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Lady Eagles finish strong over Scottsburg

Lady Eagles finish strong over Scottsburg
Lady Eagles finish strong over Scottsburg
Lanesville’s girls’ basketball team, then ranked No. 1 in Class 1A, capped off Senior Night with a victory over Scottsburg, 71-49, on Friday. After the win, the Lady Eagle seniors — from left, Danielle Haire, Gracie Adams, Elizabeth Turner, Mackenzie Pavey and Kaydence Smith — gather for one final photo at the center-court logo on their home floor as the rest of the roster runs in to photobomb the picture. Photo by Alan Stewart
Alan Stewart, Contributing Writer

A model of balanced power throughout the season, the No. 2-ranked (Class 1A) Lanesville’s girls’ basketball team has showed it can beat just about anyone in a variety of ways. On Friday night, that way was through defense and senior Gracie Adams.

Adams bombed six triples, went 7 of 8 at the line and finished with 45 points as the host Lady Eagles turned a nine-point lead heading to the final period into a Senior Night blowout over Scottsburg, 73-49, to close the regular season at 19-3. For the game, Lanesville forced an eye-popping 31 turnovers.

The Lady Eagles led by seven points at the first-quarter break, 10 at halftime and nine heading to the fourth quarter, when points started coming in a wave for Lanesville. Much of the 29-point explosion in the final stanza came from 19 by Adams, including four triples and a rare four-point play.

“When Gracie is on offensively, it definitely picks up the team, but our pressure coming out and the different looks we can give with our length I think made (Scottsburg) tentative. When they got back on their heels and weren’t as aggressive, that’s when our defensive was more effective,” Lanesville coach Angie Hinton said. “(Forcing turnovers) are things we try to do. I think in the first half when it was a grind, they put on their pressure and they were fresh and they were putting a lot of pressure on our guards. Our guard play is where we sometimes struggle, but Ava (Kerr) came in and did some nice things for us. She put a lot of pressure on the ball so keeping her on the floor a little bit more and having different combinations of kids. Kennedy (Gordon) came in and got some hands on balls and gave us a good, solid game tonight, and Linzie (Wernert) wasn’t on her A-game offensive-wise but she was getting boards and being strong and passing the ball and giving us the longer size on defense. (Danielle Haire) came in and made a couple of shots for us and gave us a little bit of help. We just had good effort all around.”

Scottsburg (8-14) drew first blood on a pair of free throws by its star senior forward and daughter of Carla Westmoreland Zellers, the starting guard for the 1989 state champion Warriorettes. Like Adams, Zoe Zellers provided much of her team’s firepower through the night, hitting for 19 points before fouling out late in the contest.

“She’s a good player,” Hinton said of Zellers. “She gave us fits last year. She’s a solid, solid player and knows how to get position and has a really good touch.”

After Zellers’ charity tosses, Lanesville went on a 7-0 run with points by Wernert, Haire and Turner.

Scottsburg countered with a run of its own to take a 9-7 lead on a basket by Kady Clancy. Adams then scored the next 11 straight points for the Lady Eagles to hold an 18-11 lead at the end of one.

Adams began and ended the second quarter with a pair of free throws with neither team able to swing the pendulum its way to the halftime horn, which had Lanesville up 33-23.

Scottsburg’s Hannah Stutsman hit from long range twice around an Adams’ basket to start the third quarter, trimming the deficit to 35-29. The hosts were able to push the lead to 13 before Zellers and Abbey Martin sank two free throws apiece to make it 44-35 heading into the final period.

Adams got the scoring frenzy started with a triple followed by a basket from Wernert. Adams sandwiched a pair of threes around a deuce by Zellers, then Kerr came through with two free throws (she went 8 of 8 from the line in the quarter). Adams closed the run with a jumper for a 60-39 lead with 4:35 left.

“Kerr stepping in there and making those free throws is going to help her confidence,” Hinton said. “I told her, ‘We need you to be a guard and, if it’s open, take it,’ but we wanted her to focus on defense and getting the ball where it belongs.

“Tonight was a good night to see a lot of kids do a lot of different things,” the coach said. “Hopefully, it’ll carry us on through the tournament and give us some confidence. You beat a program like Scottsburg’s, I know it’s not a Donna Cheatham era of a team, but it’s still that tradition and they still have that confidence. We had to get over that mental hurdle and, hopefully, that’s going to help us.”

Kerr and Wernert both scored eight points, Haire had six, and Turner and Sonner had three apiece.

Lanesville was relatively efficient shooting-wise, going  24 of 52 (46%) from the field, 6 of 14 (43%) on threes and was a sizzling 19 of 23 (83%) at the free-throw line. Scottsburg bested the hosts on the glass, 39-23, but the 31-20 turnover margin countered the rebounding advantage. The Warriorettes were 17 of 43 (40%) from the floor, 4 of 16 (25%) on threes and went 11 of 14 (79%) at the line.

With her 45 points against Scottsburg, Adams moved up to 124th in the state career scoring stats with 1,733 points, passing Corydon Central grad Lynne Johnson, who is now at 125th.

Among the all-time county leaders, Adams is fourth (behind Brittany Schoen with 2,293, Rachel Dixon with 2,057 and Lilly Hatton with 2,052).

With the regular season out of the way, Lanesville shifts its focus to Friday night when it opens Class 1A sectional play at New Washington in the first game of a double-header. At 6 p.m., the Lady Eagles will take on the winner of the Christian Academy of Indiana (1-20)-Rock Creek Academy (2-8) matchup, which took place last night (Tuesday). In the other semi-final, New Washington (7-11) will battle the winner of South Central (1-12)-Borden (11-8). The championship contest will be Saturday at 7 p.m.

Don’t expect Hinton to muse on the subject of Lanesville owning the No. 2 ranking in its class, the No. 1 ranking in Jeff Sagarin’s ratings and being John Harrell’s pick to win it all, or whether it’s better to play early in a sectional or get the bye to the semi-final round.

“It doesn’t really matter,” she said. “Right now, I think it’ll give us a chance to rest our legs a little bit and be prepared for a good run. You are going to play Friday-Saturday back to back, and I’d like to give the kids a little bit of downtime. I think we need it just because how this season has gone.

“On the rankings, we don’t talk about those things. I don’t ever mention it, and we don’t bring it up, and, in fact, I wouldn’t know unless someone told me.

“We are still learning how to be a good team,” Hinton continued. “If people came to some of our practices, they may not think we’re No. 1. It’s nice that someone has that respect for us, but we have to prove that we are that team. Trinity Lutheran beat us and we got beat by Tecumseh and we were grinding against New Washington. What matters is what’s on the court.”

Scottsburg              11     12     12     14 – 49

Lanesville               18     15     11     29 – 73

Scottsburg (8-14) – Zellers 19, Stutsman 12, Clancy 6, Martin 6, McGlothlin 4, Barger 2.

Lanesville (19-3) – Adams 45, Kerr 8, Wernert 8, Haire 6, Sonner 3, Turner 3.

3-point goals – Scottsburg 4 (Stutsman 4); Lanesville 6 (Adams 6).