Timely shots by Lady Pioneers sedate South
Points in the paint are a statistic some basketball junkies like to look at to determine how many high percentage looks a team gets during the course of a game.
For South Central, converting those opportunities last Wednesday hampered them in the first half, creating an early deficit to Providence. In the pre-turkey game, South Central crept within a point in the final quarter but never took the lead and eventually lost 43-36.
The sloppy play early around the basket and the 13 turnovers didn’t come as a surprise to South Central coach Randall Schoen. Practice hadn’t been up to par the day before, causing the coach to end it abruptly.
‘We had a rough Tuesday practice, and I threw them out with five minutes to go,’ Schoen said. ‘It just got sloppier and sloppier. We come out here and this is what you get.’
Missing several chances under the hoop limited the Lady Rebels offense in the opening half. Providence opened with a 6-0 advantage then extended it to 11-3 when Lillian Hughes converted a 3-point play.
South Central needed a steal and free throws from Kelsey Miller to cut Providence’s lead to 14-7 after the first quarter. Opening the second quarter, Maddison O’Connor put in a triple. Firing back, Providence hit consecutive 3s from Meredith Endris and Nichole Tucker to grow the Lady Pioneer lead to 10.
A drive to the hoop by Sabra Walker and five points from Samantha Turner trimmed the halftime deficit to 23-17 for the Lady Rebels.
The lack of scoring inside frustrated Schoen.
‘Until we get to the point where we can score in the post, teams will play a zone, extend out to take the 3 away from us,’ Schoen said. ‘In the first half, I thought we had all kinds of opportunities in the paint. That was the difference in the game.’
Work has been put in during practice inside the paint, the transition to the game has been missing for the Lady Rebels.
‘(Assistant coach) Cortnai (Boone) works with them every day with post moves, but I never see a post move in a game,’ Schoen said. ‘It’s turn and throw it up. I see other teams with post players that can drop-step, go up and under and score in different ways. We’re teaching it, but it just isn’t going over to games.’
South Central was able to penetrate the baseline to create options in the second half. With the Lady Pioneers turning the ball over 11 times in the second half, South Central was able to battle back.
Miller closed the third quarter with a triple, cutting Providence’s lead to 28-26.
Tipping the scoreboard to South Central’s favor came close but never happened in the final frame. An early Victoria Sallee free throw made it 28-27. Then, as Providence did each time the Lady Rebels threatened, they hit a shot. Hughes had a field goal followed by a Tucker triple.
Providence went 7 of 10 in the final three minutes at the charity stripe to close out the victory.
‘Every time we would climb back into it, it becomes a mental lapse of not locating a shooter or get pinned off inside, we’d give them a four-, five-, six-point run,’ Schoen said.
It was the first meeting between the clubs since the 2007-08 season.
Schoen was complimentary toward fifth-year Providence coach Brad Burden, a former South Central assistant coach, and his team.
‘Providence did a nice job with their zone,’ Schoen said. ‘They hit some shots when they needed to. Brad had them extended out on us. I told the girls this is Brad’s return, not in a sarcastic way, but he was with us for several years. He knows what we do. It’s like when we go to Silver Creek, Scott (Schoen) knows what we do. You have to be ready to adjust out of it.’
Miller led the Lady Rebels in scoring with 14 points and had a team-best six rebounds. Turner added 11 points. Walker and Sallee contributed four rebounds each.
Claire Shannon came off the bench to lead Providence in scoring with 14 points, while Hughes added 11.
South Central bounced back Friday to defeat Loogootee in a post-Thanksgiving tilt, 70-45.
Turner hit five 3-pointers to pace the Lady Rebels in scoring with 23 points. She also had four assists.
Defensively, South Central had 15 steals, led by six from Kelsey Miller. Miller reached double-figure scoring with 15 points, going 6 of 9 from the field. Savannah Milliner chipped in 10 points. Jasmine Nalley had four rebounds.
South Central will return to action Friday when it hosts Tell City at 8 p.m. The next night, the Lady Rebels will head to Crothersville to kick off the Southern Athletic Conference season at 1:30 p.m.