FARINA – A five-point possession in the middle of the third quarter was the turning point for Vandalia in a 46-26 victory at South central in last Tuesday’s season-opener.
Senior Tim Ritchey made a 3-pointer but was fouled after the shot, and senior Michael Wells made a second-chance layup on the ensuing possession to give the Vandals a 30-14 lead and control of the game with 3:51 left in the third period.
“That was kind of the dagger,” said South Central coach Rick Simmons. “So many times they let that foul go, but this year, they are going to call it.
“That was a turning point, because we came out in the second half and scored some, but then we allowed a five-point play.”
South Central had turned over Vandalia on its first two possessions of the second half, and scored the first basket.
Vandalia coach Brian Buscher, who was making his head coaching debut, said that because the Cougars were able to slow down the pace of the game, that possession was even more valuable.
“That’s huge right there,” he said. “With them controlling the tempo, that was big.”
Senior Aaron Harter had 12 points to lead the Vandals (1-0), and six other players had at least four points.
Ritchey had eight, while seniors Chase Woolsey and Leyton Godoyo each had seven.
“They just kept bringing more people off of the bench,” Simmons said. “So who do we guard?
“When they are all scoring, that makes it hard.”
Vandalia had 26 rebounds in the game, including nine on the offensive end that led to three second-chance points, and Woolsey led the team with seven.
For South Central, senior Fischer Tharp came four points short of reaching 1,000 for his career, scoring 16 points to lead the Cougars (0-1). Senior Rudy Hablewitz added six, and three players each had a team-high four rebounds.
“Fischer is a tough player, and got our kids up in the air,” Buscher said. “He makes some nice post moves without being overly big.
“We didn’t do a bad job of guarding him, and he still had 16.”
In the second half, South Central was forced to switch defenses in order to try to slow down Vandalia’s offensive attack.
The Vandals had identical offensive totals for each half, however, scoring 23 points in both.
Vandalia’s defense, meanwhile, was giving South Central fits in the second half, turning over the Cougars 10 times in the second half for 11 points.
“We were out of our element, and I told them that there will be bigger, stronger teams that will take us out of our offense,” Simmons said. “We have to learn to get back into something, instead of taking it to the hole and just hoping it goes in.”
Tuesday, Nov. 20
South Central 26
Points: Harter, 12; Ritchey, 8; Godoyo, 7; Ch. Woolsey, 7; Wade Cowger, 4; Wells, 4; Colton Woolsey, 4.
Rebounds: Ch. Woolsey, 7; Godoyo, 6; Harter, 3; Team, 3; Cowger, 2; Ritchey, 2; Wells, 1.
Assists: Godoyo, 4; Ch. Woolsey, 4; Ritchey, 2; Cowger, 1; Harter, 1; Wells, 1.
Steals: Ritchey, 3; Godoyo, 2; Cowger, 1; Wells, 1; Ch. Woolsey, 1; Co. Woolsey, 1.
Blocks: Co. Woolsey, 2.
Points: Tharp, 16; Hablewitz, 6; Evan Langley, 2; Joel Rose, 2.
Rebounds: Hablewitz, 4; Rose, 4; Tharp, 4; Langley, 2; Chase Riley, 1; Team, 1.
Assists: Hablewitz, 2.
Steals: Hablewitz, 2; Brett Harmeier, 1; Gavin Ratermann, 1; Riley, 1; Rose, 1; Austin Schwarm, 1.
Blocks: Riley, 1.
JV: Vandalia won, 38-32.
Agape Christian dropped out of the DuQuoin Tournament, forcing a schedule change.
Vandalia played Flora on Wednesday, and will play Cairo at 6 p.m. on Friday and DuQuoin at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday.