Little ones roar as Lady Rebels roll
LITTLE AND LOUD.
Typical Saturday afternoon basketball crowds can be hit or miss at times in high school gyms. With the ‘Little and Loud’ slogan, all caps included, the usual student section at South Central on Saturday was overrun by screeching voices and spirit fingers. Showing off the chants, lifts and attempts at toe-touches, the South Central cheer camp provided a boisterous back drop for the Lady Rebels’ basketball team.
Taking the spirited support opposite of their bench, South Central gave the little ones and the rest of the crowd plenty to rah-rah about.
Hosting Shawe Memorial, South Central rolled to a 55-32 victory against a team that may end up being a sectional opponent.
‘With (Shawe) being a sectional opponent, I was pleased with the way we came out and played,’ South Central coach Randall Schoen said. ‘We sometimes wait before we get going.’
South Central may have not shot the ball well during the first eight minutes, but defense and rebounding certainly kept the Hilltoppers at bay. A jumper by Mallory Kuchenbrod got South Central’s scoring going. She added another field goal while Miranda Kiper, Ally Davis and Lexie Knear hit field goals for a 10-5 lead after the opening period.
Kiper, once again, was tough on the glass. She pulled down 13 rebounds to go with her 10 points. She’s averaging a near double-double on the season with eight points and nine boards.
‘We think she has a shot at the single-season record,’ Schoen said of total rebounds. ‘She’s averaging nine rebounds per game. We’re getting all we ask for out of her plus a little more.’
Davis began the turnover-free second quarter for South Central with a free-throw line jumper. She was followed by a pair of long balls swished by Knear for a 18-5 cushion.
It was a solid, all-around game for Davis, who had 17 points and nine rebounds.
‘She was more active,’ Schoen said. ‘I kind of lied to her before the game, telling her in the Madison paper they talked about shutting her and Knear down. She stepped up and played well. She was looking to get involved more. I felt it led to her having one of her best defensive games.’
Five straight Shawe Memorial points cut the lead to eight, but a 9-2 South Central run to close the first half put the Lady Rebels up 27-14.
While the first quarter output wasn’t the best, South Central not only posted 17 points in the second, but also the third quarter.
‘I felt like we’ve been coming out flat in games, but it’s more on us because we are leery on how we approach first halves because of our depth,’ Schoen said.
With Shawe Memorial lacking a junior varsity team, there was no worry about maximum quarters (five total per day) used Saturday on the varsity level with JV/varsity players. Outside of the starting five, sophomore Jenna Baelz has been first off the bench to provide breaks for teammates. By the time the postseason rolls around, Schoen would like more depth to use.
‘I even told our JV girls it was their fault because I don’t have the confidence to use them yet,’ he said. ‘It’s the way we have to play right now. We have a few weeks until sectional to develop a bench and start to be more aggressive in the first and second quarters.’
He hopes the junior varsity players can see they could have an opportunity to contribute come postseason if they earn the minutes.
Four players closed the game with double-figure scoring Saturday. To go with Davis and Kiper, Knear scored 14 points while Kuchenbrod added 10.
Schoen said the game was a good test due to not only the record of Shawe Memorial, but the fact they hold wins over fellow Southern Athletic Conference-schools Crothersville and Henryville.
Claire Higgins led Shawe Memorial in scoring with 11 points.
As the regular season draws to a close, the Lady Rebels will be busy the final two weeks. They have five games before starting defense of their Class 1A sectional title.
‘Hopefully, we are headed back in the right direction,’ Schoen said. ‘I don’t like the draw tomorrow (Sunday) because we have two conference games and five games overall left. It seems it takes away from the regular season because you tend to want to focus on who you are playing in the tournament.’
South Central faced Borden last night (Tuesday) then will host New Washington on Saturday at 7:30 p.m. The Lady Rebels also will travel to Silver Creek on Wednesday, Jan. 25, host Rock Creek on Jan. 26 and head to South Spencer on Jan. 28.
Shawe Memorial 5 9 8 10 ‘ 32
South Central 10 17 17 11 ‘ 55
Shawe Memorial (11-9) ‘ Higgins 11, Hensler 9, Grote 8, Hesse 4.
South Central (12-9) ‘ Davis 17, Knear 14, Kiper 10, Kuchenbrod 10, Baelz 2, Renn 2.
3-point goals ‘ Shawe Memorial 1 (Hensler); South Central 3 (Knear 3).