Another game, and another victory at the Cougar Den for the North Daviess girls’ basketball team.
The Cougars (11-3) improved to 7-3 at the friendly confines with a 46-36 victory over South Knox (5-8) Thursday evening behind 17 points from junior forward Sabra Smith.
After falling behind 5-1 after the first two minutes of play, the Cougars clamped down, and didn’t surrender another basket for eight minutes of play. North Daviess scored the next nine points to take a 10-5 lead into the second quarter.
At the 5:55 mark of the second quarter, the Spartans snapped a drought of nearly eight minutes with a layup from sophomore guard Janelle Burkhart to cut the lead to 10-7. North Daviess responded with an 8-0 run to extend the lead to 18-7 lead. The Cougars took a 20-12 lead into halftime, as Smith led the Cougars with 11 points, including two 3-pointers.
North Daviess coach Ron Knepp said after a November loss to Washington, Smith began to add the three-point shot to her arsenal, and that has made a huge improvement to the North Daviess offense.
“Sabra (Smith) has went to a different position on the floor,” Knepp said. “It has taken her a little while to find her offense out of that spot. She has come out of Christmas break, and she’s figured out how to score how to score out of that spot. That has been tremendous for us.”
North Daviess came out on fire in the third quarter, by scoring 10 points in the first three and a half minutes of the third quarter, six from junior Meghan Knepp, and two points apiece from Smith and Brooke Moore, extending its lead to 30-18.
South Knox took a timeout to gather themselves, and scored the final seven points of the third quarter to cut the lead to 30-25. Knepp said his team got a little complacent, and that allowed South Knox to make the game competitive again.
“We started taking shots we don’t normally take,” Knepp said. “We weren’t ready to shoot the ball. We don’t normally take those shots, so we weren’t ready to shoot. You have to be ready to shoot, and take care of it. Yes, we got complacent.”
Knepp said the drought to end the quarter impacted the defensive focus of the entire team. Spartans junior forward Weslee Wilson connected on a 3-pointer to cut the lead to 30-28 to start the fourth quarter to push the run to 10-0. Wilson led the Spartans with 18 points.
Knepp said he took a timeout, and told his team if they were going to pull out a victory it would start on the defensive end.
Knepp made a layup, and then found Smith for a layup to push the lead to six, at 34-28. South Knox would cut the lead to six again at 39-33, but that would be it for the Spartans. Knepp said everything his team does is geared towards getting ready for the postseason, and they are in the home stretch now with only six games left in the regular season.
“We want to build for sectional, that’s what we’re building for,” Knepp said. “South Knox is a quality team, they play good man to man defense. That’s what we’re going to get in our sectional. Barr-Reeve, Shoals and Vincennes Rivet all play tight man to man defense. We have to be ready for that, and we have to be able to score against that.”
SOUTH KNOX 5 7 13 11 -- 36
NORTH DAVIESS 10 10 10 16 -- 46
South Knox (36) Carroll 3 1-2 2 7, Burkhart 2 0-0 3 4, Wilson 5 3-4 4 18, Copp 2 1-2 2 5, Dare 0 0-0 2 0, Kirk 1 0-0 1 2. Totals 13 5-8 16 36.
North Daviess (46)
Keith 0 5-7 2 5, Knepp 4 3-3 3 13, Smith 6 3-5 1 17, Moore 2 0-0 2 4, Mallett 1 1-2 2 3, Schwartzentruber 1 0-0 1 2, Fitzgerald 1 0-0 1 2. Totals 15 12-17 13 46.
3-point goals: South Knox 5 (Wilson), North Daviess 4( Knepp 2, Smith 2)