Cougars paw-handle Corydon, 75-46
One exchange by North Harrison in the third quarter of Friday night’s clash against arch-rival Corydon Central was a perfect example of the type of evening it was for the Cougars.
In less than two minutes, North rattled off a 13-0 run.
With the Panthers trailing by a manageable 37-26 margin, Troy Eveslage, who had a career-high 17 points, knocked down a triple, then followed with the rare four-point play on another shot from long range. Cory Beach dropped in a three, followed by a three-point play by Zach Janes.
The combination turned out to be the knockout blows North needed to post one of its biggest wins ever against its rival, 75-46.
The Cougars (2-0, 1-0 Mid-Southern Conference) shot 24 of 48 from the field, including 15 of 23 (65 percent) in the second half. Of those 24 made goals, 11 were from beyond the arc.
Comparatively, Corydon (1-1, 0-1) hit just two three-pointers for the whole game.
The other stats were also decidedly in favor of the boys in blue: North out-rebounded the hosts, 37-23, had two fewer turnovers, and shot better from the line, hitting 16 of 19 tries.
Cougar coach Rick Snodgrass was understandably giddy following the victory.
‘We did a very good job on defense, we did a great job on the boards, we got the ball to the people who were open, and we hit the shots,’ Snodgrass said. ‘We went as hard as we could, and we were extremely unselfish with the ball. I think we had 21 assists tonight. Anytime you have that kind of movement and passing, you are probably going to be tough to beat.’
Beach matched Eveslage with 17 points, and Jon Couts came off the bench for 13 big ones, including a trio of three-pointers. Zach Janes finished with eight points and Clayton Nix had six.
‘This was a big win in a rival game, and I’m proud of what my kids did tonight,’ Snodgrass said.
With starting guard Derek Rainbolt handcuffed with a pair of fouls in the opening seconds of the ball game, Couts came off the bench and notched the contest’s first five points on a pair of frees and a three. Zach Sullivan converted a three-point play for an 8-0 lead for the visitors.
Corydon’s Billy Saulman finally put his team on the board at the 5:09 mark, with teammates Jared Ashton and Eric Haub following suit to make it a two-point game, 8-6.
The Cougars sandwiched a deuce from Josh Kidd and a triple by Beach around the first goal of the season from Josh Stepro (who’s been hampered by an ankle injury) to hold a 13-8 lead at the first break.
Three runs highlighted the second quarter, with the final spurt coming from North.
After a Saulman steal and lay-in, Kidd hit inside and Beach followed suit with five unanswered points for a 20-10 advantage.
Corydon answered with baskets from Ashton, Matt Key and Ryan Herndon to pull within two, 20-18, with 2:11 left in the half.
Zach Janes’ jumper sparked a 9-0 flurry in the final 1:50. Kidd and Eveslage each knocked down a pair of free throws and Janes buried a three to give the visitors a 29-18 lead at the break.
Corydon coach Randy Gianfagna said his club never recovered from the half’s final run.
‘At the start we missed two layups, and then they got out to a nice lead on us. We cut it to a couple there, and then they closed out the half up by 11. We played pretty bad in the first half, but we were still in it,’ Gianfagna said. ‘Basketball can be a game of runs, and they had that run on us, and our guys didn’t respond.’
The third quarter turned out to be the final nail in Corydon’s coffin as the Cougars hit 10 of their 13 field goal attempts and four of their eight tries from Three Point Land.
By the time the onslaught was over, the hosts found themselves trailing by 27, 57-30.
Corydon never got closer than 25 the rest of the way.
Kidd had eight rebounds to go along with his eight points for North. His presence in the block was one big factor in his club’s blowout of Corydon.
‘He did a really nice job off the bench,’ Snodgrass said. ‘He played about six minutes on junior varsity tonight, and I think that gave him confidence for the varsity game.’
Hampering the Panthers’ comeback effort was a dismal night shooting. Corydon was 17 of 46 from the field, including a horrid 2-12 mark from three-land.
‘That really hurt us. We’ve got to knock down some three-point shots to spread the defense a little bit,’ Gianfagna said.
For the Panthers, Ashton hit for 13 points, with no other player scoring more than six.
Key and Herndon each scored six, followed by five from Haub, and four from Saulman, Lucas Taylor and Shaun Walker.
Things won’t get any easier for Corydon Central as it travels to New Albany Saturday night. North Harrison continues its conference slate with a home date against Silver Creek on Friday at 6.