UNION MILLS | South Central was mired in a three-game losing streak, but Satellites girls basketball coach Rick Budka still saw smiles on the faces of his players before Saturday's game against Morgan Township.
Those frowns turned upside down remained as the Satellites defeated the Cherokees 49-39, clinching at least a share of the Porter County Conference round-robin crown.
Morgan Township upended the Satellites (12-6, 6-1) in last week's opening round of the PCC tournament, and S.C. squandered a 12-point halftime lead to give LaCrosse its first league win of the season Friday.
"This was a big game for us," Budka said. "We told the girls (Friday night) that the sun would still come up (Saturday) morning. We had to look at the big picture and come into school with smiles on our faces."
South Central broke the game open with an 11-3 third quarter for a 34-21 cushion. Junior Jill Rosenbaum scored five of her team-high 11 points in the frame.
"We had to come back and fight hard," said Rosenbaum, who also had nine rebounds and two assists. "We couldn't just settle with the losses. We had to keep playing.
"We now know in tough situations that we will not just give up."
Freshman Riley Popplewell added nine points, 15 rebounds, three steals and two blocked shots. Sophomore Madison Tomblin added 10 points, 13 rebounds and two assists. Freshman Morgan Wright drained a pair of 3-pointers -- one in the third-quarter run -- and finished with eight points.
"We worked the ball around," said Budka, whose program won its second PCC round-robin title. "We got a huge effort from so many people."
Morgan Township was 1-for-11 shooting in the third quarter and it finished the game just 9-of-17 shooting from the free-throw line.
Even though the offensive execution was missing, the Cherokees (10-10, 2-4) trimmed a 18-point fourth-quarter deficit to eight points on Trina Coleman's putback with 44.4 seconds left. The junior guard had 12 of her game-high 18 points in the fourth.
"S.C. came ready to play, and we didn't shoot that well," Krieger said. "(South Central) made some open shots; they didn't the first time.
"We did a nice job of staying in the game and not backing down."