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Civil war rally: Big comeback sends Cougars past Chargers

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GREENSBURG — When South Decatur called timeout with the game tied and 24 seconds remaining Saturday night, coach Amy Macy drew up a play for Ashley Johannigman to drive to the basket.

Instead, Johannigman shot a 3-pointer.

Fortunately for the Cougars, the shot went in to give them their first lead of the game with 15 seconds left. Johannigman then came up with a steal with 3 seconds remaining and held onto the ball until the clock expired to give South Decatur a 43-40 victory over rival North Decatur.

“They were supposed to set me a screen, and I was supposed to drive in to the basket, but my teammate was in the way, so I just figured I’d shoot it back up,” said Johannigman, who led the Cougars with 14 points and eight rebounds.

“AJ is the one where I know she won’t be afraid to shoot it,” Macy said. “She wants the ball in her hands at the end of the game, so if a player wants the ball, you know that they have the confidence that they’re going to finish.”

The win was the first of the season for the Cougars (1-4), who were coming off a 48-27 loss Friday at Greensburg. South Decatur and North Decatur played for the Civil War Trophy in this nonconference game and will play again in a Mid-Hoosier Conference battle Jan. 31 to close the regular season.

“We wanted to beat North because they think since they watched our Greensburg game (Friday) night, they think we weren’t going to come out and play hard,” Johannigman said.

If the Chargers (1-2) did think that, they might have been right after the first quarter. North Decatur shut out the Cougars in the opening period and led 11-0 early in the second quarter.

“Coach just told us to get our confidence back up, and we just had to come together as a team and do that,” Johannigman said.

South Decatur battled back to within 22-21 midway through the third quarter, but the Chargers answered with a 14-3 run to take a 36-24 lead in in the opening seconds of the fourth period. The Cougars then held North Decatur without a basket over the final 7:48, outscoring the Chargers 19-4 and scoring the game’s final 10 points.

“I think we were a little excited there at the beginning,” Macy said. “We weren’t attacking the basket. I don’t know if we were intimidated or what, but we weren’t attacking the basket there in the first quarter, and then the second quarter, we started attacking and just started taking care of the ball.”

South Decatur committed 32 turnovers, but forced 43 turnovers by North Decatur.

“We still have to get better at that,” Macy said. We had too many unforced turnovers. When teams press us and we get a little excited, we have to learn how to bring that back and take care of the ball once we break it.”

Megan Niese scored 12 points, and Julia Miller grabbed eight rebounds for the Cougars, who were outrebounded 50-27. Jenna Meyer led the Chargers with 12 points and 14 rebounds.

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