BY GREG FLINT
VEEDERSBURG, Ind. —
It could have been a good game when Attica traveled to Fountain Central to play girls’ basketball.
It could have been Linley Smith of the Mustangs battling Ashley Mitton under the boards. It could have been Kaylynn Kirkpatrick of the visitors dueling with Mary Frazee out on the wings. It could have been Maci Kyger battling with any of the Fountain Central guards.
It could have been — and was, but only for about seven minutes. After that, the game ceased to be basketball and became more like roller derby with Attica winning 47-34.
In the opening minutes, Attica got the ball to Kirkpatrick who hit a jumper and then got fouled and made one of two free throws to lead 3-0.
Fountain Central used good ball movement and got the ball to Mackenzie Hurd who went to the line and made a pair of free throws.
On the next possession, she made a lay-up off a pass from Smith, missing the ensuing free throw, but still putting her team up 4-3.
Kyger followed with a steal and lay-up for Attica but Tayler Louthen countered with the same for the Mustangs. Smith made another lay-up and Fountain Central lead 8-5.
Thirty seconds later — at the 1:02 mark of the first quarter — Attica picked up their seventh team foul and Rambler coach Mark Harmeson was already looking at his bench.
That is where the game turned from basketball in to something else.
The players on both teams began to realize that whenever there was contact, the call almost always would go on the defender — whether it was a hand check, a bump of hips or a blocked shot attempt.
So the game changed as the players simply moved the ball until someone caught it within a dozen feet of the basket and that person would drive to hole without fear.
Defenders and attackers would go sprawling on the floor, but there would be a whistle that sent the attacker to the line.
When the game was over, there had been 49 fouls called (excluding a team technical for a scorebook mistake) including a double technical and a flagrant foul.
The game came down to free-throw shooting with neither side doing well. Unofficially, Attica hit 12-of-24 while Fountain Central was only 14-of-36.
Attica won the game 47-34 as they had 13 two-pointers compared to 10 for the Mustangs.
Three-point shooting was 3-0 in favor of the visitors including back-to-back treys by Kirkpatrick midway through the third quarter that turned a four-point Rambler lead into double digits — plays that the Rambler coach called “huge in this game.”
Harmeson said the foul trouble his team got into was the worst he had seen in 15 years of coaching.
In a two-minute span he had three players each pick up their fourth foul, then in the next two, he had another pick up her fourth and two others pick up their third — and there were still over six and a half minutes left in the game.
Harmeson said, “We found out we have a bench. We had a lot of contributors out there tonight.”
He also had favorable comments about the ball handling of his team, calling it much better at the end of the contest – when they went into their delay game – than the last time they tried to execute it.
He summed up the night, by saying, “Well, we got a win. We’re 2-0 in the conference and that’s big for us.”
Greg Flint is a freelance photographer/writer for the Commercial-News. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org