MORGAN TOWNSHIP | South Central raced out to a 21-9 first-quarter lead and never looked back en route to a 70-38 victory over host Morgan Township on Thursday.
The win assured the Times No. 10 Satellites (12-7, 6-0) of at least a share of the Porter County Conference round-robin title for the second straight season. South Central hosts Boone Grove on Saturday to claim the crown outright.
"We played them earlier in the year and that was a close game," said South Central coach Rick Budka, whose Satellites defeated the Cherokees in the PCC tourney semis. "We wanted to set ourselves up for a good finish tonight by bringing the intensity early. We watched a lot of film and knew what we had to do."
South Central was paced by Riley Popplewell. The sophomore scored 16 of her game-high 23 points in the first half and added 16 rebounds.
"She played great all night," Budka said.
But it was a team effort for the Satellites, as nine players scored. Morgan Wright (13 points) and Jill Rosenbaum (12) reached double figures.
Rosenbaum, the only active senior on the South Central roster, made a difference offensively and defensively. She tallied 10 rebounds, seven steals and five assists in the win.
"We knew she wanted to make a statement tonight, and she did," Budka said. "We had a great game all-around and a lot of our subs pitched in as well."
The No. 7 Cherokees (12-6, 6-1) led for less than a minute of the contest, taking a 2-0 advantage on an opening layup from Brianna Leuck.
Trina Coleman led Morgan Township with 15 points, but had an off night from the field.
"Trina Coleman is a fantastic player," Budka said. "She isn't the reigning conference player of the year for nothing, and we did a good job on her tonight."
Kia Holder added 14 points for the Cherokees.
The Satellites 32-point margin of victory was their largest lead of the night. They led 35-17 at halftime and 53-25 after three.
Kia Holder had 14 points for Morgan Township.