Eagles topple rival Rebels
The rise of analytics in sports is nearly unavoidable.
Baseball has hot and cold hitting zones for players along with spray charts to aid defensive alignment.
Football has specific plays designed on specific downs, distance and field positioning to advance the ball.
Basketball can be based on numbers in relation to the best combination of five players on a floor. Coaches strive to create shots for certain players who shoot a higher percentage from one area of the court compared to the other.
Last Friday, the scoring statistics didn’t lie between rivals Lanesville and South Central.
The Eagles, ranked No. 3 in Class 1A, took it to Southern Athletic Conference-foe South Central. The winless Rebels entered the game averaging 35.8 points per game while giving up 71.1.
Struggles continued Friday for South Central in Elizabeth while the Eagles hit the half-way point of the season surging with a 58-15 wallop of their rivals.
‘Defense was an area we really talked about before the game,’ Lanesville coach Mikel Miller said. ‘Tonight, I thought we were really solid defensively.’
Troubling for South Central was the ability to get the ball to the offensive end and keeping it there for periods of time. Lanesville’s defensive intensity swarmed like ants protecting its colony, or basket.
Before South Central’s first basket, coming with 3:30 left in the opening quarter, the Rebels turned the rock over eight times.
Lanesville’s offense immediately went to post player Elijah Wilkin. He scored in a variety of ways during the Eagles’ 17-0 start to the lopsided contest. Nine of the game’s first points came from the center. He hit a jumper then followed up two Lanesville misses with put-backs, one resulting in a 3-point play. After adding another bucket inside, Wilkin decided to get teammate Joe Ferree involved.
Drawing attention inside, Wilkin kicked to an open Ferree for a 3-pointer. The little-big duo of Ferree-Wilkin accounted for all 17 points before South Central scored.
‘Elijah got us off early,’ Miller said. ‘He had a good week of practice and has been playing well. You can see him, in a year’s time, how much he has developed.’
Lanesville’s scoring was interrupted by South Central’s Cory Ray, 4-1/2 minutes into the game, with a layup in the paint. The Rebels turned the ball over nine times in the first quarter while being out-rebounded 11-3.
‘Coach Miller had a great game plan,’ South Central coach Ryan Crick said. ‘They came out and pressed our guards, who struggled to handle the ball. They came after us and forced countless turnovers.’
An Evan Ash field goal and long ball from Luke Ferguson prompted a 24-2 Lanesville lead. South Central ended the opening quarter with a Chase Schoen 3-ball.
Lanesville did its job taking care of the ball, giving it up only four times during the 32 minutes. It wasn’t the best shooting night for the Eagles, but activity on the boards created plenty of second chances. Five different players contributed to a 10-point second quarter. Jordan Wernert and Wilkin scored due to work on the offensive glass. Wilkin finished with 10 rebounds to go with his game-high 17 points.
By the time the half-time horn blared, Lanesville was well ahead, 34-7.
‘The game is easy when the game comes to you,’ Crick said. ‘With our team, we struggled scoring and it doesn’t come easy to us. When we can’t score, we let down on defense … They kicked our rear ends on the glass.’
Luke Beach scored nine of his 11 points in the third quarter. Ferree, who scored nine points, contributed with five assists. Teammate Riley Cook had four assists to go with his six points.
‘Joe, defensively, was outstanding,’ Miller said. ‘He passed the ball well and got guys where they needed to be. If we would have shot the ball better, he would have had more assists.’
Miller also lauded the defensive effort of Gregory Daly. He, along with Ferree, combined for nine steals.
‘(Daly) was getting deflections and locking guys down he was guarding,’ Miller said. ‘His steals early led to baskets for other guys.’
Heading into the game, Lanesville didn’t have the full arsenal of players at practice during the course of the week. Illnesses swirled around the team, limiting practice time for several.
‘I didn’t have one day where I had all the kids at practice,’ Miller said. ‘We have a lot of double weekends coming up so we want to be healthy. Overall, the kids had a good week.’
South Central continues to look for its first win of the season. Wins in the series with Lanesville have been hard to come by in recent years. Nineteen of the previous 20 meetings have gone the way of the Eagles. The lone interruption was in 2012, Crick’s first year at the helm.
In the previous 11 games this campaign, South Central has scored more than 40 points on just three occasions. Versus Lanesville, the Rebels shot 17 percent from the field. They made 1 of 11 3-pointer tries and missed on all six free-throw attempts.
‘We struggled to score,’ Crick said.
Logan Stewart led South Central with four points and six rebounds.
Lanesville ruled the game on the boards against South Central, winning that battle 50-29. Ferree had eight rebounds, while six each were grabbed by Evan Ash, Daly and Cook.
‘We were active; we didn’t do a lot of standing,’ Miller said. ‘It wasn’t one guy rebounding; it was a good, team effort.’
Lanesville, which suffered its lone setback this season against West Washington a few weeks back, has won two in a row to get to 10-1 overall.
With the win over the Rebels, Lanesville sits at 3-0 in league play with remaining contests against New Washington (Feb. 12) and Crothersville (Feb. 19).
‘We’re 3-0 in the conference and had a look at a sectional opponent,’ Miller said. ‘We get some momentum heading into a tough weekend coming up with Christian Academy (of Indiana) Friday and Orleans on Saturday. We’re going to get some tests really soon.’
Lanesville (10-1) will play at CAI and return home for the date with Orleans. Both games will start at 7:30 p.m.
South Central (0-12), meanwhile, looks to get one in the win column on Friday when the Rebels host Cannelton (2-10) during South Central’s winter homecoming. The game will take place at 7:30 p.m.
Lanesville 24 10 16 8 ‘ 58
South Central 5 2 2 6 ‘ 15
Lanesville (10-1, 3-0 SAC) ‘ Wilkin 17, Beach 11, Ferree 9, Cook 6, Ash 4, Wernert 4, Ferguson 3, Jacobi 2, Daly 2.
South Central (0-12, 0-2) ‘ Stewart 4, C. Schoen 3, A. Schoen 2, Basham 2, Knear 2, Ray 2.
3-point goals ‘ Lanesville 2 (Ferree, Ferguson); South Central 1 (C. Schoen).