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Girls basketball: South Central stuns Hanover in PCC opener

Hanover Central's Blayr Posttries save ball from out bounds with South Central's MadisTomblfirst quarter Saturday afternoHanover Central.  | Jeffrey

Hanover Central's Blayr Poston tries to save the ball from out of bounds with South Central's Madison Tomblin in the first quarter Saturday afternoon at Hanover Central. | Jeffrey D. Nicholls~Sun-Times Media

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Updated: December 12, 2012 6:49AM



CEDAR LAKE — South Central center Riley Popplewell didn’t have too much to say — even after scoring 27 points to key her team’s stunning 68-63 upset of Hanover Central.

The modest 6-foot freshman let her play do the talking on the court — and it was loud — to help the Satellites (1-1, 1-0 PCC) register a huge Porter County Conference win over the Wildcats (1-1, 0-1) Saturday.

“It’s just an outstanding win for our program,” South Central coach Rick Budka said. “It was a fantastic opportunity for our kids to be able to play a really good team like Hanover Central. We talk about it all the time, if we just do what we know that we can do and worry only about ourselves, we’re going to be fine.”

It definitely doesn’t hurt, though, having a talented player like Popplewell on the floor to strengthen your chances.

“She’s a nice player,” Hanover Central coach Doug Nelson said. “She stepped up and made some big shots and played with poise.”

Popplewell not only played with great poise, but was confident in her game. It seemed like whenever the Satellites needed a basket, Popplewell delivered and did so repeatedly, even though she confessed to being nervous before the game.

“Having to start, I felt a lot of pressure,” she said. “It’s only the second game of the season. Being down in the paint, I’m always working with Jill (Rosenbaum, who scored 14) inside to get something. If we can’t get something, we try to get it to our outside shooters.”

“I think once we got into a rhythm as a team today, it was hard to stop us.”

It was hard to stop Hanover Central’s Blayr Poston, too. Even though she didn’t have her greatest shooting day, the talented senior scored a game-high 36 points, including four 3-pointers, to lead the Wildcats.

Rylie Singleton was the only other Wildcats’ player in double figures with 11.

“She can shoot you in, or out of a game,” said Nelson, of Poston.

With no scoring presence in the low post — starting center Danielle Schwalm was held scoreless and fouled out — Poston put the team on her shoulders, but she couldn’t do it by herself.

“My concern right now is, we have an experienced team, if you look at the roster, but no one is really stepping up and being a vocal leader for us except Blayr,” Nelson said. “Really, nobody is on the floor.”

Nelson was impressed with the poise South Central demonstrated.

“That’s a nice team,” he said. “They have a lot of weapons. Their bigs killed us. We’ll have another chance against them. Something tells me there won’t be an undefeated team in the league this year.”

If the Wildcats can improve their communication on the floor and develop some consistent presence in the low post, Nelson’s team should be even tougher to deal with.

“We didn’t block out and we’re not getting much inside, once we did get the ball inside, we didn’t finish well.”



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