BALL BATTLE: Southwestern’s Kamille Brawner (center) battles with Jennings County’s Kirsten Biggs for the ball as Rebel teammate Cass Lawson rushes in during Friday’s game at home. The Rebels lost 54-36 to fall to 0-4 on the season. (Staff photo by David Campbell)
BALL BATTLE: Southwestern’s Kamille Brawner (center) battles with Jennings County’s Kirsten Biggs for the ball as Rebel teammate Cass Lawson rushes in during Friday’s game at home. The Rebels lost 54-36 to fall to 0-4 on the season. (Staff photo by David Campbell)
Southwestern suffered through an 11-minute scoring drought that ruined any chance the Lady Rebels had at pulling out a win in a 54-36 loss to Jennings County on Friday.

The Rebels held a 5-2 lead with 5:03 left in the first quarter and didn't score again until the 2:03 mark of the second quarter. In between, Jennings County scored 24 unanswered points to send Southwestern to its fourth loss in as many games.

"We outscored them 25-24 in the second half and that's effort," Southwestern coach Kenny Garrett said. "We lose quite a bit without Sydnie (McKinley). Scoring, defense, leadership, a little swagger. But the kids are playing hard, they really are. I've told them that good things happen when you work hard and they may be getting tired of hearing it ... I just hope they continue to believe in what we're trying to do."

The Rebels (0-4) lost McKinley to a season-ending knee injury during Tuesday's loss at Salem. Without its leading scorer, Southwestern struggled to find points against a Hoosier Hills Conference foe.

Junior Austin Courtney picked up the slack early with a pair of power drives to the basket and Savannah Hubbard knocked down a free throw to stake the Rebels to a 5-2 lead three minutes into the game.

Jennings County (1-1) struggled to take care of the ball in the opening minutes but once the Panthers found the handle, they took off.

Starting with Kirsten Biggs' two free throws at the 4:56 mark, Jennings couldn't be stopped. Biggs scored seven points during the 24-0 run, while strong sophomore forward Baylee Krueger powered her way to five points.

It wasn't until Cheyenne McKinley knocked down a 3-pointer with 2:03 left before halftime that Southwestern stopped the bleeding. McKinley added another trey right before the intermission but the Rebels still trailed 30-11.

Rather than give up and lay down, Southwestern battled back in the second half. Hubbard found her range and hit three 3-pointers in the third quarter to go with two long twos with her toes touching the arc.

Hubbard scored 13 of the Rebels' 20 points in the third and Southwestern closed the gap to 13 (44-31) by the end of the third.

But other than a pair of Hubbard free throws and a Debbie Hardy 3-pointer, the Rebels could muster little offense in the fourth quarter and fell by 18.

Garrett was pleased with his team's effort against the much taller Panthers.

"I'm very proud of the way they played in the second half. They were very scrappy," Garrett said. "Especially against a team that was 6-2, 6-2, 6-1, 6-foot and strong. We're going to face that, we just need to keep plugging away. We're going to face some teams that's more our size and we're going to have plenty of chances. We just have to hang in there."

Hubbard finished with a game-high 16 points to easily shatter her career-high in scoring. Courtney and Cheyenne McKinley had six points each.

"(Hubbard) really answered the call tonight and I thought Cheyenne really played well and Debbie played well," Garrett said. "I thought they all played well but we're going to look to Debbie (Hardy) and Cheyenne to score more for us, especially against the bigger teams where (center) Morgan (Mahoney) is just beating herself to death. Debbie had some great looks that she knocks down in practice. If she hits a few more of those we're right back in the game."

Eight different players scored for Jennings County, led by Biggs and Krueger with 10 points each.

Southwestern's next game will arguably be its toughest of the season when the Rebels travel to archrival Madison, the 10th-ranked team in Class 3A, for the annual Turkey Shootout on Wednesday.

Regardless of how the Turkey Shootout game goes, Garrett is confident that his team will find its groove in the coming weeks.

"We're going to turn this around, I don't know if it's going to be next week or the week after or the week after that, but we're going to turn this around," Garrett said. "I have confidence in these girls and I know they're working hard. We're going to get it done."

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FRIDAY'S SOUTHWESTERN BOX

at Hanover

JENNINGS CO. 54,

SOUTHWESTERN 36



JENNINGS CO. 16 14 14 10 - 54

SOUTHWESTERN 5 6 20 5 - 36



JENNINGS CO. (1-1) - (g)Biggs 10, (f)Krueger 10, (g)Kirchner 8, Petro 8, (c)Campbell 6, Ertel 6, (f)Wilson 4, Kinney 2, Blanton 0, Granecki 0.

SOUTHWESTERN (0-4) - (f)Hubbard 16, (g)Courtney 6, (f)C. McKinley 6, Hardy 5, (c)Mahoney 3, (g)Lawson 0, Brawner 0, Ison 0.



3-Point Goals - Jennings Co. 1 (Krueger 1), Southwestern 6 (Hubbard 3, C. McKinley 2, Hardy 1). Total Fouls - Jennings Co. 14, Southwestern 15. Free Throws - Jennings Co. 13-19, Southwestern 4-9. Fouled Out - None. Next Game - Jennings Co. hosts Greensburg today. Southwestern visits Madison Wednesday.