BY MIKE RILEY
Despite shooting a horrible percentage through almost three quarters, Jeffersonville found itself still in contention on Saturday against visiting Castle.
When the Red Devils’ shots finally started to fall, so did the Knights as Jeff pulled out a 41-39 victory at Johnson Arena.
Jeff trailed 20-12 at halftime as they made only 4 of 22 shots and still trailed 30-18 when coach Mike Warren called a time out with 2:57 left in the third quarter.
Whatever Warren said to his troops worked as Jeff scored the final five points of the quarter on the way to 12 straight points spanning the final two periods to tie the game at 30 on a basket by Nycia Ford with 7:10 left.
That was Ford’s second basket during the run. Another reserve — Makenzi Johnson — also had two baskets during the run, both 3-pointers, the second of which cut the lead to two.
Kiersten Barker of Castle hit one of her two free throw attempts to put Castle on top 31-30. Aurreeshae Hines then scored to put Jeff back on top.
Castle took its last lead of the game as Rebecca Nunge made a pair of free throws. Johnson then drained another trey for Jeff before a steal and layup by Hines built the lead to 37-33.
Maren Witte of Castle scored around the two minute mark to pull Castle within 41-39, which ended up being the final score.
There was some interesting play in those final two minutes. Two consecutive possessions by each team resulted in a turnover. Castle then put Hines on the line for the 1-and-1 with 17 seconds left. She missed the front end and Castle’s Leah Hampton grabbed the rebound — the Kngihts’ first rebound of the quarter — and was called for traveling.
Castle put Hines on the line. Again she missed the front end. This time Nunge grabbed the rebound, but Castle turned the ball without getting off another a shot.
“We’ll take the ugly ones too,” Warren afterwards after Jeff’s fourth straight victory. “We’re not giving this one back. We played about as bad as we could in the first half. In the second half, we didn’t play many people, but those that played played phenomenal. We scrapped on offense and Shae applying pressure ... and Makenzi Johnson hit three big 3s.
Castle did play without the services of 6-foot-4 senior center Olivia Hunt, for reasons unknown. Hunt was on the bench during the game.
“They’re a top-20 team and she would have made some difference,” Warren said. “But I feel they were more athletic without her. We’re happy to get out of here with a win.”
Hines led Jeff with 14 points. Johnson added 11 points, all in the second half.
Nunge led Castle with 20 points. Witte added 10.
In addition to the play of Hines and the big shots by Johnson, Warren referred to one play late in the game he thought made as big difference in the game.
“Chelsea Lewis made a steal in which she ran a girl down from about 40 feet away, tipped the ball and stole it. It was all heart,” he praised
Jeff will have a week off before traveling to Jasper next Saturday.
JEFFERSONVILLE 41, CASTLE 39
Castle 12 8 10 9—39
Jeffersonville 5 7 13 16—41
Castle (8-4): Morgan Saiko 4, Karlee Ziliak 0, Maren Witte 10, Rebecca Nunge 20, Leah Hampton 4, Kiersten Barker 1, Aubrey Carter 0, Hannah Rosebrock 0.
Jeffersonville (11-4): Chelsea Lewis 0, Emily Gray 2, Taylor Sykes 4, Haley Vogen 6, Aurreeshae Hines 14, Makenzi Johnson 11, Nycia Ford 4, Hailey Lacy 0.
3-point field goals: Castle 0; Jeffersonville 4 (Johnson 3, Hines).
Rebounds: Castle 26 (Hampton 8); Jeffersonville 28 (Lewis 5).
Turnovers: Castle 13, Jeffersonville 13.
Free throws: Castle 3-8, Jeffersonville 7-11
Junior varsity: Jeffersonville 41, Castle 30.