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Raider girls win Henry County title over Vikings

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Named to the All-Tournament Team after the conclusion of Saturday night’s championship game of the Henry County Girls Basketball Tournament in Shelton Gymnasium are, from the left, Blue River Valley’s Hannah Foster, Shenandoah’s Erikka Hill and Kathryn Perry, Knightstown’s Kaitlyn Jackson, and Tri’s Averi Phelps.
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Members and coaches of the Shenandoah High School girls basketball team smile as they pose with the trophy after winning the championship game of the Henry County Tournament over host Blue River Valley 38-24 Saturday night in Shelton Gymnasium.

By DAVID RISLEY - drisley@thecouriertimes.com

MOUNT SUMMIT — The Shenandoah High School girls basketball team captured the Henry County Tournament championship Saturday night by defeating tourney host Blue River Valley in Shelton Gymnasium.

The Raiders won their fifth title in the seven years since the event was reinstated, won their eighth consecutive game of the season, and improved to 13-4.

The Vikings, making their initial appearance in the county championship game, dropped to 13-5 after tasting defeat on the home hardwood for the first time this season. They won the regular season meeting at Shenandoah 45-42 in November.

Once again, defense was the calling card for the Raiders, as they held Blue River to very substandard shooting from the field. The Vikings didn’t hit a single three-pointer in the contest, and the baskets they did hit were within 10 feet of the bucket.

Blue River was an icy 3-for-24 from the field (12.5 percent) in the first half. The Vikings improved a bit in the second half (6-for-20) to finish at 9-for-44 from the floor (20.5 percent). Take away freshman Ally Madden’s 6-for-14 effort, and the rest of Blue River’s team shot a dismal 3-for-30 (10 percent) from the field.

“We pride ourselves on defense,” Shenandoah Coach Dameon Wyatt said afterward, “because that’s something that you can control even if you’re not shooting well. We wanted to limited their outside shooting, and even I was surprised that they (Vikings) didn’t shoot better. We’ve played better offensively and need to cut down on turnovers, but getting this win on their floor is very nice.”

After shooting just 1-for-8 from the floor (12.5 percent) in the first quarter, Shenandoah was 13-of-27 thereafter and ended the game 14-of-35 from the field (40 percent).

Both teams hit free throws pretty well, 9-of-13 (69.2 percent) for the Raiders and 6-of-8 (75 percent) for the Vikings.

Shenandoah had six of its 19 turnovers in the first quarter and neither team scored for four and a half minutes until the Raiders’ Erikka Hill hit a field goal with 3:30 remaining in the period. Madden tied it 2-2 with a bucket 32 seconds later, and Hill hit the first of two free throws with 1:29 left in the period for a 3-2 Shenandoah lead after one.

The Raiders’ Rachel Soden hit the only three-pointer for either team in the contest and Kathryn Perry added a field goal for an 8-2 Shenandoah lead at the 5:57 mark of the second quarter, prompting a Blue River timeout.

Another Madden basket and a Haley Foster charity toss brought the Vikings back to within 8-5 with 5:03 left in the period, and it was 10-7 with 3:43 remaining in the first half after Perry and Madden exchanged buckets.

But from that point until 6:06 remained in the third quarter, Shenandoah went on a 10-0 run to grab a commanding 20-7 advantage, prompting another Viking timeout. Perry tallied six points and Jenna Stewart and Hill two apiece for the Raiders in that flurry.

Madden finally broke a 6:04 scoreless streak for Blue River on a traditional three-point play to bring her team to within 20-10 with 5:39 left in the third period, but Perry and Hill replied with baskets to boost the Shenandoah lead to 24-10 at the 3:44 mark, and the Raiders led 29-14 (their largest lead of the game) after three.

“Defense was the key to our winning this game,” Perry said after the game. “We just wanted to make sure we contested all their shots and not give them some easy ones. I’m really happy we got the trophy and the bucket.”

It was at this point that the Vikings made their charge. Lindsey Williams hit her only bucket of the game and Madden converted another three-point play with 6:12 left in the fourth quarter to trim the Raider advantage to 29-19, prompting a Shenandoah timeout.

After the short break, a Mallory Cross free throw brought Blue River to within 29-20 at the 5:57 mark and the Raiders committed a turnover giving the Vikings a chance to trim the deficit even further. But the tourney hosts failed to do so.

A Perry basket was answered by two Madden free throws, and the Shenandoah lead stood at nine points, 31-22, with 5:03 left in the contest.

But the Raiders outscored Blue River 7-2 the rest of the way to put their tourney championship on ice.

“I want to congratulate Blue River for not giving up and battling back that last quarter,” Hill said afterward. “Fighting to get rebounds and defending their shots was exhilarating in this atmosphere. It was a total team win for us.”

Shenandoah won the battle of the boards 30-24 and committed 19 turnovers compared to 16 for the Vikings.

“I’m not sure what our shooting percentage was,” Blue River Valley Coach Terry Bales said afterward, “but I know it wasn’t high. Part of that was due to Shenandoah’s defense. I thought we played hard on defense and allowing them only 38 points was very good. We just didn’t score enough to win.”

For the Raiders, Perry had 18 points and five rebounds, Hill had 10 points and nine boards, and Stewart had eight rebounds to go along with her four points. All three are just sophomores.

Madden led Blue River with a double-double of 16 points and 10 rebounds. Haley Foster and Cross had five boards apiece.

Named to the All-Tournament Team were Perry, Hill, Blue River’s Hannah Foster, Knightstown’s Kaitlyn Jackson, and Tri’s Averi Phelps.

Shenandoah 38, Blue River Valley 24

SHENANDOAH (38)

Perry 7-15 4-4 18, Soden 1-3 0-0 3, Stewart 2-6 0-0 4, Muterspaugh 0-3 1-3 1, Hill 4-6 2-4 10, Fitch 0-0 0-0 0, Campbell 0-1 0-0 0, Cole 0-1 2-2 2. Totals 14-35 9-13 38.

BLUE RIVER VALLEY (24)

Han. Foster 1-10 0-0 2, Williams 1-12 0-0 2, Hal. Foster 1-6 1-2 3, Taylor 0-0 0-0 0, Madden 6-14 4-4 16, Cross 0-2 1-2 1, Snavely 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 9-44 6-8 24.

Shenandoah 3 11 15 9 - 38

Blue River 2 5 7 10 - 24

3-point goals – Shenandoah 1 (Soden), Blue River 0. Rebounds – Shenandoah 30 (Hill 9, Stewart 8, Perry 5), Blue River 24 (Madden 10, Hal. Foster 5, Cross 5). Total fouls – Shenandoah 12, Blue River 12. Turnovers – Shenandoah 19, Blue River 16. Records – Shenandoah 13-4, Blue River 13-5.