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Cougars use size advantage in win

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GREENSBURG — South Decatur beat Mid-Hoosier Conference rival Hauser 56-47 on Thursday night.

While both teams played aggressively and competitively, the Jets were unable to find an answer to the Cougars’ size advantage. South Decatur 6-foot senior Ashley Johannigman led the team with 16 points, and 5-10 senior Julia Miller contributed 13 points.

“Their bigs were definitely a factor,” Hauser coach Brad Hamilton said. “Honestly, I thought we did a decent job boxing out. What their bigs did that was so impressive was passing the ball and using their bodies.”

“We weren’t able to go to our inside game in the first half,” South Decatur coach Jessica McConnell said. “We make some changes and figured things out in the second half, and that made a difference for us.”

The Jets (4-4, 4-1) started the game strong, winning the opening tip. Three uncontested baskets by Hauser allowed the Jets to jump out to a 6-0 lead.

Following a block by Johannigman with 4:10 left in the quarter she then scored the Cougars’ first point of the night from the free-throw line. This brought the Cougars to life. Aggressively attacking the basket, South Decatur’s offense began to perform.

Man-to-man defense by the Cougars (3-5, 1-3) seemed to deflate some of the energy from the Hauser team.

Steadily pulling close, with five seconds left in the first quarter, Johannigman hit a 3-point shot to give the Cougars a 15-14 lead.

The second quarter was played in part at the free-throw line. South Decatur was 4-6 from the line, while Hauser shot 3-of-4 from the line. The second quarter belonged to Miller, who scored points in the quarter. At the end of the half, the teams went into the locker room with the Cougars leading 29-28.

South Decatur started the second half with possession and didn’t want to give it up. With 3:34 remaining in the quarter, the Jets had been outscored 8-2.

“We knew they were going to make adjustments at halftime,” Hauser sophomore Leslie Sims said. “We didn’t make our adjustments and execute in the third quarter.”

After a Jets’ timeout, they continued to struggle offensively, missing two uncontested layups and turning the ball over on passing errors. In the third quarter, Hauser was outscored 13-2 and trailed 42-30.

“There was a combination of things that happened in the third quarter,” Hamilton said. “Fatigue was a factor. I have to do a better job with conditioning and rotating players. We’ve also been scouted now, so we need to implement some of our other offensive

The fourth quarter was a physical and aggressive one, with much frustration beginning to show for the Jets. Even with good ball movement and an aggressive defense, Hauser seemed unable to turn the tide of the game.

The frustration turned into fouls and this sent both teams to the line in the closing minutes of the game. South Decatur converted on 8-of-14 from the line in the closing minutes to keep the game in hand, despite being outscored by in the quarter

“These girls have played together for so long,” McConnell said. “They know what works for them and when they execute it works well for them.”

Hauser was led by Sims with 19 points and junior guard Ellie Trotter with 14 points. Also contributing for South Decatur was junior Megan Niese with 11 points.

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