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Cougars run into Corydon buzzsaw, 63-45

There was something strange and unusual going on before the annual county rival matchup between Corydon and North Harrison Friday night. It wasn’t what was there, it was what was strangely missing.
There was none of the usual banter between the student body sections. As a matter of fact, Corydon’s student body section had plenty of empty seats. Gone were the usual face paintings, as were the signs the two usually used to chide each other. Corydon didn’t even have the newspapers they usually read during player introductions.
Also missing was the usual boxing match between the two schools’ mascots. The Corydon Panther mascot was there, but the North Harrison Cougar was a no-show.
During the pregame shootaround, some from the North Harrison student section reminded the Panthers about the two times the Cougar football team had battered Corydon. The Panther players didn’t say anything and just kept shooting.
Corydon was coming into the game after suffering a bad loss to Lanesville. Meanwhile, the Cougars had dominated at South Central and it almost appeared that the game had been decided in the stands even before the referee tossed the opening tip.
North Harrison wins, game over.
But the Panther team remembered one thing: The game had yet to be played. They came out with a quick message, that they were not to be taken lightly, and proceeded to rip the Cougars for a 63-45 win, leaving everybody from North Harrison stunned.
‘There’s no excuses,’ said North Harrison coach Rick Snodgrass. ‘We just got beat. It’s one game as far as 20, but it’s a tough loss. It’s your county rival, but I give credit to them.
‘We’ve got to get better at just doing the basic things. We’re going to go back and break the game down even more. We’re going to do one-on-one drills, post moves every day. We do anyway, but we’re going to do it even more.’
‘We had lost two in a row,’ said Corydon coach Randy Gianfagna. ‘We really stunk it up at Lanesville (Nov. 26). I told our kids before the game, we laid our first egg and from now on we’re going to lay chickens. We just kind of went from there.
‘Our kids just listened to us this week. We didn’t brow beat them. We didn’t talk or anything. We just said, ‘OK, let’s go to work.’ and they did.’
Corydon exploded out of the blocks, while North Harrison hit an iceberg, hitting just one of 13 shots, as the Panthers took a 15-2 lead after the first period.
Corydon had a 6-3 burst to start the second period, but the Cougars fared a little better than they did in the opening quarter, cutting their deficit to 11 when Derek Rainbolt and Troy Eveslage got a deuce and three midway through the quarter.
Corydon finished the period on an 8-0 run, however, and took a 35-16 lead to the locker room at halftime.
‘We went in at halftime and our stat guy said we had nine assists and only three turnovers,’ Gianfagna said. ‘We had eight assists the whole game the other night, so we talked about being unselfish and how many people scored. That’s what we have to have. We’re not a bunch of superstars, but when we play well together, we’re pretty fun to watch.’
‘They came in and executed very good from the start of the game,’ Snodgrass said. ‘We missed some early shots and did not execute very well. Once we got behind, Corydon did a very good job of attacking. We had to, unfortunately, try to gamble a little bit on defense. We had to go fullcourt more than I would have liked. Their quickness just beat us to the punch.’
The Cougars dented the deficit early in the third period, but Corydon leaped ahead with a 12-0 barrage, as Scott Decker buried a pair of three-balls, to push the Panther lead to 47-20. The Cougars made up a little ground late in the game, but fell by 18.
‘It’s one of those games where momentum starts early, and we never could overcome that,’ Snodgrass said. ‘When we cut it down to 12 in the second half, they go down and bury a three-point shot.’
‘I just think Corydon did what they had to do,’ he said. ‘People try to look for little things of what went wrong. Sometimes we don’t give credit to a team that did something right. Corydon, once they got in the rhythm, they didn’t miss many shots. They hit their free throws. They came back from a very tough defeat against another county rival.’
Gianfagna said he had no idea the game would go as it did.
‘North’s a good team. I saw them on tape against South Central,’ he said.
Decker led the Panthers with 16 points, and the Panther bench contributed 18 points. Corydon shot 56 percent (24 of 43) from the field and connected on 13 of 15 (87 percent) free throws. The Panthers committed just 10 turnovers.
Eveslage led the Cougars with 16 points, canning four three-balls, and Zach Janes finished with 10 points. Josh Kidd was held to just five points for the night, going scoreless for 30 minutes. North Harrison shot 17 of 47 (36 percent) from the floor and four of six (67 percent) from the free-throw line. The Cougars committed 13 turnovers.
‘I had no idea we had him scoreless,’ said Gianfagna of Kidd. ‘I was more worried about keeping him off the glass. He had 18 points the other night, and I swear 14 of them were off the offensive glass. That was our big focus tonight.’
‘We’ve got to become an even better passing team,’ Snodgrass said. ‘We’re not going to make up for our lack of quickness. ‘ We’ve got to do a better job of taking angles and keeping our focus.’
Corydon Central hosts New Albany on Saturday night while North heads to Silver Creek for a Mid-Southern Conference game on Friday.
Both junior varsity contests kick off at 6 p.m.

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