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South Central contains rival, claims 9th sectional

South Central contains rival, claims 9th sectional
South Central contains rival, claims 9th sectional
South Central's lone senior, Miranda Kiper, accepts the sectional ball and trophy. Photos by Brian Smith

South Central hit its stride in the second quarter.
It was almost as if the Lady Rebels were in the groove that landed the program seven sectional titles in eight seasons spanning from 2003 to 2010.
Traditionally speaking, the Lady Rebels were back to form. For the second consecutive season, South Central claimed the Class 1A Sectional 62 hardware, defeating rival Lanesville 56-40 on Saturday night in New Washington.
‘Last year, it was really sweet,’ South Central junior Lexie Knear said. ‘This year, it was even better because you still have to work hard to get back at this moment even if you are the favorite. We had to play our game while taking the best shot of other teams.’
Even though South Central had a sectional drought in the early 2010s, coach Randall Schoen said he still believes those around the sectional look to his teams as the class of the field.
‘People still look at us like we are supposed to win,’ said Schoen, who’s been in the coaching box for nine sectional titles in 18 seasons. ‘It never gets old. We have a really nice group of kids that understand the tradition.’
Lanesville, seeking its first sectional title in girls’ basketball, gave its supporters plenty to scream about in the opening quarter when Katelyn Pavey knocked down three triples to open a 13-7 Lanesville lead. During the regular season meeting, Lanesville had the edge early before fading to a 57-49 defeat.
‘We got the start we wanted,’ Lanesville coach Kevin Smith said. ‘We wanted to put pressure on them and make it a game. We did that. We can do that to teams, but we have trouble sustaining it.’
Shots started to fall for South Central near the tail-end of the opening quarter. Ally Davis rose for a jumper, then Knear saw the iron swallow a pair of 3-pointers. The score was tied at 17 after one quarter.
‘At first, I was a little nervous, but I knew we had a good game plan,’ said South Central senior Miranda Kiper while gripping the sectional trophy. ‘At the same time, I was shocked how they got up on us. We weren’t expecting that, but we knew we’d turn it around.’
Kiper was a key cog in the second-quarter turnaround. On the glass, South Central out-rebounded Lanesville 12-4 during the span. Kiper had three second chances on the offensive glass result in four of South Central’s 13 unanswered points.
With 10 rebounds in the sectional championship, Kiper tied the program’s single-season rebound total (213, Dawn Dennison).
‘I was glad she got it,’ Schoen said. ‘Now is the time to do it, a great time to celebrate the achievement.’
Annabelle Faith’s steal set up a South Central score, prompting a 30-17 advantage. Lanesville’s McKenzie Randolph hit a 3-pointer and scored inside for Lanesville’s only baskets of the second quarter. Davis hustled for an offensive put-back and a 36-22 lead, before the third quarter horn.
‘Once we got up by 10, we knew it was ours,’ South Central junior Jordan Renn said. ‘We had more ball movement and played as a team more in the second quarter.’
Lanesville’s Peyton Sonner had 12 rebounds for the contest but missed a majority of the second quarter due to foul trouble.
‘We went small for a while then got killed on the boards,’ Smith said.
Knear crushed the hopes of the Lady Eagles, who were seeking to repeat a rally they had the night before versus Christian Academy of Indiana. Attacking Lanesville’s man defense, Knear hit a triple and scored a pair inside. She also found Renn and Davis for buckets.
South Central had a commanding 21-point lead before the final quarter started. Soon after, the celebration was on as the South Central students mobbed the floor upon the trophy presentation.
‘It is a big deal,’ Kiper, the team’s lone senior, said. ‘Coach said the last time we played Lanesville in a sectional final (2006), it was when they went to state.’
Wins for Lanesville in the series have been hard to come by in recent years. Saturday’s result was the 21st win in a row for the Lady Rebels within the series. The last Lanesville win over South Central was Nov. 24, 2004.
‘Lanesville is our rival, so it’s a big deal to our girls to beat them,’ Renn said. ‘We are really looking forward to regional.’
Knear closed the championship game with 23 points, knocking down five 3-pointers.
‘We didn’t let the score (early) rattle us, and we stuck to our game plan,’ Knear said. ‘We were much more aggressive as the game went on.’
Davis nearly had a double-double, scoring 20 points to go with nine rebounds, four steals and three assists. Mallory Kuchenbrod tallied six points.
Schoen said he was aware of the momentum Lanesville would bring to the final.
‘Lanesville was probably on as big of an emotional high as any team we’ve played with the way the game went (Friday) night,’ he said. ‘When they came out, they were really fired up. I told the girls if we let them stay around to the end of the fourth quarter, it’s going to be a dog fight … We talked that things would come back to us.’
Randolph led Lanesville (6-18) in scoring with 15 points followed by Pavey (nine), Carmen Jacobs (six) and Sonner (six). The quartet also makes up the Lady Eagles’ senior class.
‘Our four seniors played hard,’ Smith said. ‘Mickey, other than her turnovers, played one of her most aggressive games. She got the team up these last few games and really came on. Carmen has been playing hurt for a month and a half, which limits her a little. She played through it and did well. KP was lights out at the start … Payton was consistent in rebounding.’
South Central (18-7) returns to the Springs Valley Regional where the Lady Rebels will take on 1A No. 2 Vincennes Rivet at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday. Rivet defeated South Central a year ago in the semi-final of regional.
‘It was all brand new to them last year, facing a team like Rivet,’ Schoen said. ‘It’ll help that we’ve been there, done that. We hope to get in there and compete with them. We hope to give them a good shot.’
‘We may have been out-matched last year, but I feel this year we are a much better team,’ Knear said. ‘I believe our confidence in each other will carry over to the regional.’

Lanesville 17 5 6 12 ‘ 40
South Central 17 19 13 7 ‘ 56
Lanesville (6-18) ‘ Randolph 15, Pavey 9, Jacobs 6, Sonner 6, Philpott 3, Miller 1.
South Central (18-7) ‘ Knear 23, Davis 20, Kuchenbrod 6, Kiper 5, Renn 2.
3-point goals ‘ Lanesville 7 (Randolph 3, Pavey 3, Philpott); South Central 5 (Knear 5).