Tale of two halves

December 15, 2018

UNION MILLS — At one point in the first half, South Central coach Wes Bucher was instructing his team, saying, ‘Don’t settle and be aggressive.’

His Satellites finally received the message in the second half.

That permitted South Central’s girls basketball team to pull away after the break and defeat undermanned Oregon-Davis 58-42 Friday night.

The Satellites clung to just a two-point half lead, but opened it up after the break against the Bobcats, who had just six players dressed due to injuries.

“We really focused on driving to the basket obviously,” S.C.’s Amber Wolf said. “But we were getting a few shots outside that were too rushed. Once we started attacking and getting them in foul trouble, that helped us a lot.”

Following a tenuous 26-24 half cushion, the Satellites (9-3) repeatedly got the ball inside or got some easy putbacks. That allowed them to erase a 30-29 deficit three minutes into the second half. South Central then closed the third quarter on a crucial 14-7 run to build a six-point margin heading to the fourth. Once S.C. went ahead 31-30 with roughly five minutes remaining in the third, it never trailed again against O-D (4-6).

“In the first half, we settled a little too much for the 18-, 20-, 15-foot shots,” Bucher said. “At halftime, we talked about attacking them. Attacking, because personnel-wise, obviously, they don’t have the numbers, so to attack them and get them into some foul trouble and make them make some adjustments was a big halftime goal.”

It also helped matters that the Satellites held the visitors scoreless for the first 4:40 of the fourth. In that span, South Central pushed its lead to double digits with 5:18 to go in the game, and later stretched it to 15 with 2:35 remaining. In total, S.C. limited the Bobcats to a mere five points in the last period. Plus, the Satellites had several easy putbacks in the second stanza.

“Defensively, we focused on and decided we’ve got to make sure we’re rebounding,” Bucher said. “We still gave up a couple, but we solidified that part of our game a little bit in the second half. Between those two things, attacking the basket and rebounding on the weak side, that was the difference maker in this game in the second half.”

On the other bench, there was a much different sentiment.

“We got outplayed,” O-D coach Terry Minix said. “It’s tough when you’ve only got five kids. And one of those five actually shouldn’t be out there, she’s hurt. Reece (Danford) got hurt in the Michigan City game. It’s more of a challenge before the game when you’re trying to get them prepared, because when you’ve got only five or six players that are able practice, you can’t do anything at practice.”

The Bobcats were missing Cassidy Stout, Cassidy Thelen, and Rikki Risner due to injuries.

Minix added he hopes most of them return to action after the first of the year. He said he doesn’t know if Thelen will be back this season, because she has a fairly significant knee injury, but he’s optimistic about Stout and Risner.

A pair of Bobcats ended up fouling out, so they finished the last 31.2 seconds with four players on the court.

Wolf paced all scorers with 18 points, while freshman Abbie Tomblin scored 12, all coming after the break. Faith Biggs posted 11 points and gave the team a boost in the key third-quarter spurt.

Sydney Williams guided Oregon-Davis with 13 points, and Jayden Worthington followed with 10 points. Mercedes Rhodes added nine points.

Midway through the first period, South Central went ahead four, 9-5, but the Bobcats clawed back. They tied it 11-11 with just under two minutes left in the first, and took a 13-11 lead. S.C. committed countless fouls in the first, putting the visitors in the bonus late in the opening quarter, but O-D never fully capitalized, missing six free throws in the first half.

The Satellites clung to a 16-15 advantage after the first and were ahead 26-24 at the break as they held the Bobcats to just one field goal in the second quarter. Oregon-Davis also had eight turnovers in both the first and fourth periods.

There was no junior varsity game.

South Central 58, Oregon-Davis 42

Amber Wolf registered a game-high 18 points for the Satellites.

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