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Defending champs outlast South Central

Defending champs outlast South Central
Defending champs outlast South Central
South Central forward Ben Cunningham turns in disgust after being whistled for his fifth foul against Borden. Rebels coach Ryan Crick discussed the matter with an official Friday night. Photo by Brian Smith (click for larger version)

South Central had the first shot among Southern Athletic Conference teams to hand defending Class A state champion Borden a loss.
Hanging within two points early in the second quarter, the Rebels gave it a shot, but Borden pulled away for a 62-39 victory Friday in Elizabeth.
Borden, winner of 13 straight games dating back to the championship run, went on a 21-9 run in the second quarter to open a wide lead. It was plenty enough for the Braves to secure the conference opener for both squads.
‘Our kids really want to win,’ South Central coach Ryan Crick said. ‘(Borden coach) Doc Nash has done a great job with them. They have winning in their blood right now, winning a state championship … You can see it just trickles down. Our kids need to get that taste. Winning can change the dynamics of the game.’
It was a rough start for both teams. South Central had five turnovers in the opening quarter, while the Braves slipped up four times. Despite the miscues, South Central was able to keep pace, using a pair of Ben Cunningham 3-pointers.
Picking off a pass, Zack Goodwin turned an early Borden five-point lead to 10-8 when he converted a steal into two points.
The Braves, however, went inside to Garrett Vick for two points before the end of the first quarter. Vick had a big game for the Braves, scoring 19 points while pulling down nine boards.
‘I think it was a sluggish start for both teams,’ Crick said. ‘We were making passes at each other’s feet. We’re trying to run our motion set, and we have guys throwing the ball where it shouldn’t be going. It was an ugly start to the game.’
Nate Shaffer hit a floater in the lane to start the second quarter, but, from there, Borden went on a long roll. Kicking off the spurt was Josh Vollstedt with a triple, followed by four straight points from Vick.
As the Braves increased the lead, South Central’s lone answer on offense was Nick Wemes. He tallied seven of his team-best 16 points in the quarter.
From beyond the arc, Caleb Hart hit a pair of 3-point goals to eventually give Borden a 33-19 halftime edge.
Out of the locker, South Central turned up the intensity. During the first six minutes of the third quarter, South Central held the Braves to one field goal. While the defense improved, forcing six turnovers in the eight minutes, South Central tallied nine points. Wemes knocked down a triple in front of the neon-clad Rebels student section.
A put-back by Cunningham drew the Rebels within seven points, 35-28. In the final minutes of the third quarter, Cody Craddock and Vick put in buckets to extend the Borden lead back to double figures.
‘They got into a 1-3-1, and we started to get back into the game,’ Crick said. ‘Our guys went out there and attacked. Not only on offense, but our guys attacked on defense. They gambled, took some chances here and there to cause some turnovers.’
To put the game out of reach, Borden started the final quarter on a 17-3 run. The 26-point lead was far too deep to overcome.
‘We’ve been out-rebounded in our first three games in the first halves,’ Crick said. ‘Borden took twice as many shots we had. The other kicker is, every time we turned the ball over, they got points out of it. We’ve been talking and stressing in practice to get back in position. Those are mistakes that can be fixed.’
Crick said Goodwin had a strong game on the defensive end, being responsible for four steals. He would finish with six points.
‘For a full game, Wemes did a good job. He shot the ball well for us,’ Crick said. ‘Zack isn’t into the offensive form we want him in yet, but he isn’t letting that bother his defense. He did a great job getting some steals up top.’
Vollstedt also reached double figures for Borden with 15 points.
For the Rebels, Cunningham had 10 points.
SC gets first win at Tell City
A double-double Saturday night by Zach Goodwin helped South Central pull away at Tell City for a 57-41 victory.
Goodwin tallied 18 points on 6 of 14 shooting while also pulling down 10 rebounds. Displaying solid all-around effort, the junior also dished four assists.
The Marksmen led at the half, 27-24, but the second half belonged to the Rebels. Holding Tell City to four third-quarter points, South Central went ahead 33-31 at the end of three.
In the fourth, it was all Rebels, outscoring Tell City 24-10 for the victory.
Ben Cunningham also reached double figures with 14 points, including a pair of 3-pointers. He also made all four free-throw attempts.
Also for South Central, Nick Wemes came up with six steals while scoring seven points. Off the bench, Jordan Sullivan was coach Crick’s X-factor in the game with four points, three rebounds, two assists and a pair of steals in 11 minutes of action.
The Rebels will head to New Albany on Friday to face Christian Academy of Indiana in a girls-boys’ double header. The boys will play the 7:30 contest, after the girls tip at 6 p.m.