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Trojan girls seize control early for win vs. Rebels

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New Castle’s Cameron Tabor (20) looks for an opening against the defense of Randolph Southern’s Cierra Tomey (24) during Wednesday night’s girls basketball game at The Battlefield. Tabor posted a double-double of 21 points and 14 rebounds in the visiting Trojans’ 42-29 win over the Rebels.
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New Castle’ Molly Alspaugh (25) and Randolph Southern’s Maddy Mikesell (32) battle for the opening tip as the Trojans’ Cameon Tabor (20) watches during Wednesday night’s girls basketball game at The Battlefield. Shortly after this scene, visiting New Castle went on a 13-0 run to start the contest and never trailed in the Trojans’ 42-29 victory over the Rebels.
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New Castle’s Cloie York (3) goes for a steal against Randolph Southern’s Leann Wigginton (14) during the first half of Wednesday night’s girls basketball game at The Battlefield. The visiting Trojans caused 12 turnovers by the Rebels in the first half and York scored five baskets in the second half to keep New Castle in front as the Trojans won 42-29.
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New Castle’s Alyssa “Peanut” Semler (5) delivers a pass against the defense of Randolph Southern’s Leann Wigginton (14) during Wednesday night’s girls basketball game at The Battlefield. Semler tallied six points in the first half to help the Trojans build a 20-6 lead, and they never trailed in their 42-29 victory over the host Rebels.

By DAVID RISLEY - drisley@thecouriertimes.com

LYNN—The New Castle High School girls basketball team traveled a little northeast into Randolph County Wednesday night to take on host Randolph Southern at The Battlefield.

The Trojans raced out to a 13-0 advantage at the 3:16 mark of the first quarter and never were headed as they went on from there for a 42-29 victory over the host Rebels.

New Castle moved above .500 for the season and now has a 9-8 record. Randolph Southern lost its third straight game, and eight of its past nine, to slip to 6-11.

The Trojans completed their swing through the Mid-Eastern Conference with a 2-1 record, losing to Shenandoah at home in overtime 59-51 on Dec. 22 and defeating Wapahani and now the Rebels on the road by double digits as the calendar changed to 2019.

The Trojans’ Cameron Tabor scored 10 points and Alyssa “Peanut” Semler added the other three on that opening 13-0 run, and the two teams played evenly on the scoreboard after that point.

Neither team shot the ball well from the field in the contest, as shooting percentages from the floor rivaled the temperatures outside the gymnasium.

For the game, New Castle was 16-of-54 (29.6 percent) from the field while the Rebels ended at 9-for-33 for 27.3 percent accuracy, and those numbers were boosted by slightly better marksmanship in the second half as opposed to the first.

The Trojans outrebounded Randolph Southern 37-26 and committed just eight turnovers to the Rebels’ 16. Those 19 extra possessions explained much of why New Castle had 21 more shots from the floor than did the hosts.

“On nights that you’re not shooting well, you have to focus on doing other things to help you win,” New Castle Coach Molly Swift said after the game. “I thought we did a really good job on defense, rebounding, and taking care of the basketball.”

The Trojans made only nine trips to the free throw line in the contest, hitting six for 66.7 percent. Randolph Southern was 9-for-14 from the charity stripe for 64.3 percent.

The Rebels didn’t score in the game until Jewelia Austin nailed a three-pointer with 2:30 remaining in the first period. A basket by Maddy Mikesell in the final minute of the quarter enabled the hosts to crawl back to within 13-5 after one.

A free throw from Shelby Jeffers nine seconds into the second period made the score 13-6, but New Castle’s Macayla McGowan notched a bucket, Semler drained a trey, and Tabor hit a basket to enable the visitors to grab their biggest lead of the first half 20-6 at the 3:44 mark of the second quarter.

But the Trojans didn’t score again in the half and Randolph Southern got another bucket from Mikesell and a pair of charity tosses from Austin to pull back to within 20-10 at intermission.

New Castle was just 8-of-32 (25 percent) from the field in the opening 16 minutes, but the Rebels couldn’t even match that, as they were just 3-for-14 (21.4 percent).

