News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Sports

November 15, 2013

Two Classics in a row for Patriots' girls basketball

North defeats South 58-45

WEST TERRE HAUTE — Patience is a virtue and it’s one that usually learned over time.

Terre Haute North’s girls basketball team has clocked more time on the court than their counterparts from Terre Haute South, and in Friday’s Terre Haute Savings Bank Tipoff Classic, that experience made the difference.

North — with four senior starters — imposed a rhythm on the game that worked for them and that was ill-suited for the young Braves. The Patriots were patient on the offensive end and their defense hurried South’s offense as the Patriots won the championship with a 58-45 victory at West Vigo’s Green Dome.

North (3-0) was the defending champion and its the first time the Patriots have successfully defended a Tipoff Classic championship. That pleased long-time North coach Mike Allen, whose coached North through plenty of tournament frustration since 2003.

“We used to call it the South Tipoff Tournament because they won it so many years in a row. It’s nice to be a repeat champion. You come in with a target on your back, but that’s OK, it makes you tougher,” Allen said.

North’s Layne Curley led all scorers with 24 points. Much of her damage was inflicted at the free throw line as she converted 14 of 18. Curley also had eight rebounds. She was named MVP of the tournament.

“I’m just glad that I could get [consecutive championships] done for coach Allen. I think it’s a big deal,” Curley said.

She wasn’t the only North senior to contribute. Jennifer Bendickson had 12 points and was key in North’s first half push. Senior center Adrienne Pritchard had eight rebounds and forward Sierra Sykes had five points.

“I kind of challenged them. ‘You guys have been here before, you know what it’s like to win a championship.’ Only two of their players played in that game last year. All of the seniors played an important role at different times,” North coach Mike Allen said.

Sophomore Abby Howes was also stout for North as she had 11 points and seven rebounds.

South (2-1) was paced by Kylie Fendrick 17 points. She converted 7 of 8 from the field. Lauren Hambrock had 11 rebounds for the Braves.

“We just didn’t execute our game plan. Our number one focus was rebounding and we got killed on the board. Our next emphasis was to get them off the free throw line and Curley made a living there tonight. She’s an awesome player and she was the difference tonight,” South coach Cara Stuckey said.

North began to build a gap late in the first quarter. A 3-pointer and a traditional three-point play by Bendickson spurred North on a 10-3 run that created a 19-11 advantage.

The lead reached 22-13 before a 9-2 Braves rally closed the gap to two points midway through the second quarter.

But South couldn’t overcome its turnovers — nine in the first half — and the Braves couldn’t keep up their shooting pace just when the Patriots got their groove back. North ended the first half on an 11-2 run, with 3-pointers by Curley and Bendickson being the big blows. The Patriots led 35-24 at the half.

“[South] is young and we hoped we could rattle them a little bit. I thought Layne did a great job guarding Kennedy [Williams, South’s point guard], who’s a great ballhandler. It flustered them a little bit,” Allen said.

South was only able to get its deficit under double-digits once in the second half as North’s defense forced five Braves turnovers in the third quarter. North’s ballhandlers waited to find drivers and went to the line 17 times in the second half and converted 11 of the freebies.

Both teams return to action against future conference foes on Tuesday. North plays host to Bloomington North and South travels to Bloomington South.

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Put your back into it: Indiana State's Jake Odum guards Loyola's Matt O'Leary in the second half of action during the the Sycamores' 75-62 win on Friday in the MVC Tournament in St. Louis.

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