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Lady Rebels’ season ends against CAI

Girls’ Basketball • Class 1A New Washington Sectional
Lady Rebels’ season ends against CAI
Lady Rebels’ season ends against CAI
Photo by Brandon Miniard. South Central freshman guard Olivia Maley has her eyes set on a layup despite resistance from Christian Academy of Indiana’s Leah Stevens during the Lady Rebels’ 36-25 loss to the Lady Warriors during the first round of sectional at New Washington last Tuesday.
By Brandon Miniard, Sports Writer, [email protected]

While the 2021-22 season has not been kind to the South Central Lady Rebels, the final few weeks of the regular season have been a time of progress.

Despite losing their final two games of the regular season against Rock Creek Community Academy on Jan. 27 and Clarksville two days later, the Lady Rebels lost those contests by tight scores of 53-50 and 41-40, respectively.

The Lady Rebels’ roster also received a boost in the form of much-needed reinforcements when freshman guard Olivia Maley suited up against the Lady Generals in the Lady Rebels’ home finale. Maley had been stuck on the sidelines since Dec. 7 when she suffered a knee injury during the Lady Rebels’ 66-25 loss at Providence.

“She adds an additional ball handler, which is something we tend to struggle with anyway,” head coach Lynne Thomas said of Maley’s return. “She (also) adds more offense for us, so it’s really good to have her back.”

With their roster back to an eight-player rotation, the Lady Rebels traveled to New Washington last Tuesday to open the Indiana High School Athletic Association sectional 61 against Christian Academy of Indiana, which the Lady Rebels fell to 44-28 on Dec. 29. Despite the addition of Maley and improved play on both sides of the ball, the Lady Warriors’ superior size and offensive rebounding put the Lady Rebels’ season to rest with a 36-25 final.

“Our game plan was to initially defend them on the perimeter, which we did at the beginning of the game, then their post players started hurting us a little bit,” Thomas said. “Defensively, besides some lapses and some offensive rebounds, I thought that our defense has gotten much better over the last month.”

The contest began as a defensive duel as both sides struggled to put the ball through the net. It took almost halfway through the period for either side to score when junior guard Kendall Kiper knocked down a pair of free throws. Kiper followed with a three-point play, while Maley chipped in a bucket, The Warriors kept pace with a pair of buckets while Lilly Yates, Ashlin Owen and Leah Stevens each converted a freebie before the opening frame ended with the score tied at seven.

Sloppy ball-handling led to a poor start to the second quarter for the Lady Rebels as the Lady Warriors started the period on a 4-1 run. The Lady Warriors pulled ahead on a pair of buckets from Owen while teaming up with Alexus Bryant to go a perfect 4 for 4 from the charity stripe. Bryant added a bucket as did Yates, while the Lady Rebels’ Maley countered with a bucket before combining with Kiper and junior guard Lexie Liebert to go 4 for 6 from the free-throw line. The result was a decent margin for the Lady Warriors heading into halftime, 19-13.

The Lady Warriors began the third quarter on an 11-2 run, powered by a pair of Stevens triples, three points from Yates and a bucket from Raegan Hodge. The Lady Rebels responded with grit in the period courtesy of buckets from Maley, Liebert and junior guard Millie Spencer, who teamed up with Kiper to go 3 for 4 from the foul line, shrinking the deficit to 30-22 heading into the final quarter.

Whatever spurred the Lady Rebels offensively in the third quarter ran out in the fourth. Aside from a Spencer triple, the Lady Rebels fell silent in the scoring column. The Lady Warriors’ offense was only slightly better in the period with four points from Owen and a Yates bucket, but it was enough to put the Lady Rebels’ season to rest.

“I talked to the girls a little bit about the improvement that I’ve seen in the last month; we’ve been able to put more points on the board in the last three weeks than we have for the entire season,” Thomas said. “It seems like they were just getting to the point where they were clicking together and starting to buy into the system and trust each other with the ball.”

With the loss, the Lady Rebels conclude the 2021-22 campaign at 1-16, marking the second straight year the Lady Rebels could only record a single victory. After concluding her third season at the helm, Thomas is now 4-50 since succeeding long-time predecessor Randall Schoen prior to the 2019-20 season.

The Lady Rebels graduate one senior, forward Georgia Faith.

South Central 7 6 9 3 – 25
Christian Academy 7 12 11 6 – 36
South Central – Kiper 8, Maley 7, Spencer 6, Liebert 4.
Christian Academy – Yates 12, Owen 11, Stevens 7, Bryant 4, Hodge 2.
3-point goals – South Central 1 (Spencer); Christian Academy 2 (Stevens 2).