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Devils dodge bullet to remain perfect in Classic

Jeffersonville continued its monopoly on its own Holiday Classic title this weekend at William S. Johnson Arena. After throttling South Central, 84-48, the Red Devils were taken into overtime for the first time in the 13-year history of the event and squeaked out a 64-61 win over Corydon Central.
Jeff, now 28-0 in the Classic with the 3-0 effort this year, dropped Corydon’s mark in the 2003 version to 1-2. South Central placed second with a record of 2-1, and Southwestern (Hanover) went winless in the tourney for the second-straight year.
Jeff 64, Corydon 61 (OT)
It almost seems unfair to think that Corydon Central could take host Jeffersonville to overtime and still finish third in the Classic, but that’s what happened in the nightcap Saturday.
Riding the 30 points from senior all-state candidate guard Kyle Savely and James Yeager’s perfect 5-for-5 shooting on three-pointers, the Panthers rallied from eight points down with five minutes left to force the extra frame.
Falling behind, 60-58, on two free throws from Yeager, Jeff’s Chris Carter scored a basket and Sheldon Breckenridge added another to lead 62-61 after a Jonathon Robinson free throw.
With 1:08 left in overtime, Corydon sophomore Ryan Herndon drained a three-pointer from the right side to put his club on top.
But the cheering from the Panther faithful was short-lived as Eric Johnson buried his second triple of the night a few seconds later.
As time was ticking away, Savely drove in from the right side and tried to slice between Corey Harris and Willie Williams. He was bumped slightly and let loose an off-balance shot that rolled off the side of the rim. Jeffersonville’s Bryan Meyer rebounded and was fouled. He hit two free throws with 16 seconds left.
Corydon’s last gasp was a 3-point miss by Savely from the left corner with two seconds left.
‘A win is a win,’ Red Devils assistant Clark Miles said. ‘We knew coming into this game against Corydon that (Coach) Randy (Gianfagna) does an excellent job with his team. We knew it was going to be a battle. His players are well-schooled in the game and very sound, fundamentally.’
Jeffersonville (6-2), which shot 25 of 47 for the game and pounded Corydon on the boards, 37-12, was paced by Harris’ 16 points, 15 from Carter and 14 from Eric Johnson.
Corydon held a 13-12 lead in the first period on three treys by Yeager and two baskets by Savely.
The two wound up combining for all of Corydon’s points at the half, when the Panthers trailed, 28-25, on a three-ball by Breckenridge with three seconds remaining.
‘That three was huge,’ Corydon head coach Randy Gianfagna said. ‘That gave them a lot of momentum, plus they got the ball to start the second half.’
After trading shots in the early going of the third period, Harrison followed a traditional three by Johnson with an old-fashioned triple and two free throws for Jeff’s biggest lead, 39-28.
Savely and Herndon helped trim the deficit to six, but Carter had a put-back to keep Jeff ahead at the third stop, 43-35.
Corydon and Jeffersonville swapped baskets again, but Harris tossed in a basket and Johnson added two free throws to give the Diablos a 53-45 advantage.
That’s when Savely did what great players do: Rise to the challenge.
The 6-0 senior scored Corydon’s last 13 points of the fourth quarter.
Trailing by seven with 2:21 left, Savely hit five free throws, a rare four-point play and a pair of deuces, with two of the charity tosses tying the game at 58-58.
‘We knew what kind of a big-time player he is. We talked about trying to give more help defense at him. We didn’t want him to beat us. He is so quick and so savvy when he drives,’ Miles said. ‘We’re happy we won’t have to see Kyle again this season. I think he’s one of the better guards in this half of the state. And I wouldn’t be afraid to take him with me up North and go against some of those guys up there.’
With 29 seconds left in regulation, Jeff whittled the time down to 10 and ran a play but turned the ball over for the sixth time in the period with 1.9 seconds showing.
Corydon called a time-out to set up a play; however, Eric Haub received the inbounds pass and elected to hold the ball to force the overtime.
‘We drew up a play to get a shot off, but we also didn’t want to give them the ball under their own basket or do anything silly,’ Gianfagna said. ‘We were content to take it into OT and take our chances there. (Eric) probably did the right thing.’
Corydon shot 10-20 from the field in the second half to finish at 19 of 41 for the game. The Panthers were red hot from both lines, hitting 11 of 21 attempts beyond the arc and 15 of 20 from the foul stripe. Corydon finished with 13 turnovers after marking no miscues in the fourth quarter.
Jeffersonville was 25 of 47 from the floor and fumbled the ball 22 times.
S.C. 68, Southwestern 42
South Central dominated the inside scoring and cruised past Southwestern to finish 2-1 for second place in the Holiday Classic.
