By Dave Pearce
The championship game of the Forest Park basketball sectional proved a bit anti-climatic on Saturday evening as the Lady Vikings steamrolled upstart Tell City 42-17 to claim their second sectional title under current basketball coach Tracy Stroud. The previous one was five years ago (2009).
The Vikings had, by far, the toughest road to the sectional championship game as they first had to open against a solid Perry Central team.
In the semi-finals, they had to face the homestanding Forest Park Rangers, one of the last teams they faced in the regular season. Those match-ups are seldom easy and this one was no exception.
Tell City and South Spencer, the two teams with the worst records in the Forest Park sectional, drew one another and the winner of that game was guaranteed a spot in the sectional championship game.
But when the dust had settled in Ferdinand on Saturday night, there was no doubt as to the best team in the tournament as the Lady Vikings put the defensive clamps on the Lady Marksmen and used that defensive energy to their offensive advantage to disassemble the Lady marksmen.
But the Lady Vikings started slow, scoring only four points in the first five-and-a-half minutes of the contest. The Lady Vikings were getting their share of possessions but three times in that quarter, passes for fast break buckets were overthrown and ended up in turnovers.
But with 2:36 remaining in the first quarter and nursing a 4-3 lead, Stroud took a time out. Out of the time out, Hannah Harness scored on a put-back and Emma Werry found Worman open upcourt to help open a little breathing room at 8-3. But Tell City went inside to their superior height to score the final points of the first period. North Posey held a slim 8-5 lead after one.
“Our biggest problem tonight, especially early, was not to beat ourselves,” Stroud said. “In the first quarter, when we would come up with a turnover, it seemed like we would turn it right back over. We just were not playing with rhythm. But in the second quarter, we began to settle down and play our game.”
To open the second period, Tell City used a lob pass to their 6-foot-1 center who pulled the Lady Marksmen to within 8-7 but the Lady Vikings would outscore Tell City 21-2 the remainder of the quarter to take an overwhelming 29-8 lead into the locker room.
Werry hit a free throw and Sanford nailed a 3-pointer. Werry hit a pair of free throws and Tell City got a free throw. Brooklyn Hamman snagged a rebound bucket and Hayley Harness hit a pair of free throws. Werry hit two more free throws on an over-the-back call on a rebound. Worman got a steal ahead to Werry for another bucket and Werry then hit another pair of free throws. Worman came up with yet another steal and this time Sanford was the recipient of rebound basket before Worman’s 3-pointer ripped the nets as the half-time buzzer sounded.
The second half was much like the first as the Vikings began the quarter with a steal but could not capitalize. The Lady marksmen went inside with the lob again but the Vikings had answers.
Hannah Harness drove the lane, scored and was fouled to open up a 32-10 lead. She went to the line each of the next two Viking possessions and hit 2-of-4 free throws to make the lead 34-10. Werry and Sanford each found Rachel Ungetheim open for back-to-back buckets for a 38-10 lead before another lob inside at 1:13 culminated in a 3-point play for the Lady Marksmen to close out the quarter with the Lady Vikings leading 38-13.
The Vikings played keep-away throughout most of the final period as Harness and Werry each had two points in the final period to match Tell City’s four-point production.
In the opening game, the Vikings took on a…
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