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Cougars eclipse Rising Sun for win

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GREENSBURG — South Decatur came into Saturday night looking for its first victory of the season.

After the Cougars’ defense struggled early in the first half, they found a way to come together as a team to come away with their first victory of the season, a 63-59 win over Rising Sun.

The first half started out slow for South Decatur, as the Shiners played the game up-tempo. The Cougars struggled at first to find an answer to the fast, up-tempo game. On offense, South Decatur struggled to get to the basket and were forced into several turnovers.

“We tried pressing, but then we were not getting back on defense very well,” South Decatur coach Jordan Stevens said. “When they broke through the press, they were getting some easy layups and some jumpers, and that hurt us.”

When the Cougars (1-2) decided to play up-tempo as well, they responded with some jump shots of their own to tie the game at 27. The momentum continued into the third as South Decatur played the same up-tempo style to go up 46-41 after three quarters.

“When we decided to push the ball, we took better care of the basketball and did not commit the turnovers like we did earlier in the game,” Stevens said.

The game was close down the stretch with the score 58-56 with less than two minutes to go. Rising Sun (1-2) was forced into a turnover at midcourt, and the Cougars got a quick layup from the turnover to make it 60-56.

The Shiners were forced to foul with less than a minute left. South Decatur, however, missed the 1-and-1, opening the door for Rising Sun, but it could not convert on the offensive end.

The game was put away after that when the Cougars made three of their next four free throws in the final 7.4 seconds of the game. They were their only made free-throws in the entire contest. South Decatur shot 3-of-11 from the free-throw line as a team in the game.

Taylor Kopplin scored 20 points to lead the Cougars.

“We actually shoot really well,” Kopplin said. “We just have to maintain our focus when we are the line.”

Andrew Wullenweber finished with 16 points, with 12 of those coming from 3-point range.

“I was able to get off some good shots.” Wullenweber said. “When they played a 1-3-1 (zone) defense, that limited the outside shooting, and we had to score inside.”

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