Turner’s lay-in lifts Lady Rebels
Drama filled the end of regulation, followed by overtime, when South Central visited county and Southern Athletic Conference rival Lanesville last Tuesday.
The final minute of regulation was back and forth with the final shot, a second-chance attempt by Kelsey Miller, waived off by officials for coming just after the buzzer. Tied at 41, the game headed for overtime with Lady Rebel Samantha Turner sinking a game-winning layup with four seconds left to give South Central a 46-45 victory.
‘It’s a good win, and one we needed right now,’ South Central coach Randall Schoen said. ‘We’ve struggled, but it’s nice to get back to winning.’
South Central took a 44-41 lead via a Turner jumper and a single free throw from Haley Shaffer. Held scoreless for a long stretch of the overtime, Lanesville cracked the book with a Mahailey Hall score off a long rebound. Following a South Central turnover, Lanesville’s Kayla Smith drove baseline and put in the go-ahead bucket with 25 seconds left.
Down 45-44, Turner took the last shot, a left-handed layup in the lane to put the Lady Rebels ahead. Lanesville’s desperate attempt at a half-court shot at the buzzer fell short.
‘We’re the heartbreaker team right now. Problem is, we’re breaking our own hearts,’ Lanesville coach Madeline Richards said. ‘I’m dying inside, as are the players. We want to win so bad. We battled and battled to the end.’
With less than three minutes remaining in regulation, Lanesville trailed 38-33. Three-pointers from Emma Bays and Brooklynn Keinsley gave Lanesville a 39-38 advantage with 1:23 to play.
Then Turner and Smith traded clutch shots late in the game. Turner took an assist from Miller to drill a trey with 49 seconds left to put South Central on top 41-39. Smith responded later with another drive to the hoop to knot the game at 41 with 22 seconds left.
‘Turner stepped up and hit a three and late in the game; she was aggressive getting to the rim,’ Schoen said. ‘We still made a lot of silly mistakes with the ball, but, at the end, we made some big shots.’
In five of the eight losses in a current losing streak, the Lady Eagles were within two possession of winning late in the contests.
‘We’ve been so close,’ Richards said. ‘This is the fifth game where we’ve been within five points or less at the end. I’m proud of the effort. Kayla had a clutch shot to re-take the lead. She was a senior who stepped up and did what seniors do.’
South Central, meanwhile, snapped a five-game losing streak with the win despite struggling from the charity stripe. The Lady Rebels went 8 of 25 from the line.
‘If we hit free throws, it’s not as close of a game late,’ Schoen said. ‘We struggled on offense like we have all year. We’re a team that makes runs and plays well in spurts. We didn’t play well or hard at certain parts of the game. Problem has been the spurts are too far between one another.’
Neither team had a lead larger than three through the first half; however, in the third quarter, Lanesville put together a run that launched them to a 29-20 lead. Erica Daly, who finished with 10 points and 16 rebounds, scored six points as part of an 11-2 run to start the frame.
‘Erica goes in there and does what she’s asked,’ Richards said. ‘She’s a beast on the boards and puts rebounding on her back.’
South Central closed the third quarter on an 8-2 run with points coming from Turner and Miller.
‘We’re doing several things better as a team,’ Richards said. ‘When we had confidence in the second and third quarter, we let up and took a breath. That let (South Central) get back into the game when we could have extended our lead.’
Both teams struggled in the turnover category. South Central committed 22, while Lanesville had 24.
Turner led all scorers with 19 points, with all but two coming in the second half and overtime. Miller pitched in 17 points along with four fourth-quarter steals.
‘Kelsey had a nice game and made a few mistakes she shouldn’t have,’ Schoen said. ‘She’s only a sophomore but will learn from those mistakes. She guarded real well in the second half, but we need to have that from her the entire game. She’ll have to be smart about it and not draw fouls.’
Smith finished with a team-best 15 points for Lanesville, while Keinsley contributed eight points.
Lanesville dropped to 2-11 and 0-3 in SAC play, while South Central improved to 3-9 overall and 2-1 in the SAC.
Up next for the Lady Eagles will be a Friday-Saturday doubleheader on the road. They play at Rock Creek Academy on Friday night (7:30) and at New Harmony on Saturday (2 p.m.).
South Central will hit the floor again on Tuesday, Jan. 17, when they play at Floyd Central.