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Lady Rebels rally once, but not twice

Lady Rebels rally once, but not twice
Lady Rebels rally once, but not twice
South Central’s Kelsey Miller leads a fast break against New Washington during the sectional final Saturday. Photo by Jo Ann Spieth-Saylor (click for larger version)

South Central had an answer for New Washington’s fast start from the opening tip. Unfortunately, the Lady Mustangs’ even bigger start to the second half wasn’t answered.
In the Class A New Washington Sectional final Saturday, the host school, ranked No. 8, used a big second half to roll to a 69-39 victory over South Central.
‘With (Ashley) Johnson and (Kriston) Sarver on the outside and (Caroline) Ricks on the inside, they were a match-up nightmare for us,’ South Central coach Randall Schoen said. ‘New Washington came into the game with a 19-2 record and had played like a sectional champion all year and, although we would have liked to knock them out, in all reality, they deserved it.’
Sharp shooting by the Lady Mustangs was evident at the start. Johnson and Amick nailed 3-pointers in the opening minute. A Ricks old-fashioned 3-point play along with a Johnson steal-and-score put the hosts up 11-0.
South Central was able to crack the score board when senior Samantha Turner put in a bucket after collecting an offensive rebound.
A Sarver 3 put New Washington up 12, 14-2, but South Central would chip away the rest of the first half.
Going on a 10-5 run to close the first quarter put the underdogs within striking distance. Kelsey Miller, who picked up three fouls in the first three minutes, played through the troubles to knock down a pair of long balls during the stretch.
To open the second quarter, Jasmine Nalley came off the bench to score a field goal after Victoria Sallee advanced the ball up the court quickly.
New Washington would extend the lead to 27-19 after a Johnson field goal. At that point, the Lady Rebels put together a spirited rally.
Sabra Walker hit a field goal, then was followed by Miller putting in a runner in the lane. Off Miller’s make, Maddie O’Connor swiped the inbound pass and found Miller for a quick deuce.
With the New Washington lead down to two, 27-25, Amick extended it back to four with a field goal. Turner then put South Central within one with a triple from the left wing with 3:10 to play before half.
The Lady Rebels had several chances to take the lead or tie in the final three minutes, but struggled shooting. New Washington closed the half on a 6-2 run to lead 35-30 at the break.
‘We dug a hole to start the game by giving up two open 3s on the first two possessions and got down to start,’ Schoen said. ‘We were able to regroup and had it at one point in the second quarter and still down only five at half, but it got away from us quickly in the third when we were outscored 23-4.’
The third quarter was all Lady Mustangs. Johnson and Ricks started an 11-0 run similar to the first quarter with field goals. Book-ending the run was Johnson with another make to put the Southern Athletic Conference champions ahead 46-30.
It took until 2:30 was left in the third quarter that Miller broke the ice for the Lady Rebels with a bucket.
New Washington would go on to outscore the Lady Rebels 23-4 in the frame, cruising the rest of the way for the win. They advance to the West Washington Regional, where they will face Vincennes Rivet on Saturday.
Johnson paced the Lady Mustangs (20-2) with 23 points, while Ricks and Amick had 19 and 12, respectively.
The Lady Mustangs put together a strong regular season resum’, scoring wins over a pair of 4A schools ‘ Jeffersonville and New Albany.
‘I’m proud of the way our girls battled throughout the sectional and played 2-1/2 very good games of basketball,’ Schoen said.
South Central struggled from the field, shooting 31 percent. Miller led the Lady Rebels in scoring with 14 points, while Turner had nine. Chelsey Kaiser had two points and five boards.
From the free-throw line, South Central made only two of nine attempts. The Lady Rebels also turned the ball over 22 times.
South Central’s season ended with an 8-15 record.
The Lady Rebels graduate Turner and foreign-exchange student Zoe Zwiebelmann. Turner was a key contributor on the offensive end, averaging 12 points per game.
‘I feel very good about what our future looks like with losing only one starter,’ Schoen said. ‘We will miss our two seniors with Samantha’s shooting ability and Zoe’s enthusiasm she brought every day to practice.’