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Rebels all smiles after homecoming

The handshake line and turn-back to the doors leading to the South Central locker room saw several grinning faces among the red and white.
Friday night, the streak came to an end for the South Central boys’ basketball team.
After an 0-13 beginning of the season, the Rebels landed a homecoming win in front of the Elizabeth faithful, dropping Cannelton 59-44.
‘It feels a whole lot better in the locker room right now than when we were getting beat the way we were,’ South Central coach Ryan Crick said. ‘It feels really good to get a win.’
South Central was able to put the game away in the third quarter, scoring 22 points. Holding a 27-21 lead at the half, the Rebels notched the first nine points the next time the ball entered play.
Senior Henry Hentrup ended the first half with a buzzer-beating 3-pointer. To start the third, Hentrup took a quick pass from classmate Cory Ray to drain another triple. Falling through in less than four seconds dripping off the clock, the bucket even caught the home announcer off guard, causing a delayed credit to No. 20.
‘Henry saved our butt hitting the 3 to end the first half,’ Crick said. ‘We responded very well to start the third quarter. I am very proud of them for that.’
Hentrup returned the look back to Ray for another two points. Ray was also on the receiving end of a steal and assist from Chase Schoen. The South Central lead ballooned to 36-21 when Hentrup scored again.
It was one of the best games of the season for Hentrup. He tallied a team-best 18 points on an efficient 6-of-8 shooting from the floor. Floor time was limited for Hentrup, who was in foul trouble much of the game. He also had three steals.
Ten of the final third-quarter points for South Central came way of Logan Stewart. Feeling the hot hand, Stewart knocked down one triple. On his next long-ball attempt, Stewart’s ball fell through the net as he drew contact from Cannelton on an aggressive closeout. Upon the referee’s whistle, Stewart knocked down the single free throw for a rare 4-point play.
‘Cory on the boards, had six; Hentrup knocked down 3s and Stewart attacking the basket. Those were big areas for us tonight,’ Crick said.
Stewart finished with 16 points. Austin Schoen and Ray scored 11 points each. Ray also had six rebounds, five assists and four steals. Making half of his field-goal attempts, Schoen made four buckets and swiped three steals.
‘I challenged them at halftime,’ Crick said. ‘I didn’t think our defensive intensity was the same at the end (of the first half) as it was when we first started the game. I told them we need to attack the rim more. We settled for 3-point shots. That’s not how good teams win.’
South Central led by 15 after three then proceeded to go 6 of 11 at the free-throw line to close out the contest.
Much of Cannelton’s offense came through Damon Powers. The senior scored 27 points. Jacob Pearey had nine boards for the Bulldogs.
The victory for South Central ended a 19-game losing streak dating back to the previous season.
‘We had one good day of practice leading up to Cannelton,’ Crick said. ‘We hope this wins motivates us and gets us more pep in our step to have some positive practices this coming week.’
Success in the first quarter opened a 17-8 South Central lead. Collan Knear and Ray were flying around the rim for offensive rebounds. They combined for seven in the first stanza.
Austin Schoen, Hentrup and Ray scored five points apiece early on.
Cannelton had trouble keeping the ball in its possession, turning it over eight times in the opening frame and 22 times for the game.
South Central ended with 17 miscues.
‘We still have to do a better job of rebounding the ball and taking care of the ball,’ Crick said. ‘Those are two areas that still bother us. Tonight, we found a way to make 21 shots. We had some kids that stepped up at different times. It’s something we haven’t seen consistently this year.’
Cannelton cut the game to one possession, 24-21, late in the second quarter. Hentrup sent the Rebels to the locker room confident by hitting a deep buzzer-beater. The momentum eventually carried the Rebels to their first win of the season.
‘Our schedule, so far, has been pretty brutal,’ Crick said. ‘If you look at our opponents’ total wins and losses, it’s impressive. We feel down the stretch, teams are more at our speed and we can compete better. As long as we show up at practice, compete and get better each day then take it to the floor on Friday and Saturday nights, we can keep building.’
Crick said he’s also encouraged by some of his younger players who have gained varsity minutes. Chase Schoen and Harvey Basham, both freshmen, combined for seven rebounds and limited turnovers.
‘Guys like T.J. (Boyd), Harvey and Chase are two freshmen and a sophomore we are giving those guys time,’ Crick said. ‘Chase and Harvey haven’t been playing too bad. T.J. is stepping into his own now. T.J. is quick, but we have to get him under control.’
South Central will return to action Friday when the Rebels travel to Crothersville.
‘We have a long way to go still, but we want this win to carry over to next week,’ Crick said.

Cannelton 8 13 13 10 ‘ 44
South Central 17 10 22 10 ‘ 59
Cannelton (2-12) ‘ Powers 27, Melton 10, Reed 3, Northerner 2, Pearey 1, Reynolds 1.
South Central (1-13) ‘ Hentrup 18, Stewart 16, A. Schoen 11, Ray 11, C. Schoen 2, Baelz 1.
3-point goals ‘ Cannelton 2 (Powers 2); South Central 8 (Hentrup 3, Stewart 2, A. Schoen 2, Ray).

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