ONE AND DONE: Southwestern coach Kenny Garrett (above) directs his team around the floor during Tuesday’s sectional game at South Ripley. Senior Morgan Mahoney (below) reacts after fouling out late in the Rebels’ 53-36 loss to the Raiders. (Staff photos by David Campbell)
ONE AND DONE: Southwestern coach Kenny Garrett (above) directs his team around the floor during Tuesday’s sectional game at South Ripley. Senior Morgan Mahoney (below) reacts after fouling out late in the Rebels’ 53-36 loss to the Raiders. (Staff photos by David Campbell)
VERSAILLES - Impressive double-doubles by South Ripley's Rachel Hensley and Allie Linkmeyer combined with a poor shooting night by Southwestern was too much for the Rebels to overcome in a 53-36 loss in the sectional opener Tuesday in Versailles.

Hensley had 22 points, 15 rebounds, four blocks and three steals in a dominating performance from the center position. Meanwhile fellow senior Linkmeyer was nearly as good with 12 points, 15 rebounds and four assists at guard.

The two Ripley seniors nearly outscored Southwestern by themselves as the Rebels missed all 18 shots they took in the fourth quarter and made only 13-for-48 (27 percent) for the game in a quick exit from the state tournament.

"They're obviously more physical than we are and Hensley is much bigger than we are. She's a hard player to stop," Southwestern coach Kenny Garrett said. "They're hard to defend. They shoot the ball surprisingly well. They're not 15-6 for nothing."

Southwestern's game plan coming in was to use its press to harass the Ripley guards into turnovers. For the most part it worked as the Raiders turned the ball over 24 times, including eight by Linkmeyer.

But South Ripley overcame the turnovers with 22 offensive rebounds and by shooting 38 percent (21-for-55) from the floor. Linkmeyer, who stands only 5-foot-5, got eight offensive rebounds by simply following her shot and slicing into the lane. Hensley had 10 offensive rebounds.

"Linkmeyer is hard to stop. She's fifth in our conference in rebounds and she's just 5-5," Garrett said. "That's all her. That's wanting to get to the ball and wanting to rebound. That's hard to teach."

Despite the mismatches Southwestern was still in the game most of the way. The Raiders trailed only 13-11 after the first quarter and 26-19 at halftime.

Southwestern (7-14) still trailed only 41-34 early in the fourth quarter when the Raiders' Emily Cumberworth drilled a 3-pointer while getting fouled. The junior hit the free throw to complete the rare four-point play and push the Ripley lead to 11.

The four-point play seemed to deflate Southwestern and the Raiders took advantage by reeling off 12-straight points to put the game away. The only points the Rebels got in the quarter were two free throws each by Morgan Mahoney and Nadia Moore.

"A four-point play is hard to overcome," Garrett said. "Cumberworth is a nice shooter and we talked about getting her to use her right hand. But I know there were several times when she dribbled up the entire court with her left hand and shot with four defenders there. It happened three or four times."

No Southwestern player had more than the seven points scored by Savannah Hubbard and Debbie Hardy. Hardy, a 5-foot-8 sophomore, actually had a pretty good game despite struggling with her shot. She also had five rebounds while battling Hensley inside and blocked six shots although she committed nine turnovers.

"(Hardy) played real well. Very active. She played as well as anybody we had," Garrett said. "She gets down on herself so easy. It's good to see that emotion but she needs to get that emotion in the other direction. Once she does that she's going to be one heck of a player."

Southwestern loses four seniors to graduation, starters Kamille Brawner, Savannah Hubbard, Morgan Mahoney and Cheyenne McKinley along with the injured Sydnie McKinley, and Garrett was sad to see the group go.

"I bless the seniors for all that they have given me. This being my first year I wouldn't have wanted it any other way," Garrett said. "They've worked hard for me and I can't ever complain about their work ethic. I thought they played their butts off."

South Ripley (15-6) advances to Friday's semifinals where the Raiders will face eighth-ranked Austin (17-4). The first semifinal will pit North Decatur (13-8) against Milan (1-18).

---

CLASS 2A SECTIONAL 45

at Versailles

Opening Round

SOUTH RIPLEY 53, SOUTHWESTERN 36



SOUTH RIPLEY 13 13 15 12 - 53

SOUTHWESTERN 11 8 13 4 - 36



SOUTH RIPLEY (15-6) - (c)Hensley 22, (g)Linkmeyer 12, (f)Wilhoit 7, (g)Cumberworth 6, (f)Steinhauer 6, McGuire 0, Schmaltz 0, Schwarte 0, Lloyd 0, Forwalt 0.

SOUTHWESTERN (7-15) - (g)Hubbard 7, Hardy 7, (g)Lawson 6, (f)McKinley 6, (c)Mahoney 4, (g)Brawner 2, Courtney 2, Moore 2, Reuda 0, Garrett 0, Bruther 0.



3-Point Goals - South Ripley 3 (Cumberworth 1, Wilhoit 1, Linkmeyer 1), Southwestern 4 (McKinley 2, Hubbard 1, Hardy 1). Rebounds - South Ripley 45 (Linkmeyer 15, Hensley 15), Southwestern 28 (Lawson 6). Assists - South Ripley 10 (Linkmeyer 4), Southwestern 8 (Brawner 2, Courtney 2, Hardy 2). Turnovers - South Ripley 24, Southwestern 26. Total Fouls - South Ripley 13, Southwestern 16. Free Throws - South Ripley 8-15, Southwestern 6-7. Fouled Out - Southwestern: Mahoney. Next Game - South Ripley faces Austin in the Class 2A Sectional semifinals Friday. Southwestern's season ends.