At the start of Terre Haute South’s boys basketball game against unbeaten Evansville Reitz, you can sense a window where the Panthers might be vulnerable.
A few shots didn’t fall, a couple of stops weren’t made, and the Braves had the earliest momentum.
Quality teams don’t let their confidence slip, they ride it out and let it grow. That was the case for the Panthers.
Reitz got better as the first half went along and it never had a let-up once the good things began happening for them. That was bad news for South, who got overwhelmed in the second quarter on its way to an 81-59 defeat at South.
It was a rough game for the Braves, but a milestone day for assistant coach Kalen Alexander. The former Terre Haute North and Indiana State guard coached the game in place of Maynard Lewis, who missed the game with illness.
"I think we're learning how to be physical. That's something new for us and the guys we have. Before the game, we told them it was going to be challenge. You shouldn't be shocked when you get out there and notice how physical it is. We learned how to be physical and that's what I like," Alexander said.
South led 4-0 early as Reitz was having trouble getting into gear offensively. Even when the Panthers did start scoring, South had answers, leading well past the mid-point of the first stanza. It was a four-point game when Reitz’s Gavin Schippert tipped in a second-chance bucket at the buzzer to put Reitz up 20-14 at the quarter break.
Schippert was part of a dual 6-foot-7 attack from Reitz also featuring Owen Dease. They would get rolling in the second quarter and so would the rest of the Panthers.
Reitz opened its advantage to 25-14 and had an eight-point lead when it really kicked it up a notch. A 13-0 run put the game out of reach as the Panthers had only missed three of its 11 shots from the field at the end of the surge. Overall, Reitz converted 11 of 15 in a 28-point second quarter that put South behind 48-25 at halftime.
Schippert and Dease scored 16 of Reitz’s points in the quarter.
Reitz (4-0) continued its efficiency on the offensive end — the Panthers would finish with a 60.3% shooting percentage — and built its lead to 67-37 early in the fourth quarter, but the Braves made a creditable comeback, nearly cutting the deficit in half to 71-55 in the span of just three minutes. Alas, the Panthers were able to stem the tide and ride the game out.
"That good that got us back into the game? We have to learn to expand on it and be more consistent to where it's from play to play instead of it being happenstance," Alexander said.
Did Alexander enjoy his first taste of varsity coaching?
"I found out two days ago I'd be taking over. We definitely miss [Lewis] and can't wait to have him back. Outcome aside? I loved it. I love coming here everyday. I enjoy the boys. I love being a part of their development. It was a new experience for me and I'm looking forward to many more some day," Alexander said.
South (4-8) next plays at Terre Haute North on Friday.
EVANSVILLE REITZ (81) - McHugh 2-4 0-0 4, Dease 7-9 0-0 15, E. Higgs 5-6 0-2 10, I. Higgs 3-6 0-0 7, Schippert 7-13 4-6 19, Jarvis 2-4 0-0 4, McReynolds 3-6 0-0 8, Raisor 0-1 2-2 2, Tinson 5-5 0-0 10, Nolan 0-0 0-0 0, Kirkland 0-1 0-0 0, Springer 0-2 0-0 0, Stumpf 1-1 0-0 2. 35-58 FG, 6-10 FT, 81 TP.
TERRE HAUTE SOUTH (59) - Wilson 8-15 3-3 21, Thomas 2-6 0-0 6, Apholone 2-9 0-0 6, Hanes 6-10 3-3 15, Alvarez 2-5 0-0 4, Turner 0-1 0-0 0, Richardson 0-3 0-0 0, Mahurin 1-2 0-0 2, McCoskey 1-1 0-0 2, Bement 1-4 0-0 3, Gambill 0-2 0-0 0, Baker 0-1 0-0 0. 23-59 FG, 6-6 FT, 59 TP.
Terre Haute South=14=11=10=24=-=59
3-point goals - ER 5-10 (McReynolds 2-3, Dease 1-3, I. Higgs 1-1, Schippert 1-1, E. Higgs 0-1, Springer 0-1); THS 7-24 (Wilson 2-5, Apholone 2-5, Thomas 2-2, Bement 1-4, Hanes 0-2, Alvarez 0-2, Richardson 0-1, Mahurin 0-1, Gambill 0-1, Baker 0-1). Rebounds - ER 37 (Schippert 9); THS 26 (Apholone 6, Hanes 6). Steals - ER 7 (Schippert 2, Tinson 2); THS 4 (Wilson 2). Blocks - ER 1 (Dease); THS 1 (Hanes). Turnovers - ER 11, THS 10. Total fouls - ER 15, THS 10.
JV – Reitz 57 (Springer 14), TH South 42 (Baker 13)
Next - TH South (4-8) next plays at Terre Haute North and Evansville Reitz (4-0) plays at Evansville North on Friday.