Southridge drops game against WashingtonJanuary 7, 2020
By JONATHAN SAXON
HUNTINGBURG — The trials of a basketball season are inevitable, and right now, the Southridge girls basketball team is going through a rough patch. Not only are they trying to play through injuries in their starting lineup, but the Raiders (7-8) now find themselves on a three-game skid after falling to the Washington Hatchets on Tuesday night, 44-32.
Raiders coach Greg Werner said it was tough trying to overcome the Hatchets’ inside presence, and the Raiders were beaten soundly on the offensive glass. Still, he thought the players gave it their best effort and showed flashes of how they can work together to overcome the absences of junior Monica Steckler and sophomore Myah Montgomery.
“We did a lot of good things,” Werner said. “We played with them for a few quarters. We lost our rhythm and panicked a little bit. We regrouped at halftime, and they started reading what was going on. [The Hatchets] started pulling back, and we fell apart. That’s going to happen with young, inexperienced players. We don’t have it all together yet. These kids can do it. They showed glimpses of it tonight.”
Freshman guard Marie Tempel notched the first score for the Raiders, but she was quickly answered by shots from senior forward Ali Barber and sophomore forward Kencia Levasseur. Junior guard Kennedy Nalley lined up a 3-pointer to put the Raiders back on top, but Levasseur and sophomore forward Alaina Thorne came right back to give the Hatchets a three-point lead. Levasseur, Thorne and sophomore forward Jesse Ledgerwood came up with five more points in the quarter, but the Raiders used eight points — including threes from Nalley and sophomore forward Mikah Goeppner — in the closing seconds to build a 15-13 lead at the end of the first quarter.
Barber opened the second stanza with a 3-pointer, and was countered swiftly by Nalley. Levasseur went 1 for 2 from the free throw line to tie the game at 17, but Goeppner maneuvered behind the defense for a scoop-in that gave the Raiders the lead once more. The tide then turned against the Raiders, as the Hatchets went on an 8-0 run that put them up 25-19 at halftime.
Nalley and junior center Abigail Kerkhoff found the basket to get the Raiders within four points to start the third period, but Levasseur, Thorne and senior forward Hadley Faith launched a 7-2 salvo to give the Hatchets some breathing room. Levasseur then finished an and-one play to extend the lead to double digits, and Thorne followed with a shot at the end of the third as an exclamation point to a 39-25 advantage going into the fourth frame.
The Raiders couldn’t get on the same page to mount a consistent offense and get the stops needed to chip away at their deficit. They got scores from Goeppner and Kerkhoff, but those buckets were countered by shots from Levasseur, Faith and junior forward Jade Browning to end the game.
Nalley led the Raiders with 14 points, while Goeppner finished with 12. Levasseur had 19 points and nine rebounds, while Thorne had an additional 10 points.
“Kennedy Nalley said we were going to go out and play our hardest no matter what the outcome,” Goeppner said. “We just lost a bit of our focus, and they took advantage of it.”
Werner pointed to lack of offensive rebounds and lapses on the defensive end that led to easy buckets as the main source of the Raiders’ struggles on Tuesday night. He admitted it was frustrating to see at times, but he stressed that the team is growing as the girls learn how to reinvent themselves on the fly to cope with the injuries they’ve had to deal with. The team experienced a three-game win streak Dec. 5-12, and Werner believes the Raiders can use January to keep playing and growing into a team that can come out the other side of the valley its currently in as a stronger unit.
“Anyone that’s been following us, this team has grown leaps and bounds compared to where they were,” he said. “We’ve had to totally regroup, and we’re seeing growth. They execute the game plan, understand what’s going on and they’re getting smarter. If we can keep getting smarter, we’re going to get much better. If we keep plugging, they’re going to be just fine."
The Raiders on Thursday will head on the road to play North Knox.
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