The Commercial-News, Danville, IL

December 23, 2012

Rambler girls return to top of county


ATTICA, Ind. —  It might not be an exaggeration to suggest that the Attica Ramblers girls’ basketball program has been a work in progress over the last four years.

Since the graduation Brittany Rayburn in 2008, Attica had amassed a 17-65 record entering this season, and hadn’t won the Bi-County Tournament since knocking off Fountain Central in December of 2007.

Attica defeated the Mustangs convincingly, 61-33, but that was also the last time the Ramblers had defeated their Wabash River Conference rivals. That is, until Saturday when Attica won its first Bi-County title in five years, defeating Fountain Central 66-52.

“It’s been a few years since we were able to cut the net down,” Attica coach Matt Harmeson said. “This is my fifth year and we knew it was going to be a total rebuild. They’ve been working their tails off since Day 1 when they were in sixth grade. They know how to win games. Sometimes they give you a heart attack doing it, but they know how to win games and finish the deal.”

Finishing the deal was the least of Attica’s worries on Saturday. The Ramblers put up an impressive 39 points in the first half, and led by as many as 28 in the second half.

The halftime advantage was built largely on forcing the Mustangs into 16 turnovers (31 in the game), and an impressive 16 of 19 performance from the free-throw line.

The two teams had met on Monday when they attempted a combined 57 free throws in Attica’s 47-34 win. The Ramblers made 12 of their 24 attempts.

“We shot it well,” Harmeson said. “We shot well from the line and ran our break well. The ball wasn’t even hitting the floor — three passes and a layup. It was a site to see. Thirty-nine points I know is our best effort as far as points in a half this year. This is huge momentum for us going into the new year.”

Maci Kyger led the Ramblers (9-3 overall) with 20 points and had three steals while Chelsey LaDuke scored 12 had had four steals, and Kaley Sosnowski finished with 10 points and four thefts. In all, Attica had a total of 18 steals.

“Defense is usually what wins games, and that’s kind of our strong suit for the Ramblers,” Kyger said. “It was just nice to block out the shooters when we needed to and watch out for the drivers.”

Kyger scored eight of her points in the third quarter with six coming on fastbreak layups following steals.

Ashley Mitton also finished with 10 points and a team high six rebounds prior to fouling out.

But while everything went the way of the Ramblers through the first three quarters, the offense ran dry toward the end of the third and Attica went scoreless for five minutes, 29 seconds.

Fountain Central (3-8) used the dry spell to its advantage, going on a 14-0 run, and eventually pulling to within 11 points with 1:50 to go in the game. But by then, the damage had been done.

“I think it was the fact that we didn’t even show up to play in the first half,” Fountain Central coach Amie Newhart said. “We didn’t take care of the ball, we didn’t rebound well, we didn’t execute any of our stuff. We just didn’t show up.

“In the second half, we played much better. We scored 26 points in the fourth quarter. I’m proud that they came back, but you can’t win a game when you get down 30 at one point and you give up a half where you let the other team score 39 points. It’s as simple as that.”

Mustangs senior Linley Smith led all scorers with 27 points and grabbed 14 rebounds, 10 on the defensive glass.

Both teams will be back in action on January 3 when Fountain Central takes on North Putnam, and Attica hosts Covington.

The Ramblers will attempt to use the momentum from the weekend as it finishes the season with high hopes.

“It’s just nice to come back and get what we worked so hard for all summer and in the camps all year-round,” Kyger said. “It’s nice to get something that is well-deserved.”

Seeger 59

Covington 39

ATTICA, Ind. — Kristen Irvine scored a game-high 21 points to lead the Lady Patriots past the Trojans in the consolation game of the Bi-County Holiday Tournament.

Seeger (7-5) outscored Covington 29-16 in the second half to seal its second victory of the year against their Bi-County rivals. The Patriots also defeated the Trojans 49-31 on Nov. 16.

Joining Irvine in double figures for Seeger was Miranda Synesael with 16 points, while Covington (7-4) was led in scoring by Andi Taylor with 13 and Aliah Larsen had 10 in the losing cause.

Up next for the Patriots is the Bismarck-Henning Blue Devil Classic on Dec. 27-29.