South Side ends Lady Vikes' season

South Side ends Lady Vikes' season in sectional semifinals
Posted on 02/08/2021
Taylor Doubles drives around a South Side defender during Huntington North's loss to the ArchersThe 2020–21 season came to a close on Friday night for the Huntington North girls basketball team, as the Lady Vikes were dispatched in the Columbia City Sectional Semifinals by South Side after a 53–45 defeat. The outcome marks the fourth consecutive year the Archers have eliminated Huntington North from the postseason.

South Side wasted no time establishing an early lead, storming out to a quick 9–0 advantage. Grace Sell finally got the Lady Vikes on the board a little over halfway through the opening frame, settling play for the rest of the quarter. The Archers held an 11–3 lead entering the second stanza.

Huntington North found its footing in the second quarter, posting 14 points in the period. However, South Side followed suit, also tallying 14 points to keep the margin at eight with the scoreboard reading 25–17 in favor of the Archers at halftime.

South Side continued to pour on the pressure in the early stages of the third quarter with a 6–2 run to open the frame and a 31–19 advantage in the process. Play would even out for the remainder of the period, but it would be Taylor Double getting the last laugh, beating an Archer defender with a behind-the-back dribble to drive the lane before pulling up for a buzzer-beating floater. Double’s basket would send the contest to the fourth quarter with South Side ahead 36–26.

Another strong start to a stanza for the Archers, this time a 7–0 streak, would balloon the gap further, but the Lady Vikes refused to go down quietly, eventually getting back to within single digits. Despite fighting all the way to the end, Huntington North could not pull even, as South Side held on for the 53–45 victory to advance to the sectional championship game.

“I’m really proud of our kids (and) their fight,” said head coach Matt Hinds following the game. “There were times that we could have shown more poise, and if you take away the foul line—if we didn’t foul so much—and some turnovers, it’s an eight-point game. We had 18 turnovers; that’s a lot of possessions that you don’t get shots. We just need to do a little bit better job. We were ready. I thought we believed and were ready and our kids had a lot of fight. We just didn’t get it done tonight. And hats off to Ft. Wayne South; they played a really good game.”

Double led the Lady Vikes with 20 points and also hauled in a team-best 13 rebounds to complete a double-double effort.

Reece Colclesser buried 11 points and four assists in her final outing as a Lady Vike, while Sell and Katelynn Arnold each added six points. Leah Campbell completed Huntington North’s offensive output with two points.

Olivia Smith led all scorers in the contest, posting 25 points for the Archers. Jasney Combs and Annika Davis each sank 11 points to round out the South Side scoring podium.

With the loss marking the end of the season for the Lady Vikes, Hinds was quick to reflect on the impact his seniors, both his players and team personnel, made during their time with the program.

“Collectively, you have five seniors and then you have (personnel)—I don’t want to overlook Kate Gradeless, who is a huge part of what we do, and Miranda Spitler as a student assistant and our manager, so you’ve got seven seniors that are leaving,” Hinds said. “Lady Viking basketball has been their life. Every day, they come in and just work and go hard. They’re going to be missed. Aside from players, they’re just awesome kids. Love their character. Those kind of kids, you don’t replace that, but you hope that kids are watching and can learn from the legacy that they’re leaving behind.”

In addition to Arnold and Colclesser, Lily Clanin, Addison Dennis and Grace Gross also donned a Lady Vikes basketball jersey for the final time on Friday night.

The loss capped Huntington North’s season record at 15–8, while the Archers dropped the sectional championship matchup to Homestead on Saturday in a tightly contested 33–31 outcome that went down to the final seconds.

Additionally, the Northeast 8 Conference announced its annual All-Conference selections on Monday morning, and among the selectees were four Lady Vikes. Double claimed a spot on the First Team All-Conference list, one of just two non-seniors to earn the recognition. Colclesser landed a spot on the Second Team All-Conference lineup, while Campbell and Sell each secured spots on the Honorable Mention list.
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