By Nick Gonnella Daily News
Greensburg Daily News
---- — The South Decatur girls basketball team realized what a challenge Saturday’s home game against Jac-Cen-Del was going to be, but the Lady Cougars did not expect the one-sided result it turned out to be.
Class 1A’s eighth-ranked Lady Eagles came into Decatur County and controlled the contest from beginning to end. JCD beat South 65-39.
The potential sectional opponents were far from strangers, but the Cougars (4-6) simply could not stop the winner of the past five sectional titles.
“Jac-Cen-Del just flat out-played us,” said South head coach Jessi McConnell. “Hopefully we’ll see then back at sectional and get another chance.”
The Eagles (8-1) led 20-11 after the first eight minutes. The game never improved for the Cougars, who found themselves down by double-digits at 36-21 at halftime.
JCD scored the first 10 points of the second half until South senior Ashley Johannigman and junior Megan Niese went to work. Johannigman hit a layup off a steal, and Niese scored to make it 48-26 near the two-minute mark of the third quarter.
Still, South trailed 49-27 at the third stop.
McConnell gave extended minutes to the bench in the final period as three South starters fouled out. Scoring for South was junior Olivia Watkins, for South’s last points of the game. Sophomore Morgan Eden also received playing time.
A glaring omission from the scorebook was senior Julia Miller, who was held scoreless by a tenacious Eagle defense. Miller failed to score for the first time since her freshman year.
“We shot horribly from the field and the line,” said McConnell, “and it doesn’t help when our leading scorer puts up zero points.”
Johannigman led South with 13 points. Niese followed with 10 points, while Helms and Fox each scored seven. Watkins chipped in two.
Johannigman recorded a double-double by adding 13 rebounds. She also led South with three assists.
Miller posted six rebounds.
Rebounds: Watkins 4, Helms 4, Niese 3, Courtney Billingsley 2, Fox 2.
Assists: Helms 1.
Steals: Fox 2, Helms 1, Billingsley 1.
South shot just 1-for-10 from the 3-point line and 12-for-31 (39 percent) from the foul line.
South’s junior varsity team fell 41-12. The Cougars trailed 9-2 after the first quarter, 13-4 at halftime and 27-10 after three quarters.
Watkins led South with five points. Morgan Eden scored three, while Sierra Deppe and Olivia Fry each added two.
Paige Wilmer, Delanie Diekhoff, Courtney Sample and Mackenzie Kopplin also played but did not score.
South next visits Oldenburg Academy for another game against a potential sectional opponent, Monday, Jan. 6.
Contact Nick Gonnella at (812) 663-3111, x7003.