HUSTONTOWN - Forbes Road's girls basketball team looked like it was playing under Murphy's Law on Thursday night.
Just about everything that could've gone wrong for the Cardinals did, and Southern Fulton took advantage in a big way. After a slow offensive start for both teams, the Indians played their best basketball through the middle two quarters and claimed a 54-36 victory in Sideling Hill/Inter-County Conference action.
"They just wanted it worse than we did," Forbes Road coach Jeff Gelvin said. "They were a lot more aggressive. They beat us to every loose ball, and they went after the rebounds like they wanted it and we didn't. We got crushed on the boards, and we shot the ball terribly."
The only thing going in Forbes Road's favor was 26 turnovers by Southern Fulton (12-3, 8-3 SHL, 6-3 ICC).
But despite having 56 field goal attempts, the Cardinals (5-8, 2-8 SHL, 1-8 ICC) managed just 15 buckets for a 26.8 shooting percentage. They were also a mere 1-for-4 from the line.
"They played tight defense, so it was hard to get good shots up," Cardinal senior Mina Wilt said. "We had a lot of shots go in and out, and I think we just got flustered. They definitely out-hustled us, and I don't think we were ready for tonight."
Early on, it looked like Forbes Road would make a game of it. The Cardinals trailed 17-11 midway through the second quarter when a steal and layup by Wilt cut the deficit to four points. But Southern Fulton closed out the half on a seven-point run, and after a bucket by Wilt, SF strung together 10 straight points to open the second half. Just two minutes into the third quarter, Forbes Road trailed 34-15.
"Every minute counts from this point out," Indians coach Meagan Raville said. "It's important now to go out as hard as they possibly can to better prepare themselves for later in the season. At halftime, we talked about attacking the basket. I thought we were settling for easy 3-point shots, but the moment I told them to attack any hole they saw, they went for it."
SF guard Lakyn Morton said, "We used to start really slow in the beginning (of the season), but we've taught ourselves to do a lot better at the start of quarters. When we get a head start, we tend to relax a little bit, but our bench did a good job tonight getting us hyped up."
Southern Fulton also had a distinct advantage on the boards. Despite having just four offensive rebounds at halftime, the Indians out-rebounded Forbes Road, 35-20. Olivia Mottern, Celina Merchant and Drew Gordon all grabbed seven off the boards.
After trailing by as many as 21 points, Forbes Road tried to put a dent in the deficit late. Maddie Miller came off to bench to nail a trio of 3-pointers, but it was simply too little, too late for the Cardinals.
"When they got a big lead, we had to try to play them man, and we don't have enough quickness to play that team man-to-man," Gelvin said.
NOTES: Mottern led Southern Fulton's scoring with 16 points, while Morton contributed 11 ... Wilt and Miller split 24 points evenly for Forbes ... The Cardinals had just 12 turnovers ... Southern Fulton shot the ball 22-for-42 (52.4%) from the field and went 5 of 6 from the line.
Southern Fulton 54, Forbes Road 36
Southern Fulton (54)
Olivia Mottern 5 4-4 16, Drew Hann 2 0-0 4, Celina Merchant 2 0-0 4, Lakyn Morton 4 0-0 11, Shaye Smartt 4 1-2 9, Drew Gordon 3 -0 6, Maddie Baker 0 0-0 0, Jessie Covalt 2 0-0 4, Emily Bradshaw 0 0-0 0, Fallon Ritz 0 0-0 0. Totals — 22 5-6 54.
Forbes Road (36)
Malea Truax 0 0-0 0, Mina Wilt 5 1-4 12, McKenzie Gelvin 2 0-0 4, Courtney Schoen 4 0-0 8, Mara Broadwater 0 0-0 0, Maddie Miller 4 0-0 12. Totals — 15 1-4 36.
So. Fulton _ 13 _ 11 _ 18 _ 12 _ — _ 54
Forbes Road _ 7 _ 6 _ 8 _ 15 _ — _ 36
3-point goals — SF 5 (Morton 3, Mottern 2), FR 5 (Miller 4, Wilt).