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Rivet’s depth, size halt SC

Rivet’s depth, size halt SC
Rivet’s depth, size halt SC
South Central forward Ally Davis reacts after a free-throw attempt rolls off the rim in the first half of the Class 1A Springs Valley Regional Saturday. Photos by Brian Smith

‘Be quick but don’t hurry.’
Randall Schoen took the quote from one of the greats ‘ John Wooden ‘ and presented it to the South Central girls’ basketball team the week leading up to the Class 1A Springs Valley Regional.
Wooden, an legendary coach born in Indiana, was a perfect lead in for the players taking the floor at the former high school of Larry Bird in French Lick.
The saying was instrumental in breaking the full-court pressure defense of No. 1 Vincennes Rivet in the first game of the four-team regional. Ball-handling and passing was crisp for the most part against the long and athletic Rivet squad.
It was in the half-court game that South Central wasn’t able to come up with enough baskets to keep up with Rivet. Ten different Lady Patriots scored to defeat South Central, 55-37.
‘We worked hard on their press, and I think we handled their pressure well,’ Schoen said. ‘After the first quarter, I told the girls we took their best shot as far as their defensive pressure goes. Then, we couldn’t get anything going in the half court.’
It was a down then up first quarter for the Lady Rebels.
Rivet scored the first eight points of the game. Kelsey Ivers and 6-foot center Melanie Heinz converted free throws. Another long inside presence, 6-foot freshman Grace Waggoner, scored in the post.
South Central broke through three minutes in when Alexis Knear crossed over to score in the lane. Her basket started an 11-5 South Central burst.
Ally Davis put in a backside offensive rebound then hit a jumper. From the outside, senior Sabra Walker hit a triple and a shot just inside the line, cutting the deficit to four, 15-11, after eight minutes.
South Central took Wooden’s don’t-hurry philosophy seriously for the first four minutes of the second quarter. Wilting the clock, the Lady Rebels spread the floor and worked its motion offense from a four-corners approach. Early in the frame, South Central turned the ball over four times then saw the Lady Patriots stroke the 3-ball.
Waggoner stepped out for a bomb. Two more treys fell ‘ one each by way of Anna Donovan and Ivers ‘ which prompted a 26-12 Rivet lead.
‘The tapes I watched on them, they didn’t shoot the 3 real well,’ Schoen said. ‘We weren’t overly concerned they would knock down 3s. They hit some today that hurt us at times.’
Mallory Kuchenbrod scored on a second-chance opportunity, and Knear drove the lane for a field goal making the score 28-16.
Through the first half, South Central tried to get in the paint for shot attempts but many were contested by the length of Rivet.
Breaking the press was positive for the Lady Rebels against what Schoen saw as Rivet’s greatest strength.
‘Our approach was to get the ball in Knear’s hands and get Ally in the middle and keep the rotation going,’ Schoen said. ‘Lexie did a really good job handling the press and holding her composure against it.’
At the half, Schoen knew his team wasn’t far away on the scoreboard. It was the early stages of the third quarter which put the Lady Patriots further ahead.
Another timely triple, this time from Ivers, opened play after half.
‘I told the girls I can’t fault our effort,’ Schoen said. ‘At half, we were down 12 and I felt like, if we got it close, we could spread them more. (Rivet) went on a little run to extend the lead and took us out of our game. At that point, we had to press and trap more. Their length and athleticism made it hard to do those things.’
South Central picked up an offensive spark from Jordan Renn off the bench. She scored twice in the lane and mixed it up on both ends of the floor.
Rivet extended the lead to 22 in the fourth quarter. In the final eight minutes, South Central saw a triple from Davis fall along with getting to the charity stripe.
Shooting from the line wasn’t the best for South Central, which went 7 of 15. The Lady Rebels’ opponents were more successful, making 12 of 15 tries.
In the final two minutes, Davis, one of South Central talented sophomores, went down with a knee injury. She was helped off the floor to the locker room after scoring eight points.
‘Ally was scared but, hopefully, it isn’t anything major,’ Schoen said of the forward.
Knear went on to lead South Central in scoring with 12 points. Renn added six, while Walker scored five in her final game as a Lady Rebel.
Rivet, a perennial threat to the 1A state title the last 10 years, carried its momentum to the championship game, defeating previously unbeaten No. 4 Springs Valley 52-31. To reach the final, Springs Valley needed overtime to upend Orleans, 40-35.
The 37 points scored by South Central was the fewest put up since tallying 34 against eventual 3A regional champ North Harrison on Dec. 9.
It was a few weeks after facing the Lady Cats that South Central started to pick up steam. Since Christmas, the co-Southern Athletic Conference champions posted an 11-3 record to close the season at 17-11.
‘There are a lot of positives today for our younger ones to build off of,’ Schoen said. ‘The big one is they got a taste of it. We were going against an experienced team, which means a lot. Hopefully, we build on this for next year and get back to this point with a different outcome.’
Rivet’s balanced scoring attack was paced by Donovan’s 12 points. Waggoner, scoring 11 points, was the only other Lady Patriots player in double figures. Madeline Halter and Ivers scored seven each.
‘They are a really good team,’ Schoen said of Rivet. ‘They seem to have everything they need to make a good tournament run.’
On to the semi-state, Rivet will clash with No. 2 Jac-Cen-Del (25-1) at the Jeffersonville Semi-state Saturday at 4 p.m.
The late season momentum is what Schoen wants to carry into the offseason.
‘We went 11-3 since Christmas playing a tough schedule. It won’t get any easier next year as far as the schedule goes. That’s why we play the teams we play, to prepare for teams like Rivet,’ Schoen said.
Two seniors ‘ Chelsey Kaiser and Walker ‘ will be the lone losses to graduation.
‘I hate losing these seniors,’ Schoen said. ‘Sabra, not only basketball-wise, but academic-wise, is a great leader. She is one for them to look up to. She has it all when you include what she does in the classroom and as a basketball leader.’

South Central 11 5 8 13 ‘ 37
Vincennes Rivet 15 13 14 13 ‘ 55
South Central (17-11) ‘ Knear 12, Davis 8, Renn 6, Walker 5, Kuchenbrod 2, Kaiser 2, Kiper 1, Day 1.
Vincennes Rivet (24-3) ‘ K. Donovan 12, Waggoner 11, Halter 7, Ivers 7, Heinz 6, N. Niehaus 4, A. Donovan 3, M. Niehaus 2, Hancock 2, Greenwood 1.
3-point goals ‘ South Central 2 (Davis, Walker); Vincennes Rivet 5 (K. Donovan, Waggoner, Halter, Ivers, A. Donovan).

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