GREENSBURG — It was obvious the South Decatur girls basketball team had a lot to overcome Thursday night facing host North Decatur, which pounded out a 57-42 victory.
First, it was Senior Night for the Chargers, so the North Decatur players and fans already were at a fever pitch.
Then a group of North Decatur students, including Charger seniors Jenna Meyer and Veronica Yager, did an awesome rendition of the national anthem. Throw in the fact that Meyer was honored to become the third player in school history to score 1,000 points.
With all that going against them, the Cougars forged a 27-24 lead at halftime as they played some exceptional team basketball.
That all went away in the second half, as the Chargers’ defense completely confused the Cougars and held them to 15 points in the final 16 minutes.
“I just think they started playing way more aggressively,” South Decatur coach Amy Macy said. “We just couldn’t get in the flow.”
Macy also said that unforced turnovers in the second half doomed her team, and that was obvious. The Cougars had six turnovers during an 8-2 run in the third quarter, which helped North Decatur open a 36-31 lead and start to pull away.
Leading the North Decatur effort was Meyer, who finished with 26 points and dominated in the paint. When Meyer drove to the bucket, South Decatur had no answer.
The only time Meyer didn’t dominate was when she took a shot to the face with 2:44 remaining and crumpled to the court in pain. She was helped off the court but soon returned.
South Decatur tried to make a stand early in the fourth quarter by scoring four consecutive points on baskets by Megan Niese, who led South Decatur with 15 points, and Julia Miller, who scored nine. Those baskets tied the game at 38-all.
But then North Decatur went on a 15-2 run to ice the game.
“We’re learning,” Macy said. “Our goal still is sectional. Hopefully, we will learn from this game.”
The main lesson might be putting four quarters together.
In the first half, South Decatur systematically worked the ball up the court against North Decatur’s press and often finished off with a lay-up.
But that all went away in the second half.
It was also a tough night for South Decatur’s talented forward Ashley Johannigman, who picked up two fouls in the first 1:28 of the game and finished with seven points on the night.