding to that pressure.’
New Washington was led in scoring by Casey Johnson’s 18 points. She was kept in check early in the game and scored 11 of her points in the final quarter.
‘We made a switch, putting Rachel Pease on Johnson, and I think it kept her off balance. I know Johnson tried to post her a few times, which is fine. We knew if they were posting her, we had them out of what they wanted to do,’ Schoen said.
South Central has progressed well in the second half of the season, and Schoen credits the hard work put in during practice.
‘Our guards have always been solid, but our post play has really come along,’ he said. ‘(Assistant coach) Cortnai Boone has really worked with these girls to not only score in the post but to defend the post better.’
The win puts South Central at 4-0 in the SAC, with a home game remaining against Borden on Saturday at 7:30 p.m. The Lady Rebels are guaranteed their seventh conference title in the last eight years.
South Central has two additional games this week. Tonight (Wednesday), it hosts Silver Creek at 7:30 and tomorrow the Lady Rebels travel to Rock Creek Academy, a varsity-only contest, that begins at 6 p.m.