Lady Lions capture second title in four years PDF Print E-mail

By Dennis Dunn
Special Correspondent

Coming into the Class 3A Sectional 30, the Salem Lady Lions were ranked No. 4 and the favorites to win it all. As it turned out the Lions were able to come away with the sectional win on Saturday night with a 42-36 victory over Scottsburg.

 

This was their second sectional title in four years and the only player on the team to enjoy both titles is senior Jamie Taylor, who was a freshman during the one they won four years ago.

“It feels so good to be a senior and lead the team to a victory like this,” Taylor said after the win. “We hadn’t played our best game of basketball in that first half and we knew we had to come out in the second half and play with more heart than they did. We just came out and done our best.

“It was a lot of keeping out emotions in control and that was a lot of it. It feels a lot better to win it as a senior. As for our regional opponent, we will scout the team and adjust our press and offense.”

The Lions got off to a good start as junior Mackenzie Underwood and sophomore Leah Miller scored to make it 4-0. However, from that point on the Lions struggled to score and hold onto the ball as the Warriorettes reeled off 12 straight points to take a 12-4 lead. Sophomore Hope Tomlinson ended their scoring streak with a layup at the 2:11 mark to make it 12-6.

After Scottsburg hit a 3-pointer, Underwood scored the final basket of the quarter, but the Warriorettes led 15-8. Scottsburg then opened the second quarter with their biggest lead of the game at 18-8, but Miller hit two free throws at the 5:29 mark and then hit a basket at 4:54 to make it 18-12.

Miller hit two more free throws and freshman Karly Sweeney hit two free throws, but the Warriorettes led 24-16 at the break.

“We just talked about being shell shocked in the locker room at halftime,” Lions Coach Jerry Hickey said. “Just the fact that who was that group of people that was out there on the court because I have never seen them. I think it com with being the favorite. The favorite goes out there scared and not to lose.

“We have to get that mentality out. We beat them by 37, we beat them by 16 so we come in and think it’s going to be easy, but we played scared. They had us for 15 missed layups and that’s 30 points, so that changes the game a little bit.”

Whatever happened in that locker room changed their outlook around in the second half. The Lions outscored the Warriorettes 17-9 in the third quarter and was able to force a 33-all tie with one quarter left. Scottsburg led 33-26 with 1:33 left in the third quarter, but Miller drained a 3-pointer from the top of the key and Underwood hit four free throws to tie it up.

At the 2:14 mark of the fourth quarter, the Lions took their first lead since the first quarter when Underwood hit a layup but missed the free throw to make it 37-35 and they would never lose that lead again as they scored five of the final six points of the game to take the win and the championship.

“The bottom line was I knew the jitters got us,” Hickey said. “I pulled them over and told them that Scottsburg came to win and we came not to lose and we had to figure out a way to flip that and they done that in the second half.

“When we got the draw three years ago and came in as the underdog it was easy as you got to go have fun. We were a 19-point favorite tonight and it is computer generated but when you are that big of a favorite and the ball is not going in the rim you have to stop. I pulled Miller aside and told her to go win this game and she hit a big 3-pointer with three minutes to go a the top of the key.”

Miller led the Lions with 18 on 5-for-14 shooting from the floor and 7-for-10 from the free throw line. She also had three rebounds, one block and two steals.

“It feels awesome to win a sectional and I have never dreamed of this,” Miller said. “This is awesome as words can’t explain it. I wasn’t sure we would get relaxed enough to get back into it, but we managed too and had the heart to do it.

“Coach pulled my aside late in the game and told me to stick it to them and finish it off. He told me to also get the lead back. We just knew we had to step up our game in the second half and eliminate the turnovers and handle the ball. I thought we need to calm down and slow everything down when we got down by 10.”

Underwood had a big game also for the Lions with 12 points on 2 of 4 from the floor and 8 of 11 from the free throw line. She pulled down a team-high 10 rebounds and had three steals.

“This is probably one of the best things ever,” Underwood said. “We just let things come to us and we knew we could come back it we played our game. We were all tense and uptight and came out here and the nerves got us.

“We wanted to take things as they come and expect anything. It was a lot on us coming in as favorites but we tried not to dwell on in or anything and had to come out and take it as an everyday game. My mentality was that we had to have the ball and I will do anything I can to go and get the ball.”


As for Scottsburg, who finished the year 12-14, was led in scoring by Jaylah Mays with 17. The Warriorettes out rebounded the Lions 36-29.

Salem, now 22-4, will play Evansville Memorial (16-6) in the second game of the Charlestown Regional on Saturday, Feb. 10. Greensburg (20-3) will battle Vincennes Lincoln (21-4) in the first game.

“This stands for everything I am against but Alex Davidson went and scouted them (Evansville Memorial) for me last week,” Hickey said. “I thought about going myself but I didn’t want to look ahead.

“To be honest I haven’t even looked at them. She sent me some stuff and a text and said I think you have a real good chance and that you match up well with them. Other than that I printed their stats off. I know just a few names and point production.”


Saturday, Feb. 3, at Salem

Class 3A Sectional 30

Championship

SB    15    9     9     3 – 36

SHS    8    8   17     9 – 42

Scottsburg (12-14): Jaylah Mays 17, Katie Horstman 7, Kady Clancy 5, Alyssa Hall 3, Zoe Zellers 2, Alyssa Stagnolia 2.

Salem (22-4): Leah Miller 18, Mackenzie Underwood 12, Jamie Taylor 5, Hope Tomlinson 5, Karly Sweeney 2

Last Updated on Tuesday, 06 February 2018 10:37