UNION MILLS — South Central coach Wes Bucher paced back and forth on the sidelines during the first quarter of the game, directing his team's defense.
"I'm gonna need a water," he said to assistant coach George Gale. "I'll be yelling all game."
The hydration was necessary, considering how vocal Bucher was while verbally assisting his girls defensively all night. The Satellites hosted an undefeated Knox team Tuesday night, and right away, it was clear how imperative sound defense was to Bucher's game plan in hopes of an upset.
For all four quarters of South Central's 45-28 loss to the Redskins, that game plan did what it was intended to do, limiting Knox to 14-of-29 shooting (48.3 percent) from the field. However, their 10-for-36 (27.8 percent) clip from the field paled in comparison.
A second and third quarter run that saw just one Satellite field goal — a Delanie Gale 3-pointer from the top of the key with just under 30 seconds left in the third quarter — resulted in an 21-5 Redskin run, turning South Central's two-point first quarter lead into a 14-point deficit heading into the game's final quarter.
"We get to points where we lose confidence in what we're doing," Bucher said. "We came out the second half and said we need to start shooting more, and then we do the opposite. At the end of the day, if we're not willing to step up and bury a shot, that's what's going to happen.
"Knox ran that 3-2 zone," Bucher added. "We practiced all week for it and knew it was coming. We started off well against it, but it wears you down. The angles that we saw in the beginning, they started taking them away and we weren't willing to make the adjustment."
One factor that led to this anemic offensive output for the contest's middle-16 minutes was turnovers turning into easy transition points for Knox. The Redskins racked up an impressive 12 steals on the night, leading to easy lay-ins on the other end.
Knox also did a solid job of containing the Satellites' star forward, Amber Wolf. The senior struggled on her senior night, shooting 3-of-9 from the field and 2-of-3 from the free-throw line en route to nine points. She fought hard all game, however, hauling in seven tough-nosed rebounds.
"They're a big team," Bucher said. "They're long at every position, which made it difficult for us to score both down low and outside. It's hard to facilitate something against that."
Wolf, one of South Central's three seniors honored Tuesday night, was pulled off the court for her final regular season home game late in the fourth quarter, alongside fellow seniors Faith Biggs and Lexy Wade. As the three made it to the bench, their eyes started to swell and turn a shade of pink, becoming emotional in their final game in Union Mills.
The three were all apart of the 2019 sectional championship team and act as role models and leaders not only for the underclassmen, but the community.
"They're great mentors," Bucher said. "Next week, I'm having all of our junior high and elementary kids come in and have our seniors talk to them about what it's like to be committed to a sport. They're a great example for everybody in the community."
The seniors' high school basketball careers aren't quite over yet, as they travel to Westville for the Blackhawks' senior night at 6:30 p.m. Saturday night.