Randolph Southern made a mini-charge at the start of the third quarter, as buckets by Mikesell and Emma Slick plus a free throw from Jeffers were matched by only a Cloie York basket, and the Rebels were within 22-15 with 5:01 left in the third period.

A pair of Tabor free throws at the 4:37 mark boosted the visitors’ lead back up to nine points at 24-15, and it stayed that way until the Rebels’ Cierra Tomey sank her only bucket of the night to make it 24-17 with 2:48 remaining in the quarter.

The Trojans then went on a 14-3 run over the next 5:45 of play that carried over into the final period to take their largest lead of the night at 38-20 with 5:03 left in the fourth quarter.

In that flurry of activity, York had three more buckets on drives to the basket, Tabor added a pair of charity tosses and a three-pointer, and McGowan nailed a shot from behind the arc for those 14 points. Jeffers hit a trey for the only Rebel points during that span of time.

“We had been settling for three-point shots in the first half and weren’t hitting many of them,” Swift remarked. “At halftime, we needed to change some things and I credit our girls for doing so. Cloie York was running the floor really well and Cameron was hitting her with passes for lay-ups when enabled us to stretch our lead.”

Slick hit a basket for Randolph Southern, but York answered with another one of her own on a drive to the hole, matching the largest Trojan lead at 40-22 with 4:34 remaining in the contest.

With that 18-point advantage, New Castle really wasn’t looking to score the rest of the way. The Rebels tallied seven points in a row until Tabor wrapped up the night’s scoring on a pair of free throws with 1:32 left in the game.

Tabor recorded a double-double of 21 points and 14 rebounds to lead the Trojans, York had 10 points (all in the second half), Semler six, and McGowan five. York added six rebounds, and Laila Smith and McGowan had four boards apiece.

Mikesell had 10 points and four rebounds to lead Randolph Southern, and Jeffers scored eight points, Austin five, Slick four, and Tomey two. Kalee Hayes and Slick corralled four caroms apiece for the hosts.

New Castle also won the junior varsity game 43-30. Maddy Meek scored 17 points, Mackenzie Bridgeman 14, and and Karsen Morgan nine to lead the Trojans, while eight players scored for the Rebels, led by eight points from Grace Watson and six each from Mattie Hale and Lilly Parrett.

New Castle hosts Greenfield-Central tonight in the first game of a girl/boy doubleheader in the Fieldhouse.

“We know we’ll need to play better to beat Greenfield,” Swift added. “They are a good team who has defeated some good teams. We’ll get back to practice tomorrow and work on our shooting, and I think our girls will be up to the task.”

New Castle 42, Randolph Southern 29

NEW CASTLE (42)

McGowan 2-4 0-0 5, York 5-16 0-0 10, Semler 2-8 1-2 6, Tabor 7-19 5-5 21, Alspaugh 0-1 0-0 0, Smith 0-1 0-2 0, Morgan 0-4 0-0 0, Bridgeman 0-0 0-0 0, Meek 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 16-54 6-9 42.

RANDOLPH SOUTHERN (29)

Jeffers 1-5 5-10 8, Wigginton 0-3 0-0 0, Tomey 1-4 0-0 2, Mikesell 4-6 2-2 10, Hayes 0-7 0-0 0, Austin 1-5 2-2 5, Slick 2-3 0-0 4, Ledbetter 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 9-33 9-14 29.

New Castle 13 7 11 11 ­— 42

Randolph So. 5 5 7 12 ­ — 29

3-point goals – New Castle 4 (Tabor 2, McGowan, Semler), Randolph So. 2 (Jeffers, Austin). Rebounds – New Castle 37 (Tabor 14, York 6, McGowan 4, Smith 4), Randolph So. 26 (Mikesell 4, Hayes 4, Slick 4). Total fouls – New Castle 14, Randolph So. 12. Turnovers – New Castle 8, Randolph So. 16. JV score – New Castle 43, Randolph So. 30. Records – New Castle 9-8, Randolph So. 6-11.