The undefeated Indians had no trouble downing their Sideling Hill League/Inter-County Conference opponent on Thursday night at home. Every part of Southern Fulton's game was impeccable in the first quarter, and the Indians (14-0, 8-0 SHL, 7-0 ICC) took a 25-7 lead after eight minutes.
Southern Fulton forced four turnovers in the first minute and a half, allowing junior Macey Hollenshead to open the game on a 5-0 run. The Indians led 19-4 just four minutes into the game, and helped by a 57.1 shooting percentage and 10 turnovers by the Lady Tigers (8-4, 3-4 SHL, 2-4 ICC), they were able to increase that advantage to 18 in a matter of minutes.
"I just told the girls, 'You have to land the first punch,' and I thought we did that tonight," Southern Fulton coach Terry Bard said.
The Indians continued to pour on the points in the second quarter with a balanced scoring effort. In the second period, six different players scored at least one bucket.
The Lady Tigers' offense picked it up a notch and managed 13 points in the second quarter but was still trailing 43-20 at halftime.
"At halftime, we talked about how it wasn't a done deal, but if we continued to play the way we were playing, then this game was over," Fannett-Metal coach Jenny Lauthers said. "It was about pride, and it was about heart, and it was about coming out and starting to do some things the right way."
The first three minutes of the second half were the Tigers' best of the night. They opened the quarter on a four-point run to cut the deficit to 18, but Bard called a timeout, and the Indians quickly regained the momentum.
"Basically I was pleased with the intensity the whole way through, except for right at the start of the third," Bard said.
That's just what they did.
After the timeout, the Indians scored 12 consecutive points to grab their largest lead up to that point - a 30-point advantage.
One of Fannett-Metal's biggest issues was getting through Southern Fulton's 1-3-1 zone. The Lady Tigers continually tried to pass their way through the defense rather than dribbling into the lane.
"That wasn't the plan," Lauthers said. "We had a tendency to get in the corner and then get trapped. We told them to stay away from the sidelines, but we just kept doing that."
Bard said, "If we're not playing defense, we're not going to win. They just thrive on getting after people and swarming people. They love to do it. It's a big part of what we do, and we do it well."
Hollenshead once again racked up the stats. She finished with a game-high 21 points and added another double-double to her resumé with 12 assists. She also led the Indians with eight steals and seven rebounds.
Two others - Ashley Roman and Taelor Morton - were in double figures for Southern Fulton with 20 and 18 points, respectively.
Megan Dougherty was the leader for Fannett-Metal with 16 points, including a game-high three 3-pointers.
With just eight games left in the regular season, Southern Fulton still has an undefeated record to protect. But Bard said he's not getting ahead of himself just yet.
"We're not even thinking about it," Bard said. "I keep saying it's like we're on a ladder. We're just taking each rung at a time. We're not looking at the top. We know what's up there, but you have to take care of each step, and that's our focus."
Lizi Arbogast can be reached at 262-4788 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Southern Fulton 76
Megan Dougherty 5 3-3 16, Naomi Fields 1 10-0 3, Amanda Laye 1 0-0 2, Melissa Zeger 4 0-0 8, Blaire Lauthers 3 3-5 9, McKenna Bair 2 0-0 4, Jodi Adams 2 0-0 4, Jessica Becker 0 0-0 0, Caroline Yarish 0 0-0 0. 18 6-8 46.
Ashley Roman 10 0-1 20, Kayla Chilcote 2 0-0 4, Kayla Wertz 2 0-0 5, Taelor Morton 8 0-0 18, Macey Hollenshead 8 5-7 21, Morgan Strait 2 0-2 4, Maddie Mellott 0 0-0 0, Allison Spade 2 0-0 4, Celina Merchant 0 0-0 0, Shaye Smartt 0 0-0 0, Tylar Smith 0 0-0 0, Lakyn Morton 0 0-0 0. Totals 34 5-10 76.
Fannett-Metal 7 13 12 14 - 46
Southern Fulton 25 18 15 18 - 76
3-point shots - FM 4 (Dougherty 3, Fields); SF 3 (Morton 2, Wertz). Shooting - FM 18-53 (34.0%); SF 34-72 (47.2%). Rebounds - FM 22 (Zeger 10); SF 38 (Hollenshead 7). Assists - FM 8 (Dougherty, Bair 2); SF 22 (Hollenshead 12). Steals - FM 13 (Zeger 5); SF 17 (Hollenshead 8). Turnovers - FM 22; SF 13. Blocked shots - FM 4 (Zeger 4); SF 3 (Roman 2). Fouled out - Laye.
JV: Southern Fulton 48, Fannett-Metal 33. Maddie Mellott led the Indians with 16 points; Amanda Laye led the Tigers with 8 points.
Next game: F-M: Tuesday, at home vs. Southern Huntingdon, 7:30 ... SF: Saturday, at Juniata Valley, 4.