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Late Swoon

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Connersville freshman Paige Dunaway, left, looks to make pass at Indianapolis Cardinal Ritter on Saturday. Dunaway finished with three points in a 45-33 loss to the Lady Raiders.
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Connersville senior Gianna Struewing leaps to grab a pass in front of Indianapolis Cardinal Ritter player Elena Closser (12) Saturday in Indianapolis. Struewing and the Lady Spartans were beaten by the Lady Raiders, 45-33.
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Connersville senior Lauren Thompson encounters pressure, applied by Indianapolis Cardinal Ritter’s Emma Litzleman on Saturday in Indianapolis. Thompson and the Lady Spartans fell to 0-2 on the season, following a loss to the Lady Raiders.

By GRADY TATE - gtate@newsexaminer.com

INDIANAPOLIS — On Thursday night, the Connersville High School girls basketball team wound up going scoreless in the third quarter against New Palestine, the resulting 20-0 run carrying the visiting Lady Dragons to a lopsided victory inside Spartan Bowl.

Saturday, on the road at Indianapolis Cardinal Ritter, a similar stumble by the Lady Spartans resulted in another loss.

This time, the swoon came later in the contest, as Connersville saw a 27-21 lead late in the third quarter evaporate via a 24-6 push the remainder of the way.

The result was a 45-33 victory for the homestanding Lady Raiders.

A 3-pointer by Lauren Thompson with 2:29 left to play in the third quarter gave CHS a 27-21 lead, the biggest of the game for either team to that point.

But Cardinal Ritter (1-0) closed out the frame with a 5-0 run on a free throw from Gabby Hicks, and baskets from Linsey Waggoner and Emma Litzelman, carving the deficit to one.

The hosts would add four points to their total in the first minute of the fourth quarter, taking a 30-27 advantage with 7:04 left in the contest.

They would never trail again.

“We had a six-point lead in the third quarter, but they made a little run and got the lead,” Connersville head coach Michael Thompson said. “We kept things close, but just gave up too much in the final few minutes.

“We always talk about four-minute stretches, and during that stretch late in the game, we did not execute. We tried to run some things offensively and our minds went blank.”

Connersville (0-2) grabbed its first lead of the game (5-4) — its first lead of the 2018 season — on a 3-point play from Marley Smith with four minutes left in the opening quarter.

Indianapolis Cardinal Ritter would respond and re-claim the lead, before a 3-pointer by Gianna Struewing with 5:20 left before halftime would give it back to the Spartans, 11-8.

CHS would increase that by a point to 16-12 before the break, but would surrender five straight points out of the locker room in the third and trail by one 17-16 with 5:58 showing on the clock.

Momentum would shift once more, however, resulting in a 10-5 run that would lift the Spartans to their six-point lead, capped by Thompson’s 3-pointer.

In spite of the loss, coach Thompson said there were things in the contest that the team could hang their hats on.

“I can accept this,” he said. “Looking at the effort here on the road, the way we played defense, and the fact that our speed and communication was good, this was acceptable.”

He added that there were things the team could improve on, as well.

“Our execution down the stretch was not good, so that is something that we will be able to look at and work on in practice,” he said. “In addition, right now we’re just not shooting the ball real well. 

“We just need to put some points on the board. We’re averaging 25 points per game, and that’s not going to beat anyone on our schedule. But we’re not in basketball mode yet. I asked them after the game to be honest, and asked how many of them had not shot a basketball since we finished up in June. It wound up being a majority of our group, so that’s going to get better.”

Smith led the way in the scoring column for CHS with 12 points. She was followed by Thompson with eight and Jessica Beckman with seven.

Ritter was paced by Meghan Sandifer with 11 points, followed by Gabby Hicks with 10.

Connersville did win the rebounding battle with the Raiders by a 35-24 margin. That effort was led by senior Elise Bottomley, who finished with nine boards.

