The Corydon Central High School Lady Panthers achieved a degree of immortality Saturday night in Indianapolis. Coach Mike Uhl’s team ‘ Dana Beaven, Stannye Wolfe, Megan Greer, Jessie Stansbury, Megan Bates, Brooke South, Jill Hoehn, Bethany Shewmaker, Bridgett Decker, Cheyenne Wright, Teresa Greer, Chelsea Reed, Courtney Cato and Mackenzie Dyer ‘ did something no Corydon or Harrison County team had ever done before. In the rarified atmosphere of Conseco Fieldhouse, they competed for the 3A state basketball championship and played an absolutely marvelous game against South Bend St. Joseph’s before their key player, Dana Beaven, fouled out with 2-1/2 minutes left and changed the complexion of the match.
South Bend St. Joseph’s was the No. 1 team in 3A ball with three Division 1-quality players and a spectacular 24-1 record going into the championship under the bright TV lights at Conseco. They were state runners-up in 2003 and probably thought Corydon would be a mismatch. St. Joseph’s brought a lot of fans with them, but they must have been shocked to see an even greater crowd from Harrison County in the opposite corner of the arena. It was a sight to behold: The Lady Panthers playing for the state title. It was the kind of game where every shot, rebound and foul becomes the stuff of legend and will be discussed at dinner tables and diners for years.
It must have come as quite another shock to a team that had been winning by an average of 26 points to find themselves eight points behind in the second quarter and lucky it wasn’t 10. And Corydon has only one senior on the team! Unfortunately, that senior was Dana Beaven, and when she was whistled out of the game on a trivial call, it hurt, and the Corydon crowd essentially went quiet.
Coach Uhl, who has the second best winning percentage among active girls coaches in the state and who is as modest as he is smart, declined to play the ‘what if game’ by speculating on what might have happened had Beaven stayed in the game and continued to pound the oppostion under the basket. The Bellarmine University signee usually had three people on her and still showed why she’s Indiana All-Star material. What did happen, Uhl magnanimously observed in the press room afterward, was that St. Joseph’s big time players consistently came up with big time plays in the second half, and that was the difference at the end. It’s hard to beat eight of 12 shooting from Three Point Land.
Coach Uhl, his assistants (Laura Shireman, Jarrod Bulleit and Michael Emmert) and the players represented themselves, their very supportive parents, their school and our community exceedingly well this season and in this tournament. They had won 15 games in a row, and their schedule was tough. In addition to being outstanding athletes, the Lady Panthers are outstanding human beings, too. They’ve had a lot of fun, they’ve had a dream season, they’ve been to the ‘big dance,’ they very nearly won a state basketball championship, and Beaven won the mental attitude award for 3A. Wow. What a year.
Kick ‘er sideways!