By Aaron Kirchoff Rushville Republican
---- — With three games in the final week of the regular season, the Lady Lions looked like they are ready for the postseason – winning all three by an average of 30 points per contest.
The Lady Lions defeated Franklin County 63-24, New Castle 76-51 and South Dearborn 70-43 and in the process gave head coach Melissa Marlow her 200th career victory. Marlow is now 201-123 in her 14th year as the head coach of the Lady Lions.
The Lady Lions capped the week by defeating South Dearborn and earning the Eastern Indiana Athletic Conference title. The Lady Lions went 7-0 in the EIAC with East Central second at 6-1 and Connersville third at 5-2.
Against the Lady Knights, the Lady Lion took the early lead on a bucket by Mackenzie Campbell and free throw by Casey Yager. The Lady Lions never trailed in the game. After a South Dearborn bucket by Kooper Vertz, the Lady Lions got a 3-pointer from Makayla Herbert and free throw from Keragan Niehoff. South Dearborn tied the game at 11 on a 3-pointer by Morgan Wolfer, but the Lady Lions closed the first quarter on a 9-0 run. Five points from Kaitlyn Howe and a conventional three point play by Niehoff had the lead at 19-11.
Rushville extended the lead to 16 points on two occasions – on a traditional three point play by Herbert and 3-pointer from Brooke Ash. South Dearborn closed to within 12 at the half, trailing 38-26.
The Lady Lions did not let up in the third quarter – opening the second half with the first six points. Kelsi Ash’s bucket had the lead at 44-26. The lead ballooned to 21 on a bucket by Niehoff. South Dearborn made a little run in the late portion of the third, but a 3-pointer from Campbell made it 54-35 heading to the fourth.
Back-to-back 3-pointers by Herbert and Campbell opened the fourth and put the game away. Rushville outscored the Lady Knights 16-8 in the fourth to cruise to the victory and the EIAC title.
In the junior varsity game, it was all Rushville. The Lady Lions held South Dearborn to five points in the first half and zero in the third quarter en route to the 43-12 victory. Lilly Cramer led the Lady Lions with eight points.
Lady Lions win on Senior Night
The Lady Lions hosted 14-3 New Castle Thursday for Senior Night. Rushville, in one if its best outings of the year, dominated the Lady Trojans, handing New Castle its fourth loss of the season 76-51.
After being honored before the game, all five seniors (Kelsi Ash, Mackenzie Campbell, Kylie Martindale, Keragan Niehoff and Casey Yager) started and it didn’t take long for the Lady Lions to take control. Casey Yager opened the scoring and Ash’s 3-pointer made it 6-0. After New Castle’s Samantha Underwood hit a 3-pointer, Rushville went on a 10-2 run. Makayla Herbert started the spurt and Campbell’s traditional three point play ended it. Following a New Castle timeout at the 3:16 mark, the Lady Lions closed the quarter on a 12-3 run. A Niehoff bucket opened the run and back-to-back 3-pointers from Campbell had the lead at 28-8 after one quarter.
New Castle cut the deficit to 15 points, but the Lady Lions responded with a 9-5 run to close the first half with the Lady Lions leading 39-20.
The Lady Trojans could not make a run in the third quarter, only getting to within 17 points. The lady Lions built the lead to 21 on a bucket by Ash and again later on a 3-pointer by Herbert. The lead ballooned to 24 on a pair of Herbert free throws. Back-to-back scores by Campbell and Lilly Cramer pushed the lead to 25 before two free throws by New Castle’s Shelby Alderson made it 58-35 after three quarters.
The Lady Trojans could not make any dent in the deficit in the fourth. Rushville pushed the lead to as much as 33 points on a conventional three point play by Ash. Six late points by New Castle made the final margin 76-51.
In the first game of the night, the Lady Lions defeated New Castle 28-15. Ellie Sammons led the Lady Lions with 11 points. Kayla Fogg added eight and Brooke Herbert had three.
With three players in double figures, the Lady Lions easily handled Franklin County (1-16) 63-24.
Campbell led all scorers with 18 points. Niehoff and Kelsi Ash both finished with 11 points for the Lady Lions. Howe chipped in with nine points. Brooke Ash had seven. Martindale had three points. Yager and Woolston both had two points.
The junior varsity Lady Lions defeated Franklin County 40-28. Cramer had nine points and Fogg added eight. Sammons finished with six points. Madison Owen and Brandi Adkins both had four points. Woolston, Alisha Markley and Brooke Ash all had two points.
The Lady Lions (17-4) take on the winner of Lawrenceburg (9-9) and Franklin County (1-16) Friday in the sectional semifinal at Rushville.
Contact: Aaron Kirchoff at 765-932-2222, ext. 114