Southport clips CC for Panthers’ first loss
In 2000, then-senior Lynne Johnson gave an all-star performance for Corydon Central with 36 points in a four-point victory over Southport in the Jennings County Holiday Tournament. She went on to become an Indiana All-Star following a semi-state run by the Lady Panthers.
Saturday night against Southport in the championship game of the Corydon Central Holiday Tournament, Lady Panther sophomore Dana Beaven brought back memories of ol’ No. 35 by pumping in 35.
She fouled out, however, with almost four minutes left in the game.
The end result wasn’t the same as Johnson’s great game, either: the Lady Cardinals handed No. 11-ranked (Class 3A) Corydon its first loss of the season, 58-56, winning the tournament and claiming the traveling “Barn Burner” trophy.
Jennings County (5-8) defeated East Central (4-7) in the consolation game, 38-22.
The Lady Panthers (10-1) led 9-2 before Southport (6-3) coach Denise Gritton McClanahan called a timeout to right her team.
After the pause, the Lady Cardinals went on a 21-4 run, powered by 17 first half points by talented senior swinger Elizabeth Stevens. Southport held Corydon without a field goal for the final 3:46 of the second period to hold a 37-24 lead at the intermission.
“I said some things that you probably can’t print, but I also told them that we can’t let Corydon penetrate to the basket,” McClanahan said. “No matter what happened, even if we fouled, we had to stop their penetration.”
Beaven scored five of Corydon’s six field goals for 14 points in the third frame, when her team pulled within five, 45-40, thanks to stellar defense.
With baskets from Beaven, Merk and Savely and free throws from Sarah Esarey, the Lady Panthers clawed their way to within one, 53-52, with only 1:57 left.
Southport, which sports the fourth-toughest schedule in the state, held tough, however, and never relinquished the lead it had taken late in the first period.
So where does Corydon rank with Southport’s coach?
“Offensively, they aren’t quite as diverse as (Class 3A No. 1-ranked) Beech Grove, but, defensively, they are much, much better,” McClanahan said. “I think (the Lady Panthers) are probably in the upper half of the teams we’ve played, which, if you are in there, you have to be Top 10 in the state. They just don’t die.
“I reward toughness, and Corydon just does not know how to quit. Every year I’ve seen them, (Coach Michael Uhl) has a tough bunch of kids that don’t die, no matter how much they are down,” McClanahan said.
Stevens finished with 21 points and 12 rebounds to lead the winners, with Carly Westfall chipping in 13 and Amanda Teagardin adding seven.
During Corydon’s big run, Southport was held to just four of 12 shooting from the floor in the second half.
“If we play anywhere close to that in the first half, we win the ball game,” Corydon coach Michael Uhl said. “Our first half was such a lack of intensity and desire. I don’t know why. We were making so many unforced turnovers with no defensive pressure whatsoever.
“When you make a mistake versus a good team, you are going to have a turnover, and we certainly had our share tonight.”
Beaven and Stevens picked up their fourth fouls a minute apart and came back into the game at the exact same time. Beaven scored her fifth foul at the top of a full-court press while Stevens was crafty enough to remain in the game.
Southport shot just 40 percent from the floor (17-42), but made up for the poor effort with a sparkling 22 of 31 (71 percent) at the charity stripe. Corydon wound up with 25 turnovers while Southport was forced into 26. The Lady Cardinals won the battle of the glass, 32-23.
The Lady Panthers were 22 of 49 from the floor, including Beaven’s mark of 13 of 23 in just 27 minutes of action, and they hit no three-pointers in seven attempts.
Rounding out Corydon’s scoring line were Merk with eight, Esarey six, Cory Williams four before fouling out, Savely scored two before fouling out, and Julie Hoehn notched a lone free throw.
Corydon 58, East Central 40
Corydon Central beat East Central in nearly every statistical category in the opening game of the Holiday Tournament and went on to win the game, 58-40.
Propelled by Beaven’s 21 points and 13 from Merk, the Lady Panthers were 25 of 59 from the floor, hit six of the seven freebies, outrebounded the Lady Trojans by five (31-26), and committed 16 turnovers while forcing 24.
Esarey’s back-to-back buckets to close out the first quarter gave Corydon a 13-8 advantage. Merk, Williams, Savely and Hoehn all scored in the first four minutes of the second period to push the lead out to 21-10.
Hoehn bagged a three and Merk a deuce for a 28-16 score at the intermission.
East Central tried to rally on 9-16 shooting in the third; however, the squad converted on just two field goals in the final eight minutes as Corydon pulled out the win.
Esarey and Hoehn each had eight points; Savely finished with four, and Ashley Withers and Stannye Wolfe had two each.
For East Central, Tracey Wagner scored nine, Laura Oehlman had eight, and Caitlin Callahan knocked down two triples for seven points.
East was 17 of 37 from the floor and dropped in four of nine free throws in the loss.