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November 22, 2012

H.S. GIRLS' BASKETBALL: New Wash keeps upper hand over rival Pirates

Ricks gets eight points, 19 boards in victory

NEW WASHINGTON — Kriston Sarver, Ashley Johnson and Courtney Amick combined for 44 points and Caroline Ricks finished with eight points and 19 rebounds as New Washington beat rival Charlestown 54-44 on Wednesday.

The win was the third straight night before Thanksgiving victory over the Pirates for the Mustangs.

With Charlestown (1-2) struggling the past few years, the Mustang-Pirate rivalry may seem to have lost a little of its luster. Not if you ask the Mustangs.

“My junior class hasn’t lost to Charlestown since sixth grade,” Ricks said. “They’re a rival in every sport we play. Beating them by 100 or beating them by 10, it doesn’t matter as long as it’s a win.”

“They’re our rivals, so this is pretty big,” Sarver said. “I think we worked well as a team.”

“We mentioned at halftime that someone’s going to have bragging rights that’s going to last the entire year and it’s going to come down to who wants it the most,” White said.

And it was usually Ricks who wanted it the most. Her 19 rebounds, including six on the offensive glass, helped the Mustangs (4-1) out-rebound Charlestown 52-37.

“One of my main roles is to rebound,” she said. “That’s basically what I’m in there for. My goal for the game is to get as many rebounds as I possibly can.”

“She’s done a phenomenal job for us,” White said. “She goes to battle for us. We expect that from her and I think she expects that of herself.”

Ricks shot just 2-of-7 from the floor, but Charlestown’s third-year coach Sam Terrell said the New Wash junior forward was a big difference in the decision.

“You have to block her out,” he said. “She’s a solid rebounder, a big girl. We can’t just go underneath the basket and wait for the ball.”

New Wash took a 7-0 lead less than three minutes into the contest when Sarver hit a 3, Johnson got a steal and a bucket and Ricks hit a pair of free throws.

The Mustangs led 14-7 after one quarter with Johnson scoring seven of the 14 points.

Charlestown slowly cut into the New Wash lead in the second quarter. The Pirates tied the game at 18-apiece when Emily Young hit a pair of free throws then took their first lead at 21-20 when Kaitlynn Henning hit one of her two 3-point shots in the quarter.

Sarver hit a baseline jumper followed by another Johnson 3 to give New Wash a 25-21 lead with 45 seconds left in the half before a Justice Burdin free throw made it 25-22 at the half.

Johnson scored all 14 of her points in the first half before fouling out in the fourth quarter.

After a scoreless first two minutes of the second half, Ricks hit a pair of free throws to give the Mustangs a 27-22 third quarter lead, but Jasmine Harvey had back-to-back steals that led to buckets to cut the gap to 27-26.

Harvey tied Henning for a Charlestown-best 10 points, going 5-for-12 from the field.

“Jasmine’s been a cold spell,” Terrell said. “She came through tonight with some layups, she got some big steals. She did some really good things.”

The score remained 27-26 for more than three minutes until Sarver scored two straight buckets to make it 31-26. A Harvey basket with 10 seconds left was followed by a Ricks layup on an assist from Sarver, who led the Mustangs with three, at the buzzer and New Wash led 33-28 after three periods.

Charlestown got within 35-34, but New Wash pulled away with an Amick baseline jumper and a Ricks bucket on a Johnson pass for a 39-34 lead. New Wash then hit nine free throws down the stretch to put the game away.

The good news for New Wash is it got to the foul line 46 times and scored more than half of its points from the charity stripe. The bad news was that the Mustangs missed 18 of them.

There were 53 fouls called in the contest.

“We’ve got to become a better free throw shooting team,” White said. “Especially if we’re going to get there a lot.”

Charlestown was even worse at the foul line, making just 10 of 21.

“We have to make free throws,” Terrell said. “We can’t [go 10 for 21].”

Charlestown is now 1-2 after opening with a victory over Southwestern. However, a year ago, the Pirates started 0-3 and 1-8 during a 4-17 campaign. Hanging with Class A No. 12 New Wash appears to be a sign of a program turning the corner.

“I feel like we’re making progress,” Terrell said. “It’s not coming as fast as everyone would like, of course. We did some good things. We have to continue to work hard.”

“They’re a much improved team,” White said of the Pirates. “I told Coach Terrell it seems like they’re finding their roles. It seemed like last year they were still trying to find their identity.”

Charlestown travels to Henryville on Saturday for its next contest.

New Wash hosts 1-1 Borden on Tuesday. With no junior varsity game, the tip is scheduled for 7 p.m.

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