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Slow start masks Braves' improvement

Jan. 16—If Jason Setliff is going to get his first victory coaching the Terre Haute South girls high school basketball team before the end of this season, it's probably going to take an upset.

But that doesn't mean the Braves won't keep improving.

Visiting Charleston, Ill., a team South had beaten the two previous seasons, had looked like his best chance, he admitted after Tuesday's 52-39 loss to the rebuilding Trojans.

South has two traditionally strong teams in the regular season and a brutal sectional coming up. But the visitors scored 12 straight points in the first period to go up 14-3 and never trailed again.

"We started off slow," said Setliff, who took over after the midseason resignation of Cole Berry, after the game. "We can't let teams jump out on us."

That kind of start isn't new to the Braves. But the response was refreshing.

Carley Werremeyer nailed a 3-pointer before the quarter ended. Charleston got the first basket of the second quarter, but that proved to be the Trojans' only field goal of that period. And with Karizma English-Malone hitting a pair of 3-pointers and scoring eight points, South got within 20-16 before a Trojan free throw ended the first half.

"Once we got settled down, we played pretty well," Setliff said after the game. "We were feisty and we battled ... but we've got to play 32 good minutes, and one of these days we will. We continue to get better."

The visitors had struggled to a 1-for-12 shooting performance in that quarter, but they heated up after intermission and shot 54% from the field in the second half.

The Trojans hit five of their first seven shots, including a 3-pointer, to build their lead to 33-19. After a 3-pointer by Werremeyer, they hit two of their next three to go up 38-22.

But Haley Morris got two baskets in a row, English-Malone got a basket and then a 3-pointer, and it was a seven-point game at 38-31. A Charleston three-point play was answered by another triple by English-Malone and it was 41-34. Then the visitors finally put the game away with an 11-0 run.

Ally Logsdon led Charleston with 15 points and seven rebounds. Freshman Mickaylee Patton had 14 points despite foul trouble and Sadie Phillips, another freshman, and Brie Tomlinson scored 10 each.

English-Malone led all scorers with 16 points for South while Morris had nine points, LaNiceon Holman eight points and six rebounds and Werremeyer six points and six rebounds. The key Brave, however, was Te'Rah Cooley, who nearly had a triple-double without scoring. She finished with game-high totals of nine rebounds, seven steals and six assists (on her team's 14 baskets).

"She's an excellent defensive player," Setliff said of the 5-foot-6 Cooley, who may be averaging in double figures in rebounds. "She jump-starts everything for us and allows us to do things defensively."

CHARLESTON (52) — Al.Logsdon 6-10 3-5 15, Ritchey 1-4 0-2 3, Phillips 3-9 4-6 10, Tomlinson 3-13 1-2 10, Patton 7-10 0-0 14, Hinds 0-1 0-0 0, Graziano 0-2 0-0 0, An.Logsdon 0-1 0-0 0, Harris 0-0 0-0 0 Flynn 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 20-49 FG, 8-15 FT, 52 TP.

TERRE HAUTE SOUTH (39) — Cooley 0-3 0-2 0, Morris 4-9 0-0 9, Werremeyer 2-7 0-0 6, English-Malone 5-15 2-2 16, Holman 3-11 1-4 8, Boyd 0-0 0-0 0, Lewis 0-1 0-0 0, Cox 0-3 0-0 0, Kemp 0-0 0-2 0, Mundell 0-0 0-0 0, Bodine 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 14-48 FG, 3-12 FT, 39 TP.

Charleston 14 7 17 14 — 52

TH South 6 10 12 11 — 39

3-point shooting — Charleston 4-18 (Tomlinson 3-10, Ritchey 1-1, Al.Logsdon 0-1, Hinds 0-1, Graziano 0-1, Phillips 0-4), THS 8-29 (English-Malone 4-10, Werremeyer 2-6, Morris 1-4, Holman 1-5, Cooley 0-1, Cox 0-3). Total fouls — Charleston 13, THS 18. Fouled out — Cooley. Turnovers — Charleston 19, THS 22. Rebounds — Charleston 37 (Phillips 8), THS 42 (Cooley 9, Werremeyer 6, Holman 6, Morris 4, English-Malone 4, Lewis, Cox, Kemp, Team 10). Assists — Charleston 10 (Al.Logsdon 5), THS 9 (Cooley 6, English-Malone 2, Cox). Steals — Charleston 12 (Al.Logsdon 4), THS 13 (Cooley 7, Morris 2, Holman 2, Werremeyer, English-Malone). Blocks — Charleston 3 (Al.Logsdon 2), THS 3 (Holman, Lewis, Cox).

Next — Terre Haute South (2-20) plays Thursday at Bloomington South. Charleston (5-13) is at Taylorville on Monday.