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Rebels hit high marks in second half vs. NW

Rebels hit high marks in second half vs. NW
Rebels hit high marks in second half vs. NW
South Central junior Bobby Sampson picks the pocket of Dustin Cooper of New Washington in Saturday nightÂ’s semi-final matchup at the Class A Borden Sectional. Photo by Brian Smith (click for larger version)

The best offense can be a good defense, and going three periods without a turnover and giving a strong second-half defensive effort proved to be pivotal as South Central surged past New Washington, 53-43, Saturday night in the Class A Borden Sectional semi-final.
The Rebels (7-15) went through the first three quarters without committing a miscue while forcing 13 second-half turnovers against New Washington (1-21).
‘We just got lucky with the draw, and now we’re in the championship game,’ Ryan Crick, South Central’s first-year coach, said. ‘We told our kids this is a brand new season. We played well enough in spurts and our kids battled to get this win. The name of this game is survive and advance, and we gave ourselves a chance at a championship Monday evening.
‘We’re in uncharted waters. We’re just going to focus now on Borden and bust our butts to get ready for Monday night,’ he said.
After the Mustangs jumped ahead 4-0, the Rebels closed the first period with a 12-2 run capped by a steal-and-layup at the buzzer by junior Bobby Sampson to give the Rebels a 12-6 advantage at the end of the first period.
South Central extended its lead to seven after junior Kyle Pease dropped in a two-pointer at the 4:08 mark. But, from there, New Washington found life with several back-door screens.
Junior Tim Cochran notched three deuces in a 10-2 run in the final stages of the second quarter. The back-breaker was a bucket by Devin Burt with just a few seconds left in the half to give the Mustangs a 23-22 lead.
‘Instead of playing team ball, we were playing one-on-one and we weren’t hitting shots,’ Crick said. ‘When we don’t hit shots, our defense isn’t as good. We didn’t talk on the screens, and that’s something we addressed at halftime.’
The two clubs battled back and forth in the third period. With the contest knotted at 29-all, Pease sank a free throw, senior Alex Wiseman hit for two, junior Jason Boston notched a free throw and senior Mark O’Connor scored as time expired in the third to put the Rebels ahead, 35-29.
Junior Dustin Cooper hit a long triple to start the final stanza, but the three-point margin would be as close as New Washington got the rest of the way.
Sampson and Pease led all scorers with 17 and 14, respectively, with O’Connor marking six and Wiseman and Boston scoring five apiece.
South Central, which defeated New Washington a couple of weeks ago by a similar nine-point margin, shot 19-45 (42 percent) from the field and was 1-3 from the arc and 13-24 at the foul stripe. The Rebels had 26 rebounds (to New Washington’s 35) and committed just four turnovers, all in the fourth quarter.
New Washington was 18-41 (43 percent) from the field, was 4-16 from three-point land and got to the line only five times, converting three. The Mustangs had 19 turnovers overall.
The Mustangs were paced by the 12 points of Ian Hughes.
The game was postponed to Saturday due to tornadic weather Friday, which affected the towns of Pekin, Borden and Henryville. A collection box brought in $1,750 for victims of the storm.