The South Side girls have no issues starting games. It's the second half of games that have been their kryptonite.
But with a strong defensive effort and the offense to match – a 42-point second half – South Side defeated Huntington North 65-35 Tuesday in the first round of the Class 4A Homestead sectional Tuesday night.
"Seeing that execution in the second half – all season long in tough games we weren't able to follow it up in the second half and that's been our weakness," Archers coach Juanita Goodwell said. "To be able to do that of late is key going into this weekend."
The Archers (16-7, 7-2 SAC) got to the rim with ease against a Huntington North (7-16, 4-4 NE8) team they just beat by 49 points a week ago. A'laya Chapman used a nice spin move and finish at the rim in the first quarter to give South Side an eight-point lead after a quarter.
A 7-2 Huntington North run spearheaded by Madalyn Robrock pulled the Vikings within a point, at 16-15 with 2:07 left in the half.
"I think they came out hungry and very aggressive," Chapman said.
After a frustrated Goodwell called a timeout, her team rattled off a 7-0 run to end the half and take a 23-15 lead into the break.
"They made a little run, so to be able to keep our head and composure and finish strong in that quarter was really helpful to lead us into halftime and come out with our original starters," Goodwell said.
Usual starter and team-leading scorer freshmen Olivia Smith didn't start or play the first half, throwing the rotation for a loop.
"Trying to maintain that kind of intensity was really a struggle for us, people were out of position," Goodwell said.
Smith scored 11 points in the second half.
The second half woes were nonexistent for the Archers this time.
After a tough Jaci Jones offensive rebound, the guard took it the length of the floor, executing a swift Euro-step to push the South Side lead to 37-21 with 3:50 to play in the third quarter.
The Archers could all but stamp their ticket to a match up with Muncie Central on Friday after T'laizha Morris reeled in her own teammate's missed free throw, chucked the ball in the air as she drew the foul and it fell through the basket to give the team a 50-21 lead late in the third.
This team looks nothing like the one that fell 65-51 to Carroll earlier in January.
"We just lacked motivation. I think that the record of Carroll, them being on a four-game losing streak and the mindset going in thinking that we were just better showing up," Goodwell said of that loss.
"To be able to bounce off that loss is really big for us," she added. "We had really strong wins last week and gave a better second half this game is something that's going to benefit us this weekend."
Most are anticipating a Homestead-South Side round three for the sectional championship on Saturday. The Spartans have won both games.
"I think what they (players) keep forgetting is that we were in both games and just allowed the second half to get away from us in both games," Goodwell said.
Robrock led the Vikings with 16 points and Chapman finished with 14 for South Side.