RUSHVILLE — Playing on their home floor in front of a good crowd, finally, the Lady Lions rolled to the sectional title with a 47-26 victory over Lawrenceburg (13-9).
The Lady Lions move to 17-8 on the season and advance to the Charlestown Regional this Saturday to face No. 5 Washington (19-1). No. 1 Silver Creek (21-3) faces No. 4 Evansville Memorial (18-4) in the other regional semifinal.
“What an incredible effort by the girls. They were locked in all weekend. Offensively, our balance was outstanding and so many kids stepped up. We shared the ball and made the extra pass. Girls knocked down open shot after open shot,” Coach Melissa Marlow said. “Defensively, we executed what we wanted to do all three nights. This team is proof that when every player accepts their role and is willing to do what the team needs, success is possible. I am so proud of the toughness and resilience this group has shown.”
“And it doesn’t hurt to get to see some Jungle Dogs and Lady Lion faithful in the stands. The atmosphere was special this weekend for the girls. It’s been a tough season on them playing mostly in an empty gymnasium. I think they realize how special it is to be a Lady Lion and part of this community,” Coach Marlow added.
Looking to avenge a regular season loss to the Lady Tigers, the Lady Lions left little doubt early in their intentions on claiming the sectional title. Rushville opened the scoring with a bucket by Belle Gossett and traditional three point play from Briley Munchel. Gossett then drained a 3-pointer followed by a Munchel 3-pointer. Another Gossett 3-pointer put the Lady Lions on top 13-0 and force a Lawrenceburg timeout.
After the break in the action, the Lady Tigers got on the board with a 3-pointer by Lizzie Redar. Rushville answered on the other end with another Munchel bomb. Redar scored on a nice move in the paint to cut the Rushville lead to 16-5. Rushville closed the first quarter with a steal and lay-up by Munchel and 3-pointer from Olivia Yager. After one quarter, Rushville was in control, up 20-5.
A rebound bucket by Yager and steal and lay-up by Sophia Dora extended the Rushville lead to 24-5 to open the second quarter. Redar kept the hot hand for the Lady Tigers, scoring three straight After a traditional three point play by Yager for Rushville, Redar scored in the paint. She had all 10 Lady Tiger points in the first half. A bucket on the break by Annika Marlow and 3-pointer at the buzzer by Yager put the Lady Lions in front 32-10 at the half.
Rushville opened the third quarter with a familiar result, a 3-pointer by Munchel. Lawrenceburg’s Kierah Lowe went to work in the paint for the Lady Tigers, scoring four straight points. After a jumper by Munchel for Rushville, Lawrenceburg’s Hannah White scored to cut the deficit to 37-16. Rushville scored the next four points before a drive by Redar closed the third quarter with Rushville leading 41-18.
A Dora 3-pointer and free throw by Jaeda Miller started the final quarter. Lowe got the Lady Tigers on the board with a pair from the charity stripe. Rushville went to a very deliberate offense and got its final points from Yager to make it 47-20. Lawrenceburg closed the game with a bucket by Holly Knippenberg, rebound bucket by Redar and two free throws by White to close out the sectional final 47-26.
Munchel led the way for the Lady Lions with 15 points, three assists and four steals. Yager added 14 points, six rebounds and two assists. Gossett scored eight points. Dora tallied seven points, five rebounds and two steals. Marlow had two points, six rebounds and three assists. Miller finished with one point and two rebounds.
Redar led the Lady Tigers with 14 points. Lowe finished with six points. White tallied four points and Knippenberg had two points.