South Side 73, Snider 58

South forward Brittni Clopton talks about the Archers SAC semifinal win

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Chad Ryan | The Journal Gazette
South Side’s Brittni Clopton, left, shoots over Snider’s Nourachia Jackson in the fourth quarter of their SAC Tournament semifinal game at Wayne.

South Side, Concordia reach girls title game

– You can toss out the road map for one, because they know the way by heart. Or maybe you can just hand it to the other, who’ll clutch it, after all this time, like a precious artifact.

It was a contrast in perspectives Friday as South Side survived Snider, and Concordia (10-2) put Bishop Luers (9-4) on a starvation diet in the girls semifinal round of the SAC holiday tournament.

In the first semifinal, the Archers (7-4) and Panthers (5-6) combined for 44 fouls and 37 turnovers before South wore down Snider late in the second and third quarters to make off with a 73-58 victory and reach the championship game for the eighth straight year. Concordia, on the other hand, will be playing for the title for the first time since 2001 after knocking off Bishop Luers 56-44.

“The SAC is just a nice conference, so to get to the finals of the conference tournament this time of year is an accomplishment,” Concordia coach Dave Miller said.

“We fought hard to be here,” said South coach Juanita Goodwell, whose Archers lost four of their first seven games but have now won their last four.

The latest of those was, indeed, a war of attrition between two teams that love to press and push the tempo. In this one, the momentum swung toward Snider for the last time with 3:42 to play in the third quarter, when Karrina Smith cashed a bucket and added the free throw to give the Panthers a 48-46 lead.

It was pretty much all South thereafter.

The Archers tied it at 48 and then Lekesha Stephens dropped a 3-pointer from the top of the key to give the Archers a 51-48 lead with 2:20 to play in the third. It was the beginning of an 11-2 run to finish the quarter that gave South a 57-50 lead going to the fourth, and Snider never got closer again.

“This was just another one of those tough matches,” Goodwell said. “Snider is always going to be tough competition no matter what. They’re a track team as much as we’re a track team, (so) our game plan had to change. Deja (Wimby, who led Snider with 17 points) was determined, she was a beast on the court, and we had to make adjustments to defend her.”

Three Archers hit double figures, led by Chelsea Rogers (19 points), Brittni Clopton (17) and Stephens (13). Rogers scored 16 of her 19 in the second half.

“Our coaches talked about continuing the tradition here,” Clopton said. “We might not have started out the way we wanted to, but we knew this tournament is something we definitely wanted.”

That was pretty much the mindset for Concordia, which didn’t hit its first field goal until the 2:26 mark of the first quarter and was 4 of 22 from the field in the first half. But after Luers’ Taya Andrews gave the Knights a 21-18 lead with a 3 to open the second half, the Cadets held the Knights to one field goal the rest of the quarter, outscored them 15-3 and exited the quarter with a 33-24 lead.

Then they hit 16 of 23 free throws in the fourth quarter, as Luers never got closer than seven again.

“We really try to live off our defense, and if that’s not there it’s tough for us,” said Miller, whose team beat Luers 46-43 a week ago. “I thought our kids played pretty good defense. We didn’t finish things well early, but in the second half we came out and made some free throws. Luers did a good job of extending the game as long as they could, and we hit our free throws better than we did the first time we played them.”

Courtney Smith scored 21 points and Dejour Young 14 to lead the Cadets. Tashayla Sotorius scored 13 to lead the Knights, who were hampered by early foul trouble to Sotorius, Addie Reimbold and Allison Butler, all of whom had at least two fouls by the midway point of the second quarter.