Times Sports Editor
TERRE HAUTE -- The Northview Knights and Terre Haute South Braves came into Friday's sectional semifinal each riding streaks. Unfortunately for the Knights, it was the Braves streak that continued as South won its fourth straight game and Northview dropped its 13th in a row to conclude its season with a 46-23 defeat.
For the opening 16 minutes of action, Northview coach LuAnne Anderson got exactly the type of defensive effort that the Knights needed to combat the bigger Braves.
The Knights held South to just five-of-24 shooting in the first half and forced nine turnovers. However, the Knights weren't able to counter with much offense of their own, hitting only three-of-17 shots to trail 14-12 at the break.
Anderson however was pleased with how her team executed the defensive game plan while holding talented junior guard, Haley Seibert, scoreless over the first two periods.
"I'll tell you what, the first half was probably the best defensively we've played all year," commented Northview coach LuAnne Anderson. "We stressed in practice and we worked all week on it that we were going to mix it up and play some different zones and give (Terre Haute South) some different looks so they couldn't get steady in their offense. That was our game plan and I thought it worked well."
Indeed it did as South missed a few inside looks, but mostly appeared a bit unsteady in its offense while looking for an opening in the Knights' zone. The Braves edged out to a 10-5 lead on a pair of 3-pointers, one each from sophomores Kaylee Ellis and Mikayla Metheny.
The Knights rallied back before the half as Lauren Webster knocked down a 3-pointer of her own, Jessica LaTourette hit two free throws and Alyssa Conrad scored a fieldgoal.
The defensive effort was highlighted by the unusual fact that the Knights weren't called for a single team foul in the first half, which brought a smile to Anderson's face.
"I will say in the first half that we didn't have any fouls," Anderson said. "Normally if you've followed us all year we've almost fouled out the entire starting lineup in the first half. Our girls played smart defense in the first half. In the second half, not so much, we started to reach a little bit and to hack a little bit and we started to get outhustled."
The Braves seemed to regroup at the halftime break and took a renewed approach to getting to the basket and, in the process, began to draw fouls and get to the free throw line.
Ellis opened the third quarter with an offensive rebound and fieldgoal and then got to the line for two free throws and an 18-12 lead. Hannah Lee added two more foul shots and Tasia Brewer scored four straight points as South strung together a pivotal 10-0 run to go ahead 24-12.
"In the second half we were trying to do the same thing and I think they got smart on us and they made the run and we couldn't counter it," Anderson said of the Braves starting to solve the Knights' zone defenses.
While the Braves pushed the lead to double-digits, the Knights' offensive struggles continued as they hit just one-of-11 from the field in the period. Kelsey Searing's score with 3:42 left in the quarter was Northview's lone score against 18 points by the Braves.
After going scoreless over the opening 16 minutes, Seibert broke free for six of her 10 points in the quarter and Lee banged inside for another four points as South went up 32-14. Seibert scored all six of her points to close the quarter.
In the fourth quarter, Searing tallied five of her seven points to go with 12 boards in the game, but the Knights got just four other points, two from Carlee Bell and two from Chelsey Sampson as South pulled away to the victory.
The Knights close the season at 4-17 overall while the Braves advance to the sectional championship game tonight at 7:30 p.m.
Class 4A Terre Haute South Sectional
T.H. South 46, Northview 23
Bell 0-1 2-4 2, Conrad 1-4 0-0 2, Sampson 2-7 1-3 5, Webster 1-15 2-2 5, Searing 3-11 1-3 7, J.LaTourette 0-1 2-2 2, White 0-0 0-0 0, McKee 0-0 0-0 0, Carter 0-0 0-0 0, D.LaTourette 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 7-39 8-16 23.
T.H. South (46)
Brewer 3-6 1-2 7, Seibert 4-8 2-2 10, Ellis 2-4 2-2 7, Bell 1-7 0-0 2, Lee 4-14 4-5 12, Vollrath 0-2 1-2 1, Joyner 0-0 1-2 1, Buchanan 0-0 0-2 0, Shanks 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 14-44 15-21 46.
3-point fieldgoals -- Nv 1-7 (Webster 1-3, Conrad 0-2, Searing 0-2), THS 2-10 (Ellis 1-1, Metheny 1-2, Brewer 0-2, Vollrath 0-2, Bell 0-3). Total Rebounds -- Nv 30 (Searing 12), THS 38 (Bell 8, Lee 7). Total Fouls -- Nv 13, THS 17. Turnovers -- Nv 23, THS 16.