News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Sports

January 23, 2014

South girls struggle with rebounding, turnovers in loss to Warren Central

TERRE HAUTE — The key statistic Thursday night in a Metropolitan Interscholastic Conference girls high school basketball game may have been shot attempts, particularly in the first quarter.

Visiting Warren Central put the ball in the air 26 times in the first eight minutes; although they hit less than 30 percent of those attempts, the Warriors had established the tempo and the style of the game. The visitors’ quickness, ball-hawking tendencies and offensive rebounding prowess added up to a 56-45 victory.

“I quit writing scouting reports,” a disappointed coach Cara Stuckey of the Braves said afterward. “We’re still working on blocking out and rebounding.”

The Braves actually scored the first basket of the game, but then the Warriors were off on a 15-2 run. South had eight first-quarter turnovers, and Warren Central rarely left its offensive half of the court.

“The second-chance points we give up, and the points we give up off turnovers, are areas we’ve got to improve on if we’re going to get better,” Stuckey noted.

Once the Braves settled down and occasionally got the contest into a half-court game, they were able to make inroads into that early 15-4 deficit.

A basket by Lauren Hambrock — who had 18 points and a game-high 10 rebounds — brought South within 17-13 in the opening seconds of the second quarter, in fact, and the home team threatened at several other junctures in the game.

But every time that happened, Warren Central seemed to find that extra gear again and/or the Braves would start turning the ball over — 25 for the game, 10 in the third quarter.

The Warriors went on a 10-2 run after a Lauren Perrelle 3-pointer had cut the lead to 19-16, the closest the Braves would ever get; Warren Central had another 10-2 burst to close out the third period, after South had twice come within four points; and in the fourth quarter, with South trailing 50-42 but with the Warriors in major foul trouble, South went nearly four minutes without scoring, the Braves’ last three points coming in the final seconds.

Donnette Swift had 18 points and five steals to lead the visitors, while point guard Tia King had 16 points, five rebounds, six assists and three steals. Little Leticia Johnson, the Warriors’ third guard, scored only four points but had a team-high eight rebounds plus five steals and five assists.

Hambrock was the only South player in double figures in any category, although Ali Danielson had five assists and Bailee Williams four steals.

Danielson started in place of Kylie Fendrick, who has been out all week with an illness, and Fendrick’s hard-nosed play was missed on Thursday.

“Their coach [first-year mentor Tod WIndlan of Warren Central] is trying to change the culture of their team, and we’re trying to change the culture of ours, to show a little more toughness,” Stuckey said. “We have the nicest girls, but they just play that way.”

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