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Cougars upset Comets in pool play, finish eighth at VHT

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By Andrew Harner

VANDALIA – An upset of Greenville was the highlight of the Vandalia Holiday Tournament for the Cougars, and it helped the No. 10 seed get into the seventh-place game.

South Central would ultimately lose that game to Shelbyville, 30-27, but it was the 43-37 comeback win against the Comets last Friday that allowed them to get out of the ninth-place game for the first time since 2008.

“Anytime you can get a win, you have to pleased,” said coach Rick Simmons. “At halftime, we asked the guys if they thought Greenville was eight points better than us, and they said, ‘No.’

“I said, ‘Go prove it.’”

That’s what South Central did, opening the second half on an 8-1 run to tie the game at 25, and taking its first lead since the first quarter with 5:32 left in the game on a layup from senior Fischer Tharp.

“The whole group did a great job of putting pressure on the ball and taking away the easy shots,” Simmons said. “That’s what we had to do, and they made it work.”

Greenville turned the ball over seven times in the second half, and the Cougars limited the Comets on offense after they had shot nearly 50 percent from the field in the first half.

Tharp, an all-tournament selection, finished with 15 points and 11 rebounds, but his best contribution may have been his assist to sophomore Noah Powless with 54 seconds left in the game.

Powless’ basket broke a 35-35 tie, and he was also fouled on the shot, converting the free throw to start a 7-0 run over the next 23 seconds.

Included were two free throws from each seniors Austin Schwarm and Rudy Hablezwitz.

“Fischer had the court awareness to find him, and Noah is strong enough to take that contact,” Simmons said.

The victory helped create a three-way tie at the bottom of Pool B, and South Central finished second in the tie-breaker, which was based on tournament free-throw percentage, to get into the seventh-place game.

That matchup with Shelbyville, which beat the Cougars in last season’s ninth-place game, turned out to be an offensive dud, however, as neither team was able to find any rhythm.

Tharp had a game-high 16 points, but the Cougars were outscored, 19-12, in the second half as the Rams came back from a 15-11 halftime deficit to win.

In other games for the Cougars, they lost to top-seeded Flora, 50-36, in the tournament-opener last Wednesday; lost to No. 4 Pana, 49-29, last Thursday; and lost to St. Elmo, 46-29, last Friday.

Box scores
Saturday, Dec. 29
Seventh-place game
Shelbyville 30
South Central 27
SC: 6-9-4-8—27
S: 4-7-10-9—30
Rams
Points: Bence, 9; Breeden, 7; Shadwell, 5; Standerfer, 5; Schwengel, 4.
Rebounds: Bence, 7; Breeden, 6; Shadwell, 4; Schwengel, 3; Hendryx, 2; Keown, 1; McConnell, 1; Standerfer, 1.
Cougars
Points: Tharp, 16; Harmeier, 6; Hablewitz, 3; Powless, 2.
Rebounds: Tharp, 5; Powless, 4; Hablewitz, 3; Rose, 3; Schwarm, 3; Harmeier, 2.

Friday, Dec. 28
Game 17
St. Elmo 46
South Central 29
SC: 3-8-12-6—29
SE: 7-10-19-10—46
Eagles
Points: Beasley, 16; L. Maxey, 14; Davis, 7; Bartels, 6; M. Maxey, 3.
Rebounds: L. Maxey, 6; Beasley, 5; M. Maxey, 4; Team, 3; Bartels, 2; Smithson, 2; Bauer, 1; Brady, 1.
Assists: L. Maxey, 5; Bartels, 2; Brady, 1; M. Maxey, 1.
Steals: Beasley, 3; L. Maxey, 2; M. Maxey, 1.
Blocks: Beasley, 1.
Cougars
Points: Tharp, 11; Harmeier, 10; Schwarm, 5; Rose, 2; Langley, 1.
Rebounds: Tharp, 7; Harmeier, 4; Hablewitz, 3; Rose, 2; Schwarm, 2; Langley, 1; Ratermann, 1; Riley, 1; Team, 1.
Assists: Schwarm, 1.
Steals: Harmeier, 2.
Blocks: Hablewitz, 1.

Friday, Dec. 28
Game 15
South Central 43
Greenville 37
G: 14-10-7-6—37
S: 10-6-11-16—43
Cougars
Points: Tharp, 15; Hablewitz, 10; Powless, 6; Schwarm, 6; Harmeier, 4; Rose, 2.
Rebounds: Tharp, 11; Powless, 5; Rose, 4; Schwarm, 3; Team, 2; Hablewitz, 1; Harmeier, 1; Ratermann, 1.
Assists: Tharp, 3; Schwarm, 2; Hablewitz, 1; Harmeier, 1; Powless, 1.
Steals: Powless, 2.
Block: Tharp, 1.
Comets
Points: Faulkner, 13; Manning, 6; Schaufelberger, 6; Hall, 5; Leitschuh, 4; Lawrence, 2; Hutchinson, 1.
Rebounds: Faulkner, 4; Hutchinson, 4; Lawrence, 3; Schaufelberger, 3; Leitschuh, 2; Manning, 2; Young, 2; Hall, 1.

Thursday, Dec. 27
Game 10
Pana 49
South Central 29
S: 7-3-8-11—29
P: 9-15-13-12—49
Panthers
Points: Gibson, 17; Hester, 10; Metzger, 6; Zahradka, 6; Kircher, 2; Kirk, 2; Miller, 2; Rybolt, 2.
Rebounds: Hester, 8; Kirk, 5; Gibson, 4; Kircher, 4; Rybolt, 3; Clark, 2; Metzger, 2.
Cougars
Points: Hablewitz, 16; Harmeier, 3; Rose, 3; Tharp, 3; Riley, 2; Schwarm, 2.
Rebounds: Tharp, 4; Schwarm, 3; Hablewitz, 2; Harmeier, 2; Powless, 1; Riley, 1; Rose, 1.

Wednesday, Dec. 26
Game 1
Flora 50
South Central 36
F: 11-9-19-11—50
S: 8-7-8-13—36
Wolves
Points: Pearce, 17; Leib, 13; Shehorn, 9; Moore, 6; Thomas, 3; Taylor, 2.
Rebounds: Shehorn, 6; Taylor, 4; Leib, 3; Thomas, 2; Allison, 1; Hozay, 1; Pearce, 1.
Cougars
Points: Tharp, 20; Harmeier, 5; Rose, 4; Hablewitz, 3; Powless, 2; Ratermann, 2.
Rebounds: Tharp, 6; Harmeier, 3; Schwarm, 3; Hablewitz, 2; Powless, 2; Riley, 2; Rose, 1.