Four of a kind
NEW CARLISLE — South Central head coach Wes Bucher had a hunch heading into Tuesday night’s matchup with winless New Prairie on the road.
During preseason workouts, he knew that incoming freshman Abbie Tomblin would be a key piece to the Satellites’ offensive attack with her perimeter shooting. He told the staff about the hunch prior to tip-off against the Cougars, saying Tomblin would be a main reason why they won.
“Over the summer, we had talked about getting her shots off quicker and getting her feet set quicker,” Bucher said. “When she gets rid of the ball now, she gets rid of it very quickly and it’s very, very impressive.”
The hunch was accurate, as Tomblin scored nine of the first 15 points for the Satellites, helping them jump out to a 15-7 advantage after one and leading the way with 13 points in South Central’s 51-42 victory over the Cougars.
“I told the coaches that tonight was gonna be a night for her and to see her respond like that was awesome,” Bucher said. “She came out and really got us off to that start where we were in control and helped us maintain it until the end.”
Tomblin credited the workouts prior to the season, noting the difference in shooting drills that’s really helped her become a more consistent shooter.
“The footwork that we’ve been working on has really been helping,” Tomblin said. “Coming from eighth grade to ninth grade, the drills we’ve have been doing have made a huge difference and they’re really starting to set in for me.”
Tomblin made four of her final five shots in the opening frame with her only missing coming on a heave from three-quarters court that nailed the front of the rim. Her hot start was a sign of things to come, as four different Satellites — Faith Biggs, Delanie Gale and Amber Wolf — all scored seven points apiece, balancing out the S.C. attack.
The Satellites maintained their advantage throughout the contest, but the Cougars hung around for most of the night, using their size and strength down low with Sydney Meyers and Kailin Strauch, along with some vital offensive rebounds from Maddie McSurley to keep the Cougars in it.
“We look at these bigger schools with the physicality they’re gonna bring,” Bucher noted. The Cougars were a plus-13 on the window (34-21) against the Satellites, 10 coming from McSurley alone.
“The bigs tonight beat us up big time. It gives us something to really work on. With our 1-3-1, you really wanna make sure you shut down the inside, and we really didn’t do a good job of doing that tonight.”
Despite the rebounding disadvantages, the Satellites maintained control of the contest due to different looks and ball pressure they showed star point guard Libby Lapczynski all night long. The junior guard missed 11 of her 13 shot attempts, but did deliver a couple of key assists deep in the paint to Strauch late in the third that pulled the Cougars to a 35-32 deficit heading to the fourth.
Lapczynski canned a deep triple to start the fourth to tie the contest, but Kate Rudolph answered right back with a three of her own in her five-point final quarter off the bench to give the lead right back to S.C.; a lead they wouldn’t relinquish the rest of the night.
In the final 6:29 of the fourth after a New Prairie timeout, the Satellites held the Cougars to just four points while scoring 16 as a unit in the period.
“We had a couple timeouts in the end that helped us settle down and then get a few more steals,” Tomblin said. “In the middle of the game, we were switching our defenses around and not communicating as well. Toward the end, we did really well defensively.”
Reach Michael Whitlow at email@example.com or (219) 214-4169. Follow him on Twitter @couldbelikemike.
SOUTH CENTRAL 51, NEW PRAIRIE 42
SOUTH CENTRAL (4-0)
Abbie Tomblin 5-11 2-4 13, Delanie Gale 3-5 1-2 7, Lexy Wade 2-3 3-4 7, Amber Wolf 2-3 3-8 7, Kate Rudolph 1-1 2-2 5, Faith Biggs 1-7 2-8 4, McKenzie Hudspeth 1-3 1-4 3, Skyler Wildfong 0-6 3-7 3, Marissa Carr 1-3 0-0 2. Totals — 16-42 17-39 51.
NEW PRAIRIE (0-4)
Taylor Nelson 4-8 3-4 12, Sydney Meyers 4-7 3-4 11, Libby Lapczynsky 2-13 2-2 8, Maddie McSurley 2-8 0-3 4, Kailin Strauch 2-5 0-0 4, Allison Pavlick 1-3 0-0 2, Jordan Winters 1-3 0-2 2. Totals — 16-49 8-10 42.
3-point shooting — South Central: 2-11 (Tomblin/Rudolph 1), New Prairie: 3-19 (Lapczynsky 2).
Rebounds — South Central 21 (Wolf 8), New Prairie 34 (McSurley 10).
Assists — South Central 8 (Gale 3), New Prairie 6 (Lapczynsky 2).
Steals — South Central 10 (Wildfong 3), New Prairie 5.
Blocks — South Central 9 (Biggs 3), New Prairie 4 (Strauch 2).
Turnovers — South Central 10, New Prairie 17.
Fouls — South Central 12, New Prairie 24.
South Central 51, New Prairie 42
Abbie Tomblin led the way for the Satellites with 13 points, while Taylor Nelson paced the Cougars with 12 points.