|Wed, Mar 12, 2014 03:35 PM
February 19, 2014 | 01:26 PM
Nicknamed "Big Al," Corydon Central guard Aly Chambers was "Big Shot Al" for much of Corydon Central's bid to upend No. 7 Madison in the Class 3A Charlestown Sectional last Wednesday.
There was one 3-pointer by Chambers, coming at the beginning of the fourth quarter, that erupted the Lady Panthers' faithful. The Chambers' swish from the top of the key brought Corydon Central within two points, 39-37, after trailing by five in the previous quarter.
Corydon Central's Aly Chambers fires a 3-pointer in the first half. The senior netted four triples for a team-best 20 points last Wednesday. Photo by Brian Smith (click for larger version)
It was the way of Madison's response to Chambers' triple that left those on the Corydon Central side wondering if the upset try would see a happy ending.
Holding the Lady Cubs out of the paint for nearly a full minute of their next possession, Madison's Alex Thurnall chucked up a shot from a few feet beyond the arc. The ball banked off the glass and rattled a few times around the rim before going down.
The shot started an 8-0 run by Madison, leading to a 56-42 victory over defending sectional champion Corydon Central.
"Aly hits the three on the other end thinking we were back in it," Corydon Central coach Michael Uhl said. "We had a 40-second defensive possession there, and a girl banks in a three. It was unlucky there, and it kind of snowballed."
Madison's standout player, Olivia Crozier, scored seven of her 16 points in the final quarter. Two buckets by the Southeast Missouri State commitment drew fouls that turned into 3-point plays.
After Chambers, who scored a game-high 20 points, made the 3-pointer to open the final quarter, the Lady Panthers went cold from the field. They were held without a point during the next nearly five minutes, finally breaking the skid with a Shelby Wilkerson field goal.
Corydon Central was held to eight points in the final frame, while Madison poured in 17.
"We got back on our heels a little bit," Uhl said. "We had to chase them a little bit and gamble, leading to easy buckets for them. They are a good team. They've been ranked all season and are ranked for a reason: they are solid."
Although the Lady Cubs pulled away in the final six minutes, it wasn't always comfortable for them.
Chambers hit 3-pointers to begin each quarter. Her increased scoring helped Corydon Central fill the void left by senior leading scorer Marie Rothrock, whose season was cut short with an ACL injury two weeks prior.
"Aly had a huge game obviously," Uhl said. "It's something she really has done lately since Marie went down. Cassidy (Saulman) gave us great minutes off the bench, and Chelsea John did, too."
Early in the contest, Corydon Central broke a 7-all tie with a 9-5 run. Taylor Frederick sank a pair of free throws, while Ashley Oliver and Wilkerson scored in the paint. From the outside, Saulman pumped in a trey from the left side of the floor.
The Lady Panthers grew the lead even more in the second quarter. It was Chambers again with a triple to kick things off. Scoring on put-back was Frederick to give the Lady Panthers a 23-18 lead. The margin grew to seven points when Oliver scored another bucket.
Defensively, the Lady Panthers did their best to keep the ball out of the middle against a Madison front line led by the 6-foot-2 Crosier.
To close the second quarter, Madison went on a run of five points that included field goals by Macky Hecox and Katie Hartman to trim Corydon Central's lead to 25-23 at the break.
"We did a pretty good job on their shooters," Uhl said. "They played pretty well in the first half defensively."
Once again, Chambers kicked off the second half with a 3-pointer, but Madison quickly took the points back with a Delanie Jones bomb.
Madison chipped away at Corydon Central's lead in the frame, eventually knotting the score at 30 with a pair of Jones freebies. The Lady Cubs would take the lead for good when Alex Thurnall scored five straight points, including a three.
Despite Chambers coming up with another three to start the final quarter, Madison was able to withstand a possible Corydon Central run.
"We ran out of steam," Uhl said. "Like a good team, they capitalized to get some run outs on us."
The teams were slated to meet in the regular season, but the Jan. 18 match-up was canceled due to inclement weather. Madison, returning to the sectional after playing several years against more Southeastern Indiana foes, had dropped two straight to the Lady Panthers.
Corydon Central ended its season with a 12-8 record, but had to deal with the loss of Rothrock late in the year. It was a blow to the team, despite its balanced nature.
"We talked in practice about not being afraid to lose," Uhl said. "Marie was never afraid to go make a play. We needed kids to step up and try to make plays. She was our person that would always step up and try to make plays when we needed. I think that is where we missed her more than anything else."
Uhl said the team was able to play three games and go through two weeks of practice without Rothrock, one of six 1,000-point scorers in the program.
"No excuses," Uhl said. "Madison is just a good team. They really played well."
Crozier led Madison with 16 points and 12 rebounds, while Whitney Wynn added 14 points.
Chambers was the lone Lady Panther in double figures. Oliver added six points, while the group of Wilkerson, John and Frederick logged four points each. Reagan Mosley was hampered with foul trouble much of the night and was limited to one point.
"They showed some fight," Uhl said of his group. "That's what you want out of your kids."
He also believed they had the game plan to win.
"I don't know if you could come up with a better game plan; I thought it was a pretty good one," Uhl said. "If I watch tape, hindsight may be a little different. They did what we asked them to do."
The Lady Panthers graduate a large number of seniors: Jordan Dagenhart, Chambers, John, Fredrick, Rothrock and Mosley.
Madison (16-2) went on to win the next two games, defeating Silver Creek (60-45) and Charlestown (72-46), to claim the sectional title. The Lady Cubs advance to face Southridge (16-5) at the Jasper Regional on Saturday.
Madison 12 11 16 17 – 56
Corydon Central 16 9 9 8 – 42
Madison (14-2) – Crozier 16, Wynn 14, Thurnall 10, Hecox 9, Jones 5, Hartman 2.
Corydon Central (12-8) – Chambers 20, Oliver 6, Wilkerson 4, John 4, Frederick 4, Saulman 3, Mosley 1.
3-point goals – Madison 4 (Thurnall 2, Wynn, Jones); Corydon Central 5 (Chambers 4, Saulman).