News From Terre Haute, Indiana

February 17, 2013

Sullivan girls fall to defending state champion Mater Dei

Andy Amey
The Tribune-Star

PAOLI — The end of an era came too quickly and far too painfully for the girls from Sullivan on Saturday night.

The five starting seniors on the Golden Arrows' girls high school basketball team — Sydney Chapman, Jaleigh Gilham, Cobie Harrison, Caelan Jones and Rhagen Smith — gave themselves a chance to win a Class 2A regional against the defending state champions for the better part of two quarters.

But after an 8-0 Sullivan run tied the score at 18 with a little over three minutes to play in the second quarter, top-ranked Evansville Mater Dei scored the last five points of the first half — and then the first 12 of the second half. Sullivan never got closer than 16 points the rest of the way in an eventual 68-35 loss.

Mater Dei had blitzed the host Paoli team with a 15-0 run in the first quarter of Saturday morning's first semifinal contest, and threatened to do the same to the Arrows in the night game.

After Sullivan took a 4-0 lead on two free throws by Smith and a driving layup by Jones, the Wildcats scored the next 14 points the way they'd done against Paoli: pinpoint passing by junior star Maura Muensterman setting up open teammates for easy shots. Muensterman had five assists on the six Mater Dei baskets in the first quarter and scored the other one herself.

Smith got the next six points of the game, however, and Sullivan was within 14-10 early in the second quarter. Mater Dei got the next two baskets — one by Muensterman, one assisted by Muensterman — and changed defenses, but the Arrows were ready for the switch.

Using skip passes beautifully against Mater Dei's tricky 3-2 trapping zone, Sullivan got a 3-pointer by Jones, then one by Gilham, then a layup by Smith set up by Jones' spectacular wraparound pass. Mater Dei didn't use that zone trap again.

Unfortunately, they weren't pressed into another defensive change.

“We ran out of gas,” coach Julie Meeks said after the game. “Caelan hurt her knee a little bit [and was limping throughout a good portion of the season half] ... we were just mentally and physically exhausted.

“We fought hard. We were in it at halftime,” the coach continued. “We had a great run and a great year. We have a lot to be proud of.”

Smith closed out a record-setting Sullivan career with 19 points and seven rebounds and Jones, the other four-year starter in the lineup, scored nine and had six assists.

Muensterman turned to a scoring role in the second half for Mater Dei and finished with 26 points, a game-high eight rebounds and eight assists. Tori Schickel matched Smith in both points and rebounds, and Beth Fischer added 11 points for the Wildcats.

“We did the best we could,” Meeks said. “Now we'll be rebuilding, and working hard. We don't get to reload. I felt we had a great defensive plan and it worked for us ... we just wore down.”

Meeks called her five seniors, “five wonderful kids. I was fortunate to get the opportunity to have them and to coach them. I hope I've blessed them with some lifelong skills.”

EVANSVILLE MATER DEI (68) — Muensterman 11-21 1-1 26, Fischer 5-6 1-1 11, Schickel 6-9 7-9 19, Spahn 0-3 0-0 0, Bueltel 1-3 0-0 2, Greenwell 3-8 0-0 6, Kelley 1-2 0-0 2, Ubelhor 0-0 0-0 0, Goebel 0-1 0-1 0, Gries 0-0 0-0 0, Anderson 0-0 0-0 0, Daunhauer 1-2 0-0 2. Totals 28-55 FG, 9-12 FT, 68 TP.

SULLIVAN (35) — Harrison 0-0 1-4 1, Chapman 1-4 0-0 2, Smith 6-15 7-7 19, Jones 3-6 2-4 9, Gilham 1-7 0-0 3, Cottom 0-1 0-0 0, Wilkes 0-0 0-0 0, C.Day 0-0 1-2 1, McDonald 0-0 0-0 0, Basinger 0-0 0-0 0, Judson 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 11-33 FG, 11-17 FT, 35 TP.

Evansville Mater Dei    14    9    21    24    —    68    

Sullivan    6    12    6    11    —    35

3-point shooting — EMD 3-9 (Muensterman 3-7, Spahn 0-1, Bueltel 0-1), Sullivan 2-8 (Jones 1-1, Gilham 1-6, Cottom 0-1). Total fouls — EMD 14, Sullivan 12. Fouled out — none. Turnovers — EMD 7, Sullivan 23. Rebounds — EMD 32 (Muensterman 8, Schickel 7), Sullivan 26 (Smith 7, Chapman 6, Jones 3, Gilham 3, Harrison 2, Wilkes, team 4). Assists — EMD 17 (Muensterman 8), Sullivan 8 (Jones 6, Chapman, Cottom). Steals — EMD 11 (Schickel 4, Fischer 4), Sullivan 6 (Chapman 2, Gilham 2, Smith, Jones). Blocks — EMD 1 (Muensterman), Sullivan 0.

Next — Evansville Mater Dei (26-2) plays Heritage Christian next Saturday at the Class 2A southern semistate, either at Richmond or Bedford. Sullivan finished 23-3.