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Rebels pull away from Tigers in 2nd half

Rebels pull away from Tigers in 2nd half
Rebels pull away from Tigers in 2nd half
South Central senior Kole Stewart, right, flies to the rim for a layup despite a chase-down attempt by Crothersville’s Corey Kelshaw during the Rebels’ 70-40 victory over the Tigers on Friday night. Photo by Brandon Miniard
By Brandon Miniard, Sports Writer, [email protected]

As the South Central boys’ basketball team began the second half of the season, it got off to a strong start.

After finishing 2022 as runner-up to top-ranked Orleans in the Baird Winter Classic, the Rebels entered 2023 with victories in each of their first three contests, starting with tight victories over rival Lanesville (46-42) and Mitchell (60-56). They followed that with an easier time against new sectional rival West Washington, brushing by the Senators 54-30.

With a 3-0 record to begin the new year, the Rebels looked to keep that going on Friday night when they hosted Southern Athletic Conference-rival Crothersville on homecoming night. While they got off to a slow start, a 26-7 third quarter helped the Rebels pull away to win their fourth-straight contest, 70-40.

In the early minutes of the opening frame, the Rebels had difficulty scoring aside from triples from junior guard Christian Kiper and sophomore guard Jarrett Ferree. The Tigers took advantage of this with four points from Preston West and buckets from Lucas Hilton, Curtis Thompson and Beau Napier. A basket from winter homecoming king Ty Jones and sophomore Tanner Smith helped the Rebels pull ahead 11-10 by the end of the first quarter.

The Rebels’ offense picked up slightly in the second quarter with seven points from sophomore guard Cole Thomas followed by a Jones long ball, a bucket from Kiper and a freebie from Smith. The Tigers tried to keep pace with four points from Thompson and three points from West before intermission, the scoreboard showing a 24-17 host advantage.

Whatever skipper Greg Robinson told his troops in the locker room seemed to resonate as the Rebels began the third quarter with a 17-3 explosion. For the period, Kiper led the assault with 10 points followed by eight from Thomas, four from junior Caden Bogan, another Jones trey and a free throw from senior Kole Stewart.

The Tigers could only manage three points from Hilton, two from Napier and a pair of West freebies to send the game into the fourth quarter with a 50-24 Rebels’ lead.

The Tigers put up their best offensive effort in the final period with eight points from Dirk Carter, a Napier long ball and a combined 5-for-6 showing at the charity stripe between Thompson and Elijah Plasse. The Rebels kept their distance with five points from junior center Ethan Hedden, three points from Stewart and threes from Kiper, Smith, Jones and sophomore guard Peyton Tyree to seal the Rebels’ 70-40 victory.

With the win, the Rebels begin 2023 with a perfect 4-0 record. Kiper led the effort with 18 points, followed by 15 from Thomas and 11 from Jones. West and Thompson paced the Tigers with nine points apiece followed by eight in the fourth quarter by Carter.

The Rebels are currently in the midst of a week-long layoff but will return to action on Saturday night when they host Class 2A No. 9 Southwestern (Hanover) at 7:30.

Crothersville   10   7    7  16 – 40
South Central   11 13  26  20 – 70
Crothersville (3-7) – Thompson 9, West 9, Carter 8, Napier 7, Hilton 5, Plasse 2.
South Central (9-4) – Kiper 18, Thomas 15, Jones 11, Smith 7, Hedden 5, Bogan 4, Johnson 4, Ferree 3, Tyree 3.
3-point goals – Crothersville 3 (Carter 2, Napier 1); South Central 10 (Jones 3, Kiper 2, Thomas 2, Ferree 1, Smith 1, Tyree 1).