LANSING | Times No. 4 T.F. South won two of four quarters Thursday against Rich Central, and a third came up even.
However, four quarters make a game, and, more specifically, the second quarter made this one.
Rich Central outscored the Rebels 21-8 in the second quarter and held on for a 52-48 win.
That the Olympians stormed back from a 12-5 deficit after one quarter coincided with Tayana Wilson and Cayla Rempson coming off the bench was no surprise.
A night earlier, Wilson, Central's leading scorer, and Rempson, a senior forward, were part of a spat during a fourth-quarter timeout in a loss to Crete-Monee. Regular starters, they sat for the first eight minutes Thursday before coming on — strong.
Wilson forced two quick turnovers and scored eight of her team-high 18 points in the quarter. Rempson had two points and four rebounds as the Olympians (16-7) surged to a 26-20 halftime lead. South (17-4) settled in for a 7-7 tie in the third quarter and outscored the Olympians 21-19 in the fourth, but after creeping to within four points with 4:17 to play, could get no closer.
"They caught us off guard with the pressure," South coach Steve Breshock said. "We didn't handle it well. I probably should have called a timeout right away, but usually after the first turnover, we know what to do and settle down."
The Rebels had nine turnovers in the quarter. Their only field goals over those eight minutes came when Ninah Bertrand found gaps in the Central pressure for a pair of layups on her way to a game-high 22 points.
"I just saw the openings and took off," Bertrand said. "That's what Coach B said we all had to do. It just happened that the openings were there when I had the ball."
Breshock didn't see it exactly the same way.
"She's our go-to player," he said. "She never gets flustered, even if things don't go her way."
The rest of the Rebels weren't much different, as Breshock saw it.
"I think what really hurt us was four days off," he said. "Saturday, we couldn't get in here because of a wrestling tournament. Then there was Sunday, and Monday and Tuesday were snow days. … We didn't touch a ball, no cardio, nothing.
"But look at (Rich Central). They're taller, more athletic. If you go man-for-man up and down that lineup, they're probably a better team. But we stuck around right until the end.
"Our girls play together. We still haven't lost a game we clearly should have won. I couldn't be prouder of them."
India Pierson, a sophomore, made 10-of-12 free throws, including 8-of-10 in the fourth quarter, and pulled down 10 rebounds for the Rebels.