When it rains, it pours and although spring hasn’t officially arrived, there was a downpour in the gymnasium at Southwestern on Monday night, March 1, as the Lady Birds rained down 12 three-pointers against Litchfield in a lopsided 54-13 South Central Conference win, their sixth of the season and their eighth victory overall.
In his final year as head coach at Southwestern, Coach Steve Wooley returned all five starters from last year’s 20-11 varsity squad including seniors Korrie Hopkins, Rylee Smith, Josie Bouillon and Annie Gallaher.
After dropping their season opener at home to Jerseyville on Feb. 6, the Birds rebounded with five consecutive wins over Brussels, Calhoun, Gillespie, Pana and now, Litchfield.
During his reign as head girls’ basketball coach, Wooley has guided the program to 13 South Central Conference titles, 13 regional titles and two sectional titles. In addition, the Lady Birds have amassed 11 championship trophies from the Macoupin County Tournament.
They have recorded 20 or more victories in a season 17 times. Wooley entered the season with an overall career record of 518 wins and 160 losses in 23 years. Before assuming the head coaching position for girls basketball, he served seven years as assistant boys basketball coach at Southwestern and during his stint as head coach (1994-97), his teams won 57 games and lost 24.
Against Litchfield, Riley Smith led the green and gold charge from downtown with four treys, all converted in the first half as the hosts raced to a 34-10 lead. For all intents and purposes the game was over as Litchfield failed to score in the third period and mustered just three points in the fourth under the continuous clock.
Smith finished the game with 16 points and was supported by junior Morgan Durham with 11, including three from behind the arc.
For Litchfield, Cara Pence dropped in six points from the floor, had five rebounds, an assist and two steals. Laura Boston was credited with a bucket and four rebounds.
Carly Guinn and Becky Painter each converted a free throw and Painter had two assists. Lily Braasch had two caroms, two assists and a steal. Hailey Rentz was also credited with a steal.
Senior Sarah Yakana scored her first two points of the season and Emma Diveley had a defensive rebound as Coach Rob Corso gave his bench players a chance to improve their skills at the varsity level.
Southwestern was 8-for-22 from the floor and 12-of-22 from three-point land. Litchfield was 5-of-16 and 0-for-7. The Lady Birds picked the boards for 27 rebounds, with Litchfield pulling down 16.
March 1 at Piasa
Southwestern 16 18 9 11 --- 54
Litchfield 8 2 0 3 --- 13
Southwestern (54) - Rylee Smith 16, Morgan Durham 11, Annie Gallaher 8, Josie Bouillon 7, Haley Rodgers 6, Hannah Nixon. Totals: 20-44 (2-6) 54.
Litchfield (13) - Cara Pence 6, Laura Boston 3, Sarah Yakana 2, Carly Guinn 1, Becky Painter 1. Totals: 5-23 (3-6) 13.
Three-point field goals: Southwestern 12 (R. Smith 4, M. Durham 3, Haley Rodgers 2, Hannah Nixon 2, J. Bouillon 1; Litchfield 0-5.
Records: Southwestern (8-1, 6-0); Litchfield (0-6, 0-5).