CONNERSVILLE — Both the Mt. Vernon and Connersville girls teams had quarters Friday night in which they scored a total of three points.
MV got a mulligan, but the Spartans did not.
The Marauders rebounded from their three-point second quarter and shot the lights both out of the basketball and their Class 4A-Sectional 9 hosts in the second half, and went on to a 50-38 win.
MV (17-4), last year’s 3A state champion, goes for a fourth straight sectional crown tonight at 7:30 p.m. at Connersville’s Spartan Bowl opposite Anderson. The 18-4 Indians knocked out Pendleton Heights in Friday’s nightcap 68-55.
The Marauders more than reversed an eight-point halftime deficit by putting up 21 in the third and running off 11 in a row to begin the final eight minutes.
It was indeed a difference between night and day for the Marauders, as far as shooting was concerned. They made a staggering 80 percent of their second-half shots (12-of-15), including their first six. This was after MV struggled through a 4-for-17 first half.
Sydney Shelton scored 18 of her game-high 24 points after the break, making six field goals and five free throws, all without a miss.
“We put a lot more pressure and tried to double (Spartan guard Taylor Stephen) on defense,” MV coach Julie Shelton said. “And on offense, we put (Olivia) Coleman in the high post to try to put pressure against their zone.”
That adjustment paid off after the Marauders found themselves behind the whole first half, except at 3-all.
MV went scoreless through the final 7:38 of the first half and committed eight turnovers in the second quarter. The Connersville lead grew to 22-12, about 10 seconds into the second half.
“I thought in the first quarter we were non-existent offensively and we struggled with the offense and started to force some shots,” Julie Shelton said.
Soon after, the Marauders found the energy they were missing the entire game, and with it Sydney Shelton’s stroke reappeared.
Shelton drove for two baskets to begin the half, then stole and converted a three-point play to make it 25-22, and soon after canned an NBA-length three-pointer, followed by a 15-footer, and it was 30-29 at the three-minute mark of the third.
MV forged ahead 31-30 on two Sadie Baugh free throws, and Baugh capped off an 11-2 run with a spin and hook.
The Marauders went into the fourth period behind 35-33, but continued their assault with their game-clinching outburst.
Shelton knotted it with a put-back, then Shaely Duff nailed a three from the left wing, wide open. Coleman drove for two straight baskets and Ariana Sandefur scored off a Coleman feed, and the Spartans were in dire straits.
“At halftime, coach always gets on us,” said Coleman, who had eight points, seven rebounds and three assists. “It’s great how she gets in our faces and tells us what to do. It all starts with the team. We’ve got to be ready to play (tonight).”
Sandefur added nine points and three steals. Purdue-bound senior center Erica Moore, still battling the effects of knee surgery, had six rebounds off the bench.
The Marauders ended up shooting 50 percent, while holding the Spartans to 33 percent and 1-of-7 in the final period.
MV tonight must face an Anderson team that pressures opponents the entire court. The Indians beat the Marauders 72-60 Dec. 10.
“We’ve just been struggling of late, offensively and defensively, and haven’t been shooting the ball well early in the game,” Julie Shelton said. “It takes a lot of focus, and I know we’re capable, and if I knew I’d fix it.”
Notes: The game started 30 minutes after the scheduled 6 p.m. tip because MV was delayed in arriving due to weather. ... MV was the designated home team by virtue of the draw, and will be the “visiting” side tonight. ... The Marauders have winning streaks of five overall and eight in the postseason dating to last year.
Girls Class 4A Sectional 9
Mt. Vernon 50, Connersville 38
CO — Coker 0-1 0-1 0, Gaines 1-3 0-1 3, McCreery 2-12 0-1 6, Phillips 5-9 1-2 15, Stephen 5-12 1-2 12, Cobb 1-3 0-0 2, Crawford 0-0 0-0 0. Totals — 14-40 2-7 38.
MV — Sandefur 3-8 2-3 9, Baugh 1-1 3-9 5,, Shelton 8-14 5-5 24, Duff 1-2 1-1 4, Coleman 3-4 2-2 8, Walrod 0-0 0-0 0, Moore 0-3 0-1 0. Totals — 16-32 13-21 50.
SCORE BY QUARTERS
CO (11-11) 14 6 15 3 — 38
MV (17-4) 9 3 21 17 — 50
Three-pt. field goals: CO 8-23 (Phillips 4-7, McCreery 2-9, Stephen 1-5, Gaines 1-2); MV 5-11 (Shelton 3-7, Sandefur 1-3, Duff 1-1).
Rebounds: CO 20 (McCreery 7, Stephen 4, Cobb 3, Gaines 2, Phillips 2, Team 2); MV 31 (Coleman 7, Moore 6, Walrod 4, Baugh 4, Shelton 3, Sandefur 2, Duff 2, Team 3) Assists: CO 9 (Stephen 4, Gaines 2, McCreery 2, Phillips 1); MV 11 (Coleman 4, Shelton 3, Sandefur 3, Baugh 1). Steals: CO 6 (McCreery 2, Stephen 2, Gaines 1, Phillips 1); MV 8 (Sandefur 3, Baugh 2, Shelton 2, Duff 1). Blocks: MV 1 (Sandefur 1). Fouls: CO 19, MV 13. Fouled out: Phillips. Turnovers: CO 16 MV 19.
All comments are moderated before posting.
View our commenting guidelines and FAQ's here.