ELNORA — Following its Jan. 30 loss on Senior Night to Wood Memorial (11-8), the North Daviess girls basketball team knew it had two games to clean up its play before the sectional begins.
The Cougars (16-3, 7-0 Southwestern Indiana) took care of the first part of that with a 59-34 win over North Central (Farmersburg) (8-8, 1-5)Monday night at the Cougar Den behind 24 points from Sabra Smith and 14 from Meghan Knepp.
Smith hit two baskets and 2-of-4 free throws to pace the Cougars to a 9-2 lead after one quarter. Knepp hit a 3-pointer and Taylor Mallett hit her only shot of the night to give North Daviess a lead it wouldn’t relinquish all night.
“We came out in the first quarter and dictated a defensive presence that really set the tone for the game,” said North Daviess coach Ron Knepp. “I thought offensively we moved the ball very well to find open people inside the zone. We did not just settle for open jump shots we were able to reverse the ball and enter it in the middle causing them to have to pack in and then our three point shooters went to work outside.”
In the second quarter, Smith continued to score. The senior forward made four more shots from the field and split a pair of free throws to score nine of the Cougars’ 18 second quarter points. North Central scored 10 points in the second, but North Daviess held a commanding 27-12 lead at halftime.
“I was really pleased to see how the girls came out with a business like approach on a Monday night after Super Bowl Sunday,” Ron Knepp said. “Would have been an easy game to just go through the motions, but they came out and took care of business.”
Both teams scored 11 points in the third quarter as Knepp hit her second 3-pointer of the night on her way to five points in the quarter and Smith had four points and Abby Cecil had two. The Cougars outscored the Thunderbirds 21-11 as Smith scored seven points and Knepp scored five points, including her team-leading third 3-pointer.
North Daviess hosts Eastern Greene Thursday night in its final regular season game and the final home game for seniors Knepp, Smith Abby Hollis and Maggie Swartzentruber.
“Now we can go into the game Thursday with Eastern Greene (8-12, 4-3) and have an opportunity to win the SWIAC conference,” Ron Knepp said. “We are guaranteed at a minimum a tie with White River Valley, but we set this as a goal to start the year to win it out right and this would be the second year in a row to win the SWIAC for this team. I cannot say enough good things about this group of seniors and where they have taken this program.”