North Harrison gives CC arc-attack
History had not been kind for North Harrison’s boys basketball team when it came to playing in Corydon Central’s gymnasium.
Since the first Big Cat Clash on the new floor in the 1988-89 season, the Cougars had won just once. That is, once before Friday night.
While it didn’t quite match the roar of the 1996-97 barn-burner that ended on a buzzer-beater by North’s Travis Byrum, the tussle still had plenty of pizzazz.
The Cougars knocked off county rival Corydon Central Friday night using the same ingredient for success that resulted in a victory over South Central on Nov. 26 (three-point shooting). And it’s a good thing: the Panthers rallied from a 14-point first-half deficit to lead early in the fourth quarter. That’s when the long-range arsenal came in handy as North pulled away to a 76-67 win.
The Cougars (2-0, 1-0 Mid-Southern Conference) bombed 10 of 18 (55 percent) beyond the arc, bettering their number versus South (11-23 for 47 percent). Junior Ross Schulz proved his six-trey outing against the Rebels was no fluke by cashing in on four bombs and 14 points. Senior star Chad Miller notched 21 points and answered every one of Corydon’s big buckets. Junior guard Blake Snodgrass had 18 points, three threes and 14 assists, and Daniel Love had two first-quarter threes en route to a 9-point night.
“Chad had some big shots for us and really did a nice job on both ends of the court for us. Blake only had one field goal in the second half, but he did a really good job of distributing the basketball around to his teammates,” said North varsity assistant Kelly Cooper, “and Ross got us two threes, which, I thought, basically won us the ball game. A lot more went into the win than those shots, but at the time, they were doing a really good job on Blake and on Chad, and Ross got loose for those two big threes and we held on for the win.
“Someone told me this was only the second win ever in this gym and I’m only in my second year, so it’s kind of neat in that respect.”
North Harrison will go for its second conference win this Friday night when Silver Creek invades Ramsey. The Dragons clipped North last year in overtime in a game that the Cougars probably should have won.
“Last year’s game is history. I never focus on what has happened in the past,” North coach Rick Snodgrass said. “Our focus is only on what we are going to do this week against a very talented Silver Creek team. It should be an exciting night of high school basketball.”
Corydon (1-2, 0-2 M.S.C.) travels to No. 8-ranked (4A) New Albany on Saturday.
The Cougars got off to a roaring start, leading 23-9 with 1:16 left in the first quarter on four triples and one old-fashioned one. Kyle Savely nailed a trey for Corydon before Krieg Reed hit his only field goal of the night for a 25-12 advantage at the first stop.
North tickled the nets for 10-13 shooting in the quarter.
“We got off to a hot start shooting the basketball. That was important to us because we hadn’t been able to practice the past two days,” Cooper said.
The Panthers slowly whittled their way back into the game in the second quarter by outscoring North by four. James Yeager hit a three early on and Savely, Jeff Conrad and Quentin Combs all swooshed field goals to cut the deficit to 44-35 at the half.
Corydon’s biggest push came at the start of the third period: Conrad had a deuce, Savely turned a pair of steals into layups, and Combs tacked on a bucket to set the score at 44-43.
Miller came through with one of several big answers, converting a three-point play. The two clubs traded baskets before Nevin Dunaway’s jumper with 2:25 gave Corydon a brief 50-49 lead. As he did earlier, Miller answered at the other end for two free throws, followed by two more from Cody Mitchell for a 53-50 advantage to start the fourth quarter.
Following a Savely bucket, younger brother Kurt hit a three for another Corydon lead, 55-53. Again, Miller followed with a quick score at the other end. North never trailed the rest of the way.
Schulz hit two straight threes, but Corydon clawed back within one with 3:37 left. Mitchell came back with a goal inside, and Miller hit a three to squelch the host’s comeback.
” Defensively, we struggled at times. We talked about peaks and valleys, and Corydon made a run at us there and got a lead, but our kids kept their composure,” Cooper said. “It was a big win for us.”
Kyle Savely led the Panthers with 20 points, two threes with seven steals. Combs finished with 17 points and several steals, and Conrad came through for 12 points inside. Dunaway tacked on seven.
Corydon coach Randy Gianfagna was virtually speechless after the game.
“I have no clue what it was. We lost track of the shooters, and they were hitting everything they threw up there. I’ll have to go back and look at the tape to see how we lost them,” he said.
“In the first half, we had to fight back hard to get back into it, and maybe that took too much out of us. I told my guys I was disappointed that we didn’t do three things: We didn’t get rebounds, we didn’t take advantage of the turnovers, and we didn’t shoot the ball overly well. We wanted to get to the shooters and just didn’t do it. We’re playing hard. We’re just not thinking. If in the Brownstown game and this game we think a little bit, we win.”
North wound up shooting 23-42 for the game and hit 20 of 30 frees. The Cougars outrebounded the hosts, 30-26, but had double the turnovers (18-9). The Panthers were 26-57, including 5-14 on threes, and went 10-13 on free throws.