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Lady Dragons pummel North

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By Brad Stephens

GOSHEN – South Oldham made quick work of its crosstown rival Monday night.

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The Lady Dragons raced out to a 23-2 lead after the first quarter and a 42-6 halftime advantage on their way to a 69-28 win on the Lady Mustangs’ homecourt.

The win was step one in the beginning of a new season for South (5-11, 1-1 District 29), coach Christy Higdon said.

“We wanted to make a statement,” Higdon said. “We wanted people to look (the score) up on the KHSAA website tonight and say, ‘Oh no. South’s back.’”

South lived by the defense-to-offense mantra Monday. North turned the ball over 36 times, most of those turnovers directly forced by Lady Dragon pressure.

South turned steals into a layup drill. At one point during the second half South scored three times in four trips by means of junior forward Erin Wilson collecting a steal and shoveling ahead to senior guard Holly Schumm for a layup.

“We work on defense a lot in practice because defense leads to offense, obviously,” said Wilson, who finished with 12 points and eight assists. “But that’s basically our main goal is to work on our defense, because our offense is pretty good right now.”

The Lady Dragons went into Monday’s game with plenty of motivation. South fell to Oldham County 53-47 Jan. 10, marking the first career county loss for much of the Lady Dragon roster.

The North game was South’s first chance to take out those frustrations in a district game.

“We were motivated to get back into the district,” Wilson said. “Every district game that we have, we want to make a statement.”

The Lady Dragons did that in the first quarter, forcing the Lady Mustangs (5-7, 0-1) into 18 turnovers the first eight minutes alone.

After a basket by North’s Rebekah Hare tied the game 2-2, South finished the opening stanza on a 21-0 run. Junior guard Sydney Jones led the early attack, scoring six of her game-high 18 points in the first quarter.

The Lady Dragons stayed just as stingy into the second quarter, allowing North just four points.

Two Abbey Van Zant free throws in the final minute made the score 42-4, triggering the running clock rule that comes into effect when a margin is 35 points or greater.

“I think that might’ve been one of the best defensive efforts we’ve had,” Higdon said. “We did a great job of holding them to the number of points that we did the first half. Our goal is to put up 80 points, but we’re satisfied with a running clock with the way the kids played.”

Schumm and Wilson scored 12 points each to complement Jones’ 18. Van Zant added 11.

Higdon said Wilson has become an “x-factor” for the team, especially once she gave her playing time at the power forward position.

“In the very beginning of the season, she ran cross-country and she didn’t start until Nov. 15 for us,” Higdon said. “So she’s just now understanding what the flow of the game’s all about.”

Sophomore guard Cat Fiorito scored a team-high eight points for the Lady Mustangs. Morgan Spaulding and Rachel Williams added seven and six points, respectively.

North hasn’t beat South since a 38-35 win Dec. 13, 2005. The Lady Mustangs played at OC Wednesday night in a game played after The Era’s press deadline. They’ll host Whitefield Academy at 7:30 Friday night.

The Lady Dragons traveled south to Collins Tuesday in a game also played after deadline. They’ll host Owen County at 2:30 p.m. Saturday.

“We made a run at this time last season,” Higdon said. “We were 1-11 and we went on a (14-3) run. So we’re on that run. We’re on a mission and our mission is to win the district and take what someone took from us and get it back.”