By Jason Haddix
For The Herald Bulletin
MIDDLETOWN, Ind. — The Shenandoah girls basketball team has been marred by a recent string of forgettable seasons, but this year’s squad has those supporting the blue and gold remembering the days of a decade ago.
Shenandoah defeated the visiting Madison-Grant Argylls 55-31 on Friday night. The 8-1 Raiders are off to their best start since the 2003-04 team started 9-0 when coach Chelsea Kilian (then Miller) was helping guide the Raiders to two state titles in three years as a player.
“This is probably the most dedicated group I have had in the last four years,” Kilian said. “The kids think (the championships) are something special and want to get to that point. I think that has pushed their work ethic and them wanting to be here to another level.”
The Argylls (1-8) were behind before the game started with Cierra Liddick, M-G’s leading scorer averaging just over nine points, sidelined recovering from dental surgery.
It was clear from the onset that Shenandoah wanted to work the ball to the post and exploit its size advantage. Once the Argylls adjusted and began to collapse to the lane, the Raiders began to employ their outside game.
“Defiinately we want to take advantage of our size,” Kilian said. “Sometimes we have a problem forcing it when they collapse on defense, and that is part of them learning what’s a good shot and when to take the shot.”
The inside game was handled by a pair of juniors, Haley Hudson at 6-foot and 5-11 Rachel Krathwohl. But it was the outside shooting of 5-6 freshman Macee Rudy that allowed the Raiders to cruise to the victory.
“It is big for use when somebody on the perimeter can stretch out the defense and open the post,” Kilian said. “That is definitely an addition that has helped us this year, where as years previous teams have been able to collapse on Rachel and Haley to cause problems for us offensively.”
Krathwohl and Hudson scored 10 of the Raiders’ 23 first-half points, while Rudy was recuperating from a mid-court collision that resulted in a nose bleed and a delay in the game for cleanup.
With her nose plugged with cotton, Rudy returned to action and erupted in the third quarter with 12 of her game-high 15 points. On three occasions, she stripped an Argyll ball handler and scored on with a layup.
“I was not going to let a nose bleed defeat my game, I wanted to help my team do good. ” Rudy said. “There is a defect in everyone, some are easier to read, and I just read theirs.”
Rudy finished shooting 6-of-11 from the field, including 2-of-5 from beyond the arc.
“It was a little more difficult (to put our foot on the pedal) today because of break,” Rudy said. “We have been sluggish in practice the last couple days. I think this is probably one of the toughest games to come out of the gates in.”
Krathwohl finished with 12 points, and Hudson added 10.
Shenandoah outscored M-G 30-8 in the paint.
“It is awesome,” Rudy said of having two tall post players. “When I played middle school the tallest girl on the team was 5-7. It is a thousand times better because you can rely on them more and don’t have to take over the game.”
Bethani Herniak led the Argylls with nine points, seven of which came in the second half. LaVon Haney added seven.
Shenandoah will host Union County on Thursday at 7:30 p.m., while Madison-Grant’s next contest, also a home game, is against Elwood on Monday at 2:30 p.m.