Just the beginning
FULTON — South Central coach Wes Bucher refused to shed any tears after his team’s 51-28 regional semifinal defeat at the hands of No. 1 Marquette Catholic on Saturday morning.
He mentioned how prideful he was of not only his team, which finished 19-7, but their season that included their third 19+ win season since 2014-15, a Porter County Conference Tournament title and the school’s first sectional championship since the 2004-05 campaign when the Satellites went all the way to semistate.
A change from Class A could bring some interesting changes with a shift into a sectional with Class 2A power North Judson, but the Satellites will return seven players from this year’s bunch, including top scorers Abbie Tomblin and Amber Wolf.
“We do have a majority of our squad coming back,” Bucher said after his team lost in the Caston A Regional. “There’s a lot to look forward to with South Central basketball.”
Saturday wasn’t the experience Bucher was hoping for, especially for his freshman star Tomblin (seven points on 3-of-9 shooting) or Wolf (seven points on 2-of-7 shooting), the heart of his team, but it’s an experience that they’ll use to their advantage when they’re one of the big dogs on the block a year from now.
“It’s huge for us having them back,” Bucher said. “Those two have played off each other all season long and I think today was a little too much for Abbie. But, she is one where she learns from playing. She asks questions about everything in practice. It’s because she wants to know everything. She’s gonna take these experiences and soak them all in and she’ll come back twice the player that she is now.”
Along with Tomblin and Wolf, leadoff hitter on the S.C. softball team Faith Biggs will return for a senior season and big-shot maker Delanie Gale will come back as a sophomore after a campaign that saw her not only hit some key jumpers, but make the winning free throws in the PCC title game thriller over Hebron.
“It hurts and I’m glad it hurts because it shows that they’re competitors,” Bucher said. “We’re not only competitive, but we have experience coming back and even this year, these girls are gonna move on to their next sports and dominate. They’re gonna move on and kick butt in something else for a change instead of being on this hardwood all the time.”
Blazers coach Katie Collignon was more than complimentary in her analysis of what’s ahead for the Satellites even before the two teams took the floor on Saturday.
“What’s exciting for them is that they’re a young team and already such a good team,” Collignon said on Thursday. “They’re gonna be really good here next year and they’ll be tough for anyone to beat. I really like how hard they play and they get their hands on so many balls defensively. They’re tough.”