Better days are ahead. Shelly Ethridge is certain of it.
The Archers’ head coach had collected her thoughts just minutes after watching her team put together a furious fourth-quarter comeback against a talented Rend Lake group, before falling in the final minute, 77-72.
“Our youth showed today,” Ethridge said.
That youth, the product of a roster that features just two sophomores, reared itself over the course of an afternoon that featured 20 turnovers for the third straight game, yet still was close to being overcome. Despite the Archers finding themselves in early foul trouble—they were whistled 12 times in the first quarter alone—STLCC trailed Rend Lake by two at the half, and tied it in the final minute.
All this, despite losing leading scorer Shania Thornton in the first half to an apparent knee injury. Guard Zenobia Reeds scored a season-high 27 points, and Alfreda Roberts and Shamara Glover scored 14 and `13 points, respectively. It marked the second time this year in which the Archers had three players score in double figures.
However, that youth and lack of late-game experience proved problematic in the final minute, when a turnover on an inbound attempt touched off a five-point sequence for Rend Lake that sealed the outcome.
”We had four freshmen and one sophomore on the floor almost the whole game today, but our youth came out, unfortunately, and that was the outcome,” Ethridge said. “When we went in the locker room, everyone is hanging their heads, but I let them know that we gave ourselves a chance and it was unfortunate, but we learned a lot from this game. We’ve made big strides since our last game. When our top scorer goes down and others step up the way they did, that’s teamwork and chemistry, and that’s something we’ve really been working on.”