If one play could sum up the Eastern Indiana Athletic Conference tilt between Rushville’s Lady Lions and Batesville’s Lady Bulldogs Thursday night (Jan. 23), it came in the closing seconds of the third quarter.
Batesville, looking to inbound under its own basket, had the ball stolen by junior Jaeda Miller, who laid it in on the other end to put her side up 63-22.
The Lions, after leading by only four early in the second frame, completely imposed their will on the Bulldogs thereafter. Allowing the hosts just 11 points – four in the second, one in the third and six in the fourth – after the opening eight minutes, Rushville turned in a 76-28 rout to improve to 2-3 in the conference ahead of a matchup at Connersville.
“I’ve been around basketball 25-plus years and these things happen, I understand that,” said BHS coach Bryan Helvie, “but it doesn’t make me feel any better.”
Eleven different Lions put their names in the scorebook, led by sophomore Annika Marlow’s 16 – all in the first half.
A feed to Macy Prickel out of the opening tip gave the home team its only lead of the game. A baseline jumper by senior Maddi Turner tied things at 2, one of five ties in the first period.
Sophomore Olivia Yager and Carlie Werner traded baskets, but a layup from Yager and fast-break points from Turner had BHS head coach Bryan Helvie signaling timeout.
Breaking the Lions’ press, a basket by Prickel locked the game at 8 and the Bulldog senior scored again to answer a Turner lay-in. Freshman Briley Munchel and Werner exchanged field goals, but the visitors ended a high-scoring first stanza on a 10-5 swing. Marlow and Yager hit threes and senior Tori Campbell got into the action.
Catherine Raab’s 3-pointer made it a 24-20 ball game with 5:55 left in the first half, though Batesville would go stone cold the rest of the way.
“We need that first quarter team to carry over for all four quarters,” said Helvie, “and we just haven’t had that this year. Offensively, I was encouraged, but you can’t score 11 points after that and win too many games.”
Campbell and Turner converted, followed by back-to-back Marlow triples; at 34-20, the Bulldogs asked for time. The guests then got a drive by Yager, before Campbell was fouled on a 3-point attempt and sank 2 of 3 free ones. Marlow’s 3 with 45 seconds remaining made it 43-20.
Any thoughts the Dogs had of mounting a comeback were dashed by Rushville’s 16-0 run to begin the second half. Munchel connected from deep twice and senior Isabella Runnebohm stroked a jumper. Two Campbell bunnies made it 59-21 with a minute left in the third.
“We had some good passes, hit some cutters and got the ball into the post (early), but then started throwing the ball around,” said Helvie. “Once we have to play catch-up, and no discredit to the girls who are still working hard, but the game becomes very difficult for us.”
Head coach Melissa Marlow was able to substitute freely in the final eight minutes of play, the Lion reserves continuing the onslaught. Miller scored off a Runnebohm assist, followed by a three from junior Abby Buckley. Miller converted in transition, leading to a 70-22 score and Bulldog timeout at 4:49.
A feed inside to junior Ashely Todd soon made it a 50-point advantage. Free throws by senior Kourtney Ash and a steal and score from sophomore Lexi Morris repeated that margin (76-26) with 1:55 on the clock.
Campbell added a dozen points and Yager 11; Munchel, Turner and Miller each chipped in 8. Seven Bulldogs scored, paced by Prickel’s and Granger-Young’s 6 apiece.
Rushville improved to 13-9 overall. Batesville (6-15, 3-4) will host senior night Tuesday, welcoming Greenwood Christian Academy.
“This was disappointing, but we’ll take some positives from this to get better,” Helvie added.
AT GREENSBURG (Jan. 25)
The Lady Bulldogs also had a decent start Saturday afternoon at conference rival Greensburg. Leading the frontrunning Pirates 21-20 at one point, the Bulldogs hit another dry patch offensively.
Greensburg would nearly double up the Dogs the rest of the way in winning 54-39. The spread was a great improvement from a 34-point loss to the Pirates in December.