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Merk leads Corydon past South’s girls

Last season’s epic battle between the girls basketball squads from South Central and Corydon Central came down to a last-second bucket by then-sophomore Colleen Merk, who went coast-to-coast in the waning seconds to upend the Lady Rebels, 67-66. Exactly 364 days later (last night in Elizabeth), Merk was back to her old self, leading the way for the Lady Panthers to topple its school corporation rival, 73-55.
Merk, a junior guard, scored 17 points with a slew of steals as Corydon Central picked up win No. 6 on the season. Classmate Sarah Esarey had 14 points with a three and freshman center Dana Beaven tossed in 16 points. Senior Liz Marshall chipped in nine and Valerie Feller connected on two threes for her six points.
It was Corydon Central’s highest offensive output of the season and the most points scored since defeating Evansville Memorial, 83-52, in the opening game of the 2000 Class 3A Jasper Semistate.
The first quarter saw South’s hot-shooting guard, junior Rachel Dixon, get off to a roaring start as she went 4-4 from the field, which included three three-pointers. Teammate Rikki Abbott also bombed a three, but Corydon’s inside game kept the team close. Feller zipped a three as time expired to tie it at 17-all.
Dixon, who finished the night with 27 points and six three-pointers (she was 6 of 9 from beyond the arc and 9 of 14 overall), tripled again to start the second stanza, but the Lady Panthers (6-3) roared back with a 19-0 run to take a lead it wouldn’t relinquish the rest of the game. Allison Hubert’s two free throws with 34 seconds remaining in the half were the lone points the Lady Rebels scored in the period as Hipple tossed in her only deuce of the night at the buzzer. The bucket gave the visitors a 38-22 advantage at the break.
One big reason for Corydon’s huge run came in the turnover department. In the first quarter the Lady Rebels forced four Corydon miscues while just giving up the ball twice. In the second, South’s inability to make crisp passes into the paint led to 10 turnovers.
“The points we gave up in the first quarter weren’t because of a defensive breakdown, but because we did some silly things offensively,” Lady Panthers coach Michael Uhl said. “In the second quarter we executed well on the offensive end and didn’t allow the run-outs because of that. We played a little better defensively and we just wanted to make sure Dixon wasn’t in transition and all over the floor. She still got loose though. Golly, she’s a heck of a player.”
In the third quarter South Central (8-4) got its game going in the paint as senior Cortnai Boone tossed in a couple of field goals. The hosts were able to get within 10 a couple of times in the half, however good free throw shooting by the Lady Panthers kept the hosts at bay.
Corydon was 26 of 51 from the floor, including 8-9 in the first quarter, hit three of 12 shots from beyond the arc and sank 18 of 32 free throw attempts. The Lady Panthers out-rebounded South Central 37-31 for the game and committed just 10 miscues on the night. The Lady Rebels were 17 of 43 from the floor, hit nine of 15 three-point tries and went 12 of 18 from the charity stripe. As a team the hosts hit more threes (9) than deuces (8).
“We didn’t play our best ball tonight and Corydon really got things going,” South coach Randall Schoen said. “The turnovers hurt us, the physicality of the game hurt us and Merk hurt us. She told me her grandfather was at the game to watch her play and how anxious she was to do well. I’m glad he got to see her play well, but I wish she would have picked a different game for him to go to.”
Corydon has an 11-day layoff. South Central’s girls basketball team will play in the “rotating” Holiday Tournament at Henryville on Thursday night against the host team.
Borden will battle Eastern at 6 p.m., which will be followed by the South-Henryville contest.
The losers of the two games will square off on Saturday morning at 10 a.m. and the championship will be held at approximately 11:45.
The cost for admission is $4.

Game notes: With the win, Corydon improved its all-time record over South Central to 36-2 … The Lady Rebels last defeated Corydon, 47-44, in the 1982-83 season … South Central graduate Chad Schoen picked up an easy $50 during the half-time Shoot The Hoop. He by-passed the $10 prize (free throw) and $25 award (three-pointer) by stepping to half-court and burying a 42-footer. Perhaps he should have been awarded double-dollars as he accomplished the rare feat by shooting backwards! The amazing shot brought fans from both schools to their feet.

n Rachel Dixon topped the 1,000-point plateau for her career in Saturday night’s Southern Athletic Conference victory over Henryville.
Dixon, who flamed the nets for 27 points and a single-game school record 13 assists, ended with 1,002 and sits second behind the program’s all-time leading scorer, Becky Bruner. Bruner scored 1,180 points from 1997 to 2000.
The Lady Rebels trailed 18-16 at the first stop, however they outscored the visitors 45-18 in the second and third quarters to coast to the win.
Sophomore guard Rikki Abbott had one three-pointer and a season-high 19 points, Rachel Brown had 10, Cortnai Boone scored eight, Melissa Biesel had five, Shannon Bruner tossed in four and Ashley Koons and Samantha Troutman both scored two apiece.
Alicia Hatter’s 22 points and Shallon Hill’s 25 led Henryville.

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