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Shelby County girls’ basketball coach Mike Sowers played fire-starter Friday night.
With his team trailing crosstown-rival Collins by three points at the end of the first period, Sowers ignited the Rockets –- who outscored the Titans, 17-1, in the second quarter – to a 49-28 victory in an early-season game between 30th District rivals at Mike Casey Gymnasium.
“He lit a fire under our butts,” Shelby County junior point guard Katie Hudgens said of Sowers’ message to his team in between the first and second periods.
Junior forward Mackenzie Raizor scored 13 points and sophomore forward Justus Martin tallied 10 as the Rockets posted their second victory over Collins.
The 10th meeting between the two looked like it was going to be much like the last three – decided by 3.3 points per game – rather than the first six, which were decided by 32.5 ppg.
The Titans took leads of 4-0 and 5-2 before Raizor hit the first of her three 3-pointers to tie the score. It was 7-all a minute later before Collins sophomore point guard Michelle Roberts hit a pair of free throws and assisted Katie Vogel for a Titans’ basket (Collins’ final one of the first half).
Shelby senior Nikki Simmons answered with a rebound basket, to pull the Rockets within two, before Roberts hit one of two free throws to give the Titans a 12-9 lead at the end of the first period.
“The first quarter we had a good rhythm going offensively. We made them play the way we wanted to,” Collins Coach Phillip Conder said.
That quickly changed, though, as the taller Rockets (who started four players who were at least 5 feet 11) reeled off 10 consecutive points to begin the second quarter.
Martin scored inside, Jordan Holt hit a 3-pointer, Savannah Raizor scored inside, and Mackenzie Raizor hit her second 3-pointer for a 19-12 lead for Shelby County, which saw three games postponed or cancelled by bad weather after its season-opening victory over Owen County on Dec. 3.
Roberts hit one of two free throws with 2:02 to play in the first half for the Titans’ only point of the period.
The Rockets closed the quarter with seven consecutive points for a 26-13 lead at halftime.
“The second quarter, that was the difference in the basketball game,” Sowers said.
The Rockets’ game-deciding outburst in the second period came in spite of the fact that four players, including three starters, had two fouls each.
“Once they got in foul trouble, I thought we did a terrible job attacking, especially when Hudgens went to the bench,” said Conder, whose team hit 4 of 15 (26.7 percent) from the field in the first half.
Shelby County (2-0, 1-0) outscored the Titans 6-4 in the third quarter and 17-11 in the fourth.
Savannah Raizor added nine points, and Simmons snared a team-high six rebounds for the Rockets. Holt chipped in six points and five rebounds.
“We knew we had to play with clear heads and stay together,” said Hudgens, who finished with five points and five assists. “We were just playing as one unit, and we all did our jobs.”
Roberts scored a game-high 14 points to lead Collins, which shot just 24.3 percent (9 of 37) from the field and made only 10 of 25 (40 percent) free throws.
“We’ve got to convert at the free-throw line,” said Conder, whose team was coming off a 50-31 victory at district-rival Spencer County the night before.
The Rockets, who hosted Spencer County on Tuesday night in a 30th District game, play at consensus No. 1 Anderson County (5-1) at 7:30 tonight in another key 30th District game.
Collins (1-3, 1-1) hosts Bullitt East at 7:30 p.m. Thursday before beginning play in the Waggener Holiday Classic on Friday.