Early game time not a problem for SC
A double-double from Kelsey Miller paved the way for a 51-41 South Central victory Friday over Christian Academy of Indiana in Elizabeth.
Starting the game at 5:30, part of a girls-boys varsity doubleheader, proved to catch both teams off guard. Despite abbreviated warm-ups due to the early start, the teams were ready to roll on the opening tip.
Miller scored all 18 of her points in the first three quarters. Teammates, however, picked up the junior in the final frame. Samantha Turner, who scored 16 points, nailed a pair of key 3-pointers down the stretch. She opened the fourth with one to extend the Lady Rebels lead to 39-35.
South Central’s Sabra Walker put in a bucket on a put-back before CAI scored consecutive field goals to cut South Central’s edge to 41-39.
Execution on an inbound play gave South Central a big bucket. Haley Shaffer, making her first return to the lineup after feet surgery, scored underneath the basket. That was followed by a triple from Turner, then another field goal from the senior.
Miller left the game midway through the fourth quarter with a minor injury, leaving it to Walker to swish three free throws down the stretch.
‘In the end, we will take the win,’ South Central coach Randall Schoen said. ‘I felt like, when we applied pressure and turned them over, things started going our way. We have to get a little better at end-of-game situations.’
CAI turned the ball over 21 times for the game, including six in the final quarter.
‘I told the girls they did a better job today,’ Schoen said. ‘A lot of people have said we’ve scheduled too tough. But lately, we’ve had trouble with several teams. We’ve got a lot of work to do still.’
Miller was tough for the Lady Warriors to stop in the first three quarters. Most of the work came attacking the rim and on defense. In the second quarter, Miller turned two steals into easy baskets. Defensively, Miller and Turner combined for nine steals.
‘Tonight, the three wasn’t going down for Kelsey,’ Schoen said. ‘She really stepped up, went to the basket.’
South Central trailed by one at the half, but a 3-pointer by Turner knotted the game in the early portion of the third. CAI used a pair of triples from Allison Burch to regain the lead on two different occasions. After her second to put the Lady Warriors up 33-32, Miller put in four straight points, helping give South Central the lead heading to the final quarter.
Rebounding was a point of emphasis for Schoen in the pre-game. Miller pulled down 13 boards, while Chelsey Kaiser and Victoria Sallee had four each.
‘We talked about rebounding because we knew (CAI) was big and could hit the boards,’ Schoen said. ‘We did a good job on the boards. I was happy to see Chelsey Kaiser’s progress. She’s doing some nice things for us.’
CAI failed to put a scorer in double digits but was led by Burch’s nine points. Nicole Kauchak added eight points, while Cortney Baird had seven.
Walker came off the bench for South Central to add seven points.
Schoen said he welcomed the return of Shaffer, who played significant minutes as a freshman a year ago.
South Central will hit the road Friday to play at Shelby County (Ky.) at 7:30 p.m. The Lady Rebels will return home Jan. 2 to face rival Lanesville.