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Corydon slays Jeff for third HHC win

Corydon slays Jeff for third HHC win
Corydon slays Jeff for third HHC win
Colleen Merk of Corydon Central, who stands 5-7, was forced to consider other options after she drove to the basket and slammed into Jeffersonville's 6-5 sophomore, Samantha Johnson (44), during Saturday night's varsity contest. (Photo by Alan Stewart)

Despite competing in the Mid-Southern Conference, Corydon Central might be able to lay claim to the Hoosier Hills Conference title when all is said and done.
The Lady Panthers, ranked 12th in the latest 3A coaches poll, scored their third straight victory over an HHC opponent Saturday night when they way-laid visiting Jeffersonville, 64-49, to keep possession of the traveling “Barn Burner” trophy.
Corydon beat Hoosier Hills foes New Albany on Nov. 23 and Seymour on Nov. 30 (a Dec. 5 game against Scottsburg was snowed out and hasn’t been rescheduled).
Corydon’s leading scorer, sophomore forward Dana Beaven, had two fouls in the first 46 seconds of the game and was scoreless in the first half, but she came back with 16 in the second. Freshman Mindy Savely stepped up to the challenge of her first varsity start and scored 16 points, going 6-9 at the stripe, and creating havoc on defense. Senior Colleen Merk had 11 and Sarah Esarey nine in the win. Freshman forward Stannye Wolfe and junior Cory Williams both came off the bench and provided valuable minutes while Beaven sat with foul trouble.
“I told them after the game, even the JV girls, this win had a lot to do with what we do in practice and how each side makes the other one better. Our bench carried us for a while, and then we stepped up when we had to. We got solid play out of everybody. It wasn’t always pretty, but they got the job done when they needed to get it done,” Corydon coach Michael Uhl said.
The matchup wasn’t pretty by any stretch of the imagination: each team committed 29 turnovers. With all other stats nearly equal, Corydon made up its mistakes (sort of) by shooting 23 of 35 (65 percent) at the charity stripe.
“I’m not too happy with that,” said Uhl of his team’s free throw numbers. “It should have been a lot better. We’re a better free throw shooting team than that. Of course, Jeff didn’t shoot too well, either.”
Jeff went to the line 23 times and converted only 11.
Corydon Central (5-0, 1-0 M.S.C.) returns to the hardwood tonight (Wednesday) at home to defend the “Barn Burner” against Austin, and then entertains Silver Creek Saturday afternoon at 1 o’clock. Both are M.S.C. matchups.
Jeff (3-2) only led twice, early in the first quarter, at 2-0 and 6-4. Following an inbounds-basket by Lauren Stewart, Cory Williams hit a jumper, Esarey hit a three, and Savely had a steal and lay-in. Jasmine Baines dropped home a free one for Jeff, and Savely rounded out the scoring in the first with a drive inside, making it 13-7.
Even with Beaven on the bench, Corydon was able to hold the lead and build it to nine midway through the second period, thanks to solid play underneath by Wolfe and Williams. A three by Jackie Rogers with 31 ticks left in the half kept the Lady Devils in the game at the break, 33-27.
Beaven scored six in the third, when the visitors were able to knock just two points off Corydon’s lead despite the Lady Panthers getting into serious foul trouble.
Merk picked up her third and fourth fouls, Ashley Withers got her second, Esarey picked up her fourth, and Beaven was nailed with her third.
The Lady Red Devils got within four, 46-42, with 5:52 left on a free throw by Amy Austin. Uhl brought Beaven and Merk back into the game at that point and the duo made an immediate impact.
Beaven had a free throw and a field goal, followed by another basket, when she was fouled. She missed the free attempt, but Merk got the rebound, fed Beaven, who scored despite being fouled. The sophomore made her free throw this time for a personal 8-0 run.
Kim Gruninger found Stewart underneath to stop the streak, but Corydon bounced back with a 10-5 run the rest of the way.
Despite a few turnovers, Uhl said Savely shined.
“Every time she made a mistake, I walked by (assistant coach Laura Shireman) and said, ‘She’s a freshman and I have to live with it.’ That’s one thing I’m not big on is living with little mistakes like that. Shireman told me a couple of weeks ago in practice that Savely is a freshman and she’s going to make mistakes, but she’s also going to make good things happen,” Uhl said.
“I had to just had to keep reminding myself of that. The bad things she’s doing are just little things like catching the ball with two hands and squaring up first. It’s nothing major. She played a super game, and I really can’t gripe. I can’t gripe with the way any of them played.”
Corydon was 19 of 42 from the field while Jeff hit 18-42. The Lady Panthers outrebounded the visitors, 35-28.
Samantha Johnson, a 6-5 sophomore, led Jeffersonville with 13 points and Stewart had 12. Austin finished with 10.