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Size a factor in South Central’s loss to Jennings County

Size a factor in South Central’s loss to Jennings County
Size a factor in South Central’s loss to Jennings County
South Central’s Dylan Patterson drives to the basket against Jennings County’s Keegan Manowitz during the fifth-place game in the Forest Park Holiday Tournament. Patterson was one of the players selected to the all-tournament team.
George Browning, Sports Writer, [email protected]

South Central had a tall task, literally, in the fifth-place game of the Forest Park Holiday tournament.

The Rebels were smaller at every position against Jennings County, and the difference eventually took its toll as the Rebels lost by 16, 67-51.

If size wasn’t enough of an issue for SC coach Greg Robinson and his troops to deal with, Jennings County also had on its shooting eyes. The Panthers hit five three-point baskets in the opening quarter, which allowed them to build a lead they never relinquished.

“Our plan was to make them have to hit those outside shots,” Robinson said. “When a team has the size they do and then they hit their outside shots, it puts a stress on the defense. I thought after that we battled our way back.”

The Rebels actually built a small lead out of the game.

Lucas Stewart and Dylan Patterson both hit two-point shots, and Austin Tyree hit a three, putting South Central in front 7-3 with 5:55 remaining in the first quarter.

That’s when the three-point barrage opened up for Jennings County.

Carson McNulty hit three three-point shots and Trey Wilson added one, turning the once four-point deficit into a 14-7 lead.

Jennings County’s lead grew to 10, 23-13, at the end of the first quarter, but the Rebels continued to hang around.

After a basket by the Panthers’ Aaron Martin kept the advantage at 10, 28-18, South Central went on a run midway through the second quarter.

Tyree hit one of two free throws, and Lucas Stewart drained three of four, trimming the Jennings County lead to six, 28-22, with 4:23 remaining in the first half.

The two teams traded baskets until the Panthers went on a 7-0 run to end the first half, giving them a 13-point lead, 39-26, at the break.

“We cut it to six and had the ball in the second quarter, and we were feeling pretty good,” Robinson said. “That’s when the wheels fell off again. That run at the end of the second quarter was self-inflicted. We just didn’t handle the ball like we needed to. That really set the tone for the second half.”

The Rebels tried to get back in the game early in the third quarter. Patterson got a steal that led to a basket by Caden Cunningham. Then, Patterson grabbed a board that led to him hitting one of two free throws. Patterson’s point cut Jennings County’s lead to 10, 39-29.

The Panthers outscored South Central 13-3 during the remainder of the third quarter and cruised to the win.

“I give our kids credit because we came out in the second half and were playing hard and put a dent into the lead,” Robinson said. “It seemed like we were living out the old saying of ‘taking one step forward and two steps back.’ The effort was good, but the execution wasn’t as good as it needed to be. We have some stuff we still need to work on, and I can take some blame for that. Hopefully, we will get it cleaned up by our next game.”

Once South Central shut down the Jennings County outside attack, it opened things for the Panthers’ 6-foot-8 sophomore Jacob Vogel. He scored six of his eight points in the third quarter.

“Their size was a contributor to all of our problems,” Robinson said. “It didn’t matter if it was around the basket or how we defended, we just didn’t handle it very well. We are not a big team, so we have to learn how to handle size a little better.”

One way the Rebels can offset size is Patterson’s play. His effort in the second half, which led him to a team-high 15 points, is the way Robinson needs him to play all the time.

“We ask him to play like that every week,” Robinson said. “Dylan just wants us to do well. He stepped up because he knew he had to, and he is the kind of player who will do whatever we ask him to do. He is capable of doing that all the time.”

The loss gave the Rebels sixth place in the tournament.

South Central opened the tournament with a 63-56 loss to Northeast Dubois and then rebounded to beat Mount Vernon (Posey) 67-60.

The three games, two of which were against much larger schools, was a good barometer for Robinson and the 3-6 Rebels.

He said his team had moments where they played great and then other moments not so much.

“We played Northeast Dubois, the 10th-ranked team in 1A, and had an 11-point lead on them in the third quarter and didn’t hold on,” Robinson said. “Then, we played a 3A school, Mount Vernon, and got that win, and then played a big 4A school here and competed. We are disappointed that we were 1-2 in this tournament, but we need to look at how we played in spurts and put that together for 32 minutes, then we have a good team.”

South Central is 3-6 and will be back in action Saturday when the Rebels will host the Bluejackets of Mitchell.


South Central               13   13     6   19 – 51

Jennings County          23   16 13   15 – 67

South Central (3-6) – Dylan Patterson 15, Lucas Stewart 11, Caden Cunningham 6, Ryan Steen 5, Austin Tyree 4, Wesley Wilson 4, Maddox Baker 3, Clay Thomas 3.

Jennings County (5-4) – Carson McNulty 19, Trey Wilson 16, Jacob Vogel 8, Keegan Manowitz 7, Bently White 6, Joe Kelley 4, Aaron Martin 4, Lance Bailey 2, Owen Miller 1.

3-point goals – South Central 3 (Steen 1, Stewart 1, Tyree 1); Jennings County 6 (McNulty 3, Wilson 2, Manowitz 1).