“I think the best thing tonight, was that I saw Elise play better than I have ever seen her play,” coach Thompson said. “Her aggressiveness on the offensive end was great. She had a couple of shots that didn’t fall, but if she continues to play the way she did tonight, we’re going to be okay.”

The junior varsity game was eerily similar to the varsity contest that followed it.

The Lady Spartan reserves led 22-21 heading into the final frame, but were unable to hold it, as a 12-4 run by Ritter erased the deficit and carried the home team to a 33-26 victory.

Maranda Cranfill scored 11 points to pace the CHS junior varsity squad. She was followed by Baylee Schneider with five, and the tandem of Brianna Thomas and Chyann Young, both with four. Tylissa Beckner also chipped in two tallies.

Connersville doesn’t play again until Friday, when the team travels to Mount Vernon (Fortville) to face the Lady Marauders.

Coach Thompson said he hopes to have his charges a bit more seasoned by then.

“Once we get our shooting down and continue to grow, I really believe that this team is going to be fine,” he said.


(at Indianapolis)

Connersville 5 16 27 33

Indianapolis Cardinal Ritter 6 12 26 45

Connersville (0-2) — Gianna Struewing 1 0-0 3, Giovanna Struewing 0 0-0 0, Marley Smith 3 6-8 12, Lauren Thompson 3 0-1 8, Paige Dunaway 1 0-0 3, Elise Bottomley 0 0-0 0, Jessica Beckman 3 1-5 7, Sammi Potters 0 0-0 0. TOTALS 11 4-7 33.

Indianapolis Cardinal Ritter (1-0) — Emma Litzelman 3 1-3 7, Elena Closser 0 3-4 3, Gabby Hicks 4 1-4 10, Chloe Olejnik 3 1-3 7, Kelsey Waggoner 1 2-2 5, Linsey Waggoner 1 0-0 2, Meghan Sandifer 4 3-6 11, Jenna Gruber 0 0-0 0. TOTALS 16 11-22 45.

3-pointers — Connersville 4 (Thompson 2, Gia. Struewing, Dunaway), Indianapolis Cardinal Ritter 2 (Hicks, K. Waggoner). Rebounds — Connersville 35, Indianapolis Cardinal Ritter 24. Turnovers — Connersville 16, Indianapolis Cardinal Ritter 12. Technical foul — Connersville 1 (Michael Thompson). Fouled out — Connersville 2 (Bottomley, Dunaway). Total fouls — Connersville 19 (Bottomley 5, Dunaway 5, Beckman 4, Smith 3, Gia. Struewing, Coach Thompson), Indianapolis Cardinal Ritter 18 (Litzelman 4, Closser 4, Olejnik 4, K. Waggoner 3, Hicks 2, Me. Sandifer).



Connersville 2 9 22 26

Indianapolis Cardinal Ritter 4 12 21 33

Connersville (0-2) — Brianna Thomas 2 0-0 4, Baylee Schneider 2 0-0 5, Tylissa Beckner 1 0-0 2, Chyann Young 2 0-2 4, Brittney Bottomley 0 0-0 0, Hannah Sizemore 0 0-0 0, Cheryl Garrison 0 0-0 0, Maranda Cranfill 4 3-10 11. TOTALS 11 3-12 26.

Indianapolis Cardinal Ritter (1-0) — Megan McCall 4 1-2 9, Lauren Beaman 0 5-15 5, Emma Hunt 1 1-2 3, Maddie Sandifer 1 1-2 3, Donia Moore 0 0-0 0, Olivia Webb 4 0-0 11, Jenna Gruber 1 0-0 2, Alayha Dauss 0 0-0 0. TOTALS 11 8-21 33.

3-pointers — Connersville 1 (Schneider 1), Indianapolis Cardinal Ritter 3 (Webb 3). Total fouls — Connersville 20 (Young 4, Cranfill 4, Thomas 3, Schneider 3, Sizemore 3, Garrison 2, Beckner 1), Indianapolis Cardinal Ritter 15 (Hunt 4, Sandifer 3, Dauss 3, Beaman 2, Gruber 2, McCall 1).