RISING SUN — Playing without two starters, and three players total, Jac-Cen-Del was shorthanded for Thursday’s away game. However, the Eagles still took care of business and throttled the Shiners, winning 64-31.
“I was really proud of the way our kids stepped up, especially Desiree Sparks, Jalee Rider and Aundrea Cullen,” JCD coach Scott Smith said. “They played starter minutes and produced starter type numbers. If we can continue to get those contributions, it is a huge plus for our team.”
JCD improved to 18-3 overall and 4-0 in the Ohio River Valley Conference. Rising Sun dropped to 3-14 and 1-4.
Paige Ledford dominated the paint, scoring 22 points and snagging 14 rebounds. The senior is only six rebounds shy of reaching 1,000 for her career.
Ledford already hit the 1,000 point milestone earlier this season. Getting 1,000 rebounds would be a very impressive feat, especially considering only 12 girls in Indiana history are known to have accomplished the feat.
Rider was next in scoring with 16, which was one shy of her career high. The junior also led the team with four steals.
Sparks scored 10 and just missed a double-double after hauling in nine boards.
Cullen chipped in seven points after going 2-for-3 from 3-point range.
Annabelle Williams contributed in a variety of ways, scoring six points, dishing six assists, making three steals and grabbing three rebounds.
Reagan Hughes and her sister, Dillan, missed the game while they wait to until a COVID test result comes back for their sister.
Senior Anna Hubbard missed her third straight game with a knee injury.
Smith said the Eagles likely won’t know until Monday if those three players will be back for Tuesday’s huge showdown. The Eagles will host South Ripley (12-4, 4-0 ORVC), where the winner will likely become the conference champion.
JCD beat the Raiders 55-43 on Jan. 8 in the championship game of the Ripley County tournament.
Since Jan. 1, the Eagles have been talking about how they treat every game as a sectional matchup, where it’s either win or go home.
“We need to approach this game the same way because I know South Ripley will,” Smith said. “They are well coached and very long. We have to knock down 3s and continue our good defensive play.”
Jac-Cen-Del has won eight straight games, while South Ripley has won five straight.