CAYUGA, Ind. – Hot shooting from beyond the arc by Lafayette Central Catholic and unforced turnovers by Attica, both in the first half, helped the Knights oust the Red Ramblers from girls’ basketball Sectional 53 by the score of 86-76.
In the second game, Turkey Run trailed 13-2 after one quarter but came back to defeat host North Vermillion 37-30.
In the evening opener, the Knights jumped out to a 9-3, but Kaylynn Kirkpatrick answered with a trey and Ashley Mitton added a putback to pull the Ramblers within one at 9-8.
Central Catholic then took advantage of some hurried shots and unforced Attica turnovers to go on a 14-7 run to lead 23-15 after one quarter.
Nine of the points in that period came from 3-point shots and the Knights would hit three more in the second quarter en route to their largest lead of the game at 37-20.
Attica came back with baskets by Minton and Maci Kyger to cut the margin to 46-33 at halftime.
“I think everybody thought we’d get blown out in the second half after the way they shot in early in the game,” said Attica coach Matt Harmeson. “But we knew they usually tired – they aren’t very deep – so if we pressured them, we’d get our chances – and we did.”
In the third quarter, Attica began to cut into the Central Catholic lead as Minton scored eight points, Kyger six, Kaley Sosnowski three and Karrah Pattengale four.
The Ramblers got as close as 56-53, with two minutes left in the period, but the comeback may have tired them and they left a couple of shots short before falling back 57-53 by quarter’s end.
“We got as close as three and had some opportunities,” said Harmeson, “but we just couldn’t capitalize on them. Then they started making free throws to for the win.”
Attica kept the contest within four points as the final quarter started, but slowly the Rambler fouls mounted and the Knights began to go to the line in the double bonus.
Central Catholic did not do a great job from the line hitting only about 50 percent, but Attica simply could not score on several possessions and the Knights pulled away.
Harmeson liked how his team handled those final minutes despite not making as many shots as they needed.
“I thought we did a good job in lengthening the game,” he said. “We never gave up – there was no quit in this team and that came from our four seniors: Kaylynn, Maci, Ashley and Chelsey.”
The second game of the night looked as if it might be a blowout as North Vermillion scored the first nine points of the game and did not allow Turkey Run on the board until almost four minutes had run off the clock.
Trailing 13-2, the visiting Warriors outscored the Falcons 12-6 in the next four minutes to close the gap to 19-14 at the half.
They scored the first five points of the third quarter to tie the game at 19-all with three minutes gone. Sierra Grube made a free throw, Taylen Balding hit a jumper as did Rhiannon Grubbs to put the Falcons back in the lead.
The Grubbs jumper gave North Vermillion its last lead in the game as Turkey Run closed out the quarter on a 6-0 run to lead 29-24.
Her team may have been behind, but Balding, the lone senior on the Falcon squad, did all she could to avoid having this be her final game.
She played hard, deflecting passes, grabbing rebounds and shooting jumper, but in the end, she and her teammates could not close the gap and Turkey Run won 37-30.
It was the third win in four games for the Warriors and coming back from the 13-2 deficit did not surprise Turkey Run head coach Jeff Thompson.
“We had a game earlier against Rockville where we started down 16-2, so we’d seen this before,” he explained. “We came out nervous and they got some run outs on us, but we never quit and kept grinding.
“Our defensive effort is what turned it around for us. It got us open looks at our end and we made the shots.”
The outcomes of the two games mean that Lafayette Central Catholic with face Covington at 6 p.m. EST on Friday while Turkey Run will take on Rockville at about 7:30 p.m.
Greg Flint is a freelance writer/photographer for the Commercial-News. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org