For the Randolph Southern girls basketball team, there is a possibility of a third rematch on Saturday. And so far, the Rebels are 2-for-2 in avenging losses this season.
Randolph Southern (19-3) will play Lafayette Central Catholic (15-9) at the Class A Tri-Central Regional at 10 a.m. on Saturday. If Randolph Southern wins, it could potentially play Southern Wells (16-6) in the regional championship game at 8 p.m. Saturday (Southern Wells plays North Vermillion in its first regional game.)
The Rebels trace all of their losses this season to a three-game skid in late December and early January, sandwiched between a 10-game winning streak to start the season and their current nine-game winning streak. The three losses came by a combined four points, with one-point defeats to Tri and Southern Wells and a two-point loss to Winchester.
Randolph Southern has won rematches with two of the teams that dealt it losses, defeating Winchester on Jan. 17 in a regular-season matchup and beating Tri last Saturday in the sectional championship. Southern Wells, which defeated Randolph Southern on Dec. 29, is the only team it hasn’t had another chance to play, though that could change Saturday night.
“We had a little pep session (after Saturday’s game,)” coach Jerimy Stephan said. “And I talked about that. I said, ‘We’ve avenged two losses, with a chance to avenge the third one next Saturday.’ And I hope we get that chance, because that would almost write the ending to our season.”
Stephan’s squad is making its second consecutive regional appearance and ninth in school history. The Rebels have never won a regional championship. Stephan said the experience of going to regionals last year has made his team more confident for this season.
“Last year we were going up there just being happy and content with where we were at,” he said. “This year, we’re going in with a lot of confidence. We know the opponent (Lafayette Central Catholic.) We’re getting ready to watch film on them. They’re beatable.”
Most of last year’s team returned, so much of the lineup will enter Saturday with regional experience.
While not a newcomer, sophomore Morgan Acton has seen one of the biggest increases in her role this season. After playing some JV and some varsity in her freshman season, Acton has become the Rebels’ primary post player. She is one of three players, along with Hannah Franklin and Maddi Kramer, who are averaging double-digit points..
Acton took over for Tory Shrum, who now plays at Purdue Calumet.
Franklin said the Rebels changed their attack after Shrum graduated, focusing more on an up-tempo style instead of getting to the ball to the post in a slower, half-court set. It’s a style she sees as suiting Acton well.
“She can definitely score in the half-court set,” Franklin said. “But she can also run with us and get up the court. Not like a guard can, but she almost plays more like a forward where she can get up the court with us but she can also sit down there and post up on girls and score that way too.”