Southwestern built a 15-point fourth-quarter lead then held off a frantic rally to post a 50-46 win over Silver Creek in the second game of the Rumble on the River Tournamenton Friday in Hanover.

The Lady Rebels, who lost a 40-31 decision to McCutcheon earlier in the day, were cruising to an easy win in the nightcap when an Austin Courtney bucket with 6:24 left in the game gave Southwestern what appeared to be an insurmountable 15-point lead.

As it turned out, the lead was indeed insurmountable, but not before Silver Creek closed the game on a frantic run. The Dragons hit three 3-pointers and closed the gap to two on three different occasions before a pair of Debbie Hardy free throws finally iced the win for Southwestern.

"We got good minutes from everybody," Southwestern coach Kenny Garrett said. "We've been looking for seven or eight girls who we can go to in the second half of the season and I thought all eight that played tonight did a fantastic job."

Southwestern (5-7) trailed 7-4 early and 11-8 after the end of the first quarter but took the lead for good on the strength of a 9-0 run at the start of the second quarter.

Leading 18-15 at halftime, Garrett implored his team to take control of the game in the third quarter and they did just that over the next eight minutes.

Hardy hit two 3-pointers and scored 10 points in the quarter and the Rebels outscored Creek 22-12 to go ahead 40-27 at the break. Courtney's basket early in the fourth gave Southwestern its largest lead.

It was exactly what Garrett asked for, except that the Rebels could not sustain that momentum.

"We talked about this being the game where you go out and take control, knock a team out and we did that," Garrett said shaking his head. "And then we let them back into the game."

Hardy, who led all scorers with 17 points, injured her back diving into the stands after a loose ball late in the third quarter and ended up missing most of that period. While she eventually returned to the game, her presence was missed by the Rebels who were also playing without senior point guard Cass Lawson who was not at the game.

Trailing by 15, Silver Creek began mounting its comeback but it took several minutes before the Dragons got going. That slow start ended up costing Creek as time wore down.

Alexis Barnett and Lauren Polston each hit 3-pointers to cut the margin to nine and after a Courtney basket, Barnett hit two free throws and later drained a 3-pointer to close the gap to 44-38. A Southwestern turnover a few seconds later led to a Kelsi Scott basket and the margin was cut to 44-40 with 2:07 to play.

It took another minute before Creek scored again, but another Rebel turnover and a bucket by Bailee Popp made it a two-point game with 55 seconds left.

Southwestern answered right away with a Savannah Rueda layup and Popp came right back on the other end with a short jumper to keep the deficit at two.

Courtney hit two free throws with 18.8 seconds left to push the lead to 48-44. Silver Creek missed two shots on its end but caught a break when Polston was fouled on a 3-point attempt with 6.3 seconds to go. The freshman hit two of the freebies to shrink the gap back to two.

Hardy then put the game away with two free throws.

Courtney scored 14 points to go with Hardy's 17 and seven of the eight Rebels who played in the game scored.

"Austin had 14 points and that was great to see, especially after she had one this morning," Garrett said. "I told her that she needed to be more aggressive and she did that tonight. She took it upon herself to go to the basket."

Popp led Silver Creek with 15 points while Barnett and Scott had 11 points each.

The win came on the heels of Southwestern's close loss to McCutcheon in the opener. The Rebels trailed by only three points with two minutes to play and the Mavericks won the game at the free-throw line.

Hardy scored 16 points to lead Southwestern while Kerstyn Lowery netted 16 points for McCutcheon.

All told, Southwestern's defense allowed a total of 86 points in the two games, something Garrett was very happy to see.

"Our defense has been playing very well and we showed it today," Garrett said. "Our press wasn't as good without Cass out there because she's so quick, but the girls that were here played very well."

The victory over Silver Creek sends Southwestern into today's fifth-place game where the Rebels face Connersville at 4 p.m. Getting a pair of wins in the Rumble would be big for the Rebels, according to Garrett.

"This is a tough tournament and there are no easy wins as a couple of teams found out today," Garrett said. "I'm excited to play Connersville. I think it should be a good game."

In other opening round games, Austin edged Connersville 45-44, Fishers beat Scottsburg 49-46 and Columbus East hammered Silver Creel 64-45. In the other consolation semifinal Connersville defeated Scottsburg 56-53.

Austin will take on Fishers and McCutcheon will face Columbus East in today's semifinal games with the winners squaring off in the championship tonight.



at Hanover



McCUTCHEON 12 9 8 20 - 40

SOUTHWESTERN 8 8 8 7 - 31

McCUTCHEON (6-5) - Lowery 16, Gary 8, Spitalniak 8, Fields 4, Wiederman 4, Kurtz 0, Tracer 0, Burger 0, Boardman 0, Carmony 0, Owens 0.

SOUTHWESTERN (4-7) - (f)Hardy 16, (c)Ison 6, (g)Bruther 4, (g)Brierly 3, (f)Courtney 1, Moore 1, Rueda 0, Bushong 0.

3-Point Goals - McCutcheon 4 (Spitalniak 2, Lowery 1, Gary 1), Southwestern 5 (Hardy 4, Brierly 1). Free Throws - McCutcheon 10-16, Southwestern 4-7. Total Fouls - McCutcheon 14, Southwestern 15. Turnovers - McCutcheon 16, Southwestern 13.




SILVER CREEK 11 4 12 19 - 46

SOUTHWESTERN 8 10 22 10 - 50

SILVER CREEK (2-7) - (f)Popp 15, (g)Barnett 11, (f)Scott 11, Polston 5, Toby 4, (g)Baxter 0, (g)Cunliffe 0, Martin 0.

SOUTHWESTERN (5-7) - (f)Hardy 17, (f)Courtney 14, (c)Ison 6, Moore 5, (g)Bruther 4, (g)Brierly 2, Rueda 2, Bushong 0.

3-Point Goals - Silver Creek 3 (Popp 2, Polston 1), Southwestern 3 (Hardy 3). Turnovers - Silver Creek 23, Southwestern 19. Total Fouls - Silver Creek 16, Southwestern 16. Free Throws - Silver Creek 7-11, Southwestern 9-14. Fouled Out - Southwestern: Moore. Next Game - Both teams continue play in the Rumble on the River Tournament today: Silver Creek faces Scottsburg; Southwestern plays Connersville.