In all, 10 players scored for South, paced by Deavon Wiseman’s 10 points and 10 more off the bench from Derek Kaiser. Ben Hanus chipped in nine, Brent Wilkerson scored eight, Brad Mercer and Brad Brown each popped in seven, and the McRae brothers ‘ Josh and Chad ‘ picked up six points apiece.
‘I don’t know if we’ll ever have one guy that we’ll look to give the basketball to at crunch time, because we’re so balanced,’ SC coach Greg Robinson said.
South outscored its opponent in the paint, 32-10.
‘We’re not as big as we were last year, but nobody else is either, and we’re going to try and go inside as much as we can,’ Robinson added.
Harrison County’s band of Rebels fell behind in the very early going, 6-5, on two free throws by Nate Thomasson and two baskets by Clinton Tolbert. South’s scores came in the form of a deuce inside by Hanus and a triple by Wilkerson.
Wiseman, Mercer and Kaiser manufactured an 8-0 run that was halted by a bucket from Blake Andrews. Wilkerson came back with a field goal and Chad McRae had a three to put South ahead at the first stop, 18-8.
Southwestern never got closer than 10 points the rest of the way.
South Central was a blistering 26 of 42 from the field after a 16-24 effort in the first half and an equally admirable 10-18 in the second. From the three-point arc, South was 6-10.
Thanks to an active 1-3-1 defense, Southwestern was held to 15 of 45 shooting, including 6-19 beyond the arc.
‘We hadn’t played our 1-3-1 well of late and this was a team that we felt we could do that against. I thought the five they got in the third quarter were gambling-type of plays. We trapped once and gave them a bucket and then we were out of position on another. We talked about playing well coming out of halftime,’ Robinson said.
Hanover’s Rebels failed to have anyone reach double figures throughout the day. Greg Brawner had three triples in the first two minutes of the fourth quarter for his nine points.
Corydon 72, Southwestern 46
The Panthers led gate-to-wire and held Southwestern without a field goal for an eight-minute stretch to whitewash the Rebels, 72-46.
Kyle Savely scored 22 points, including a perfect 8-8 at the line; Kurt Savely had 20 with a trio of threes, and Ryan Herndon bombed four treys and finished with 16 points in the easy win.
Corydon opened a 13-6 lead before Southwestern’s Greg Brawner sparked a 6-0 run to trim the Panthers’ lead to one, 13-12.
With 2:31 left in the opening period, Herndon swooshed a three to start a 16-2 run by Corydon that stretched to the 2:46 mark of the second quarter. Along the way, Panthers Josh Stepro and Kyle Savely converted three old-fashioned three-point plays to push the lead out to 32-14.
By halftime, Corydon extended the lead by two, 38-18.
The only thing left in question after the intermission was the final differential.
Corydon was 23-53 from the field, 7-18 on three pointers (including 6-9 in the first half), and scalded the nets on 19-23 shooting from the foul line. The Panthers dominated the glass, 41-21.
Southwestern, led by nine points from both Blake Andrews and Brett Chitwood, was 18-47 on field goals, including 4-15 on threes. The Rebels went to the line just nine times and hit six.
Turnovers in the game were nearly even, with Corydon committing 12 and Southwestern 13.
Jeff 84, South Central 48
There was good news and bad news for South Central after the opening game of the second round of the Holiday Classic on Saturday morning.
On the positive side, the Rebels made it to the free throw line 39 times against Jeffersonville. On the negative, South hit just 25, and, even worse, hit just 10 of 41 shots from the field.
Coupled with 28 turnovers, there weren’t many good things to say about the 36-point blowout loss to Jeffersonville.
‘I don’t think our guys came into the game thinking they could beat Jeffersonville,’ said South coach Greg Robinson. ‘They know the history of that program, and I think they felt a little intimidated.’
The Rebels didn’t start off that way, leading 5-2 on an early three by Brad Brown and two free throws by Ben Hanus. Jeffersonville countered with a 9-0 run to set the pace, 11-5.
Chad McRae dropped in three free throws to get it back to a one-point game, but Eric Johnson had a single free and Josh Nall buried one of his three three-pointers to lead after the first quarter, 15-8.
Jeff slowly and methodically pulled away after that.
The only real sign of life from the Rebels came in the second half after falling behind, 46-22. Brad Brown had two frees, Paul Brown had two frees, Chad McRae sank a runner in the lane, and Brent Wilkerson swished a three to ‘cut’ the lead to 17. Jeffersonville responded with a 18-1 run over the next three minutes to put the game away.
Chad McRae and Derek Kaiser each put in 11, and Brad Brown scored 10. Hanus tacked on five points in the losing effort.
Jeffersonville (which had 10 players score) made almost as many shots from the floor as South Central attempted. The Red Devils were 35-65, including 9-14, and thrashed the Rebels on the boards, 45-32.
Sheldon Breckenridge led the winners with 14 points, followed by Nall’s 12 and 10 apiece from Josh Lowery and Eric Johnson.