Bloch helps to build A-O's offense
BETHANY — Kandie Bloch is in her third year averaging a double-double for Argenta-Oreana's girls' basketball team.
She recently scored her 1,000th point, reaching that milestone in her 64th game. Now a junior, Bloch's role has increased this season.
"We lost our two primary ball handlers from last year," coach Ryan Sosamon said.
So, the 6-foot-2 Bloch now is getting time as a point guard.
"Most kids her height can't do that," Sosamon said. "She works hard and is trying to help make her teammates better."
When mistakes are made by the player learning a new position, Sosamon said it's usually not the coaches who are angry.
"The staff isn't as hard on her as she is on herself," Sosamon said.
Bloch, the area scoring leader, hit a team-high 17 points Thursday in the Bombers' 53-38 loss to Mount Pulaski in first-round action of the Okaw Valley Holiday Tournament.
Hannah Millington added 14 points for A-O.
Bloch, who nailed three three-pointers, also was assigned to the point guard defensively.
"Her improvement has allowed us to put her in those situations," Sosamon said. "She is a person who can handle that pressure."
The downside is that without a tall presence inside, A-O was outrebounded 36-25.
"We're a work in progress," Sosamon said. "We need one more kid to step up and score, and we could be a lot more dangerous."
Bloch scored seven first-quarter points as A-O took a 15-14 lead after eight minutes. The Bombers managed 15 more points during the middle two quarters. Joelle Gentzyel led A-O (6-7) with 11 rebounds.
Mount Pulaski (11-4) has beaten A-O twice in four days this week. "It's a guard's game, and they have great guards," Sosamon said.
Sullivan 57, Altamont 48. The Redskins (7-5) fell behind third-seeded Altamont 5-0 in the first half-minute and didn't catch up until the second half, when they used their defense to keep the lead.
Altamont (8-6) went without a basket in the fourth quarter as the Redskins posted their sixth consecutive victory.
"Our press wasn't working, and we had to rely on our man-to-man defense," Sullivan coach Sheri Adams McCain said. "This is the first time, down the stretch, we kept building and didn't let them take the lead.
"They are starting to believe. This was the next step, actually beating a good team by eight or nine points instead of in overtime."
Paige Neuhauser led Sullivan with 12 points. Jessica Elder had 10 points. Brittin Boyer had a game-high nine rebounds.
Blue Ridge 55, Shelbyville 48. Melinda Wilson's defense jump-started Blue Ridge in the first half, and Jacquelyn O'Neal's fourth-quarter perimeter shooting kept the Knights ahead.
Wilson converted three steals into layups in the first nine minutes, and O'Neal made 4 of 4 shots in one final-period stretch. Her three-pointer with 1:27 left in the opening quarter gave Blue Ridge (7-7) the lead for good, 11-10.
"She can shoot anything she wants to shoot," Blue Ridge coach Stephanie Schroeder said. "We kept our composure, especially with the circumstances not going our way."
At one point Shelbyville held a 17-0 edge in free throws attempted before Korrie Gilbert knocked down four in a row for the Knights.
Wilson had 16 points, O'Neal 15 and Jamison Brandt 12 for Blue Ridge. O'Neal led with nine rebounds.
Arthur-Lovington 63, Brownstown 45. Ashley Tabb scored a game-high 21 points and Sherelle Coller had 13 as Arthur-Lovington advanced into a quarterfinal game today. The Lancers (7-4) never trailed.
Coach Jenni Marner used her depth to keep players fresh.
"We have a good nucleus, a lot of girls who do a lot of different things well," Marner said. "There are a lot of girls I'm comfortable with."
Karly Goodman scored 12 points for A-L. Tabb had a team-high eight rebounds.
One strength is in ball handlers.
"We have a number of girls who are strong with it," Marner said.
Clinton 58, South Piatt 28. Freshman Megan Tool came off the bench to hit three first-half three-pointers and spark the Maroons, who trailed 9-7 with two minutes left in the opening quarter.
"Other kids were struggling, and she came in and hit shots," Clinton coach Josh Williams said. "You have to do that against a zone. She was a very pleasant surprise."
Tool finished with 13 points, three behind team leader Morgan Hickman. Hickman also grabbed a game-high nine rebounds.
"Defensively, we guarded so much better in the second half," Williams said.
South Piatt was held to nine points after the half. Alex Miller led South Piatt with 12 points.
Heyworth 42, Cerro Gordo 40, OT. The Broncos played what coach Eric Helms called "our best first half" and built a 16-point lead, but second-half shooting and foul woes led to their demise.
Arionna Gant led Cerro Gordo with 16 points and 10 rebounds. The Broncos, who led 26-10 at intermission, were without two injured starters. Stephanie Shook, in her first varsity start, hit two three-pointers and scored eight points.
Decatur Lutheran 47, DeLand-Weldon 11. Top-seeded Decatur Lutheran (10-2) scored the first 23 points and overpowered the Eagles. Savannah Ramage led D-W (1-7) with seven points. Teammate Mikayla Jones had a game-high eight rebounds.