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Poling lifts Madison over Corydon Central, 54-43

The Corydon Central Panthers picked the worst night possible to have a bad shooting night.
Playing in the championship game of the North Harrison sectional championship game, Corydon fell in a heap against Madison, hitting just 13 field goals in the 32 minutes of their 54-43 loss.
‘I’m proud of our kids,’ said Corydon coach Randy Gianfagna. ‘They did everything we asked. We needed to knock a few more shots down tonight.’
Madison connected on their first three shots of the game ‘ two being triples ‘ to jump out to a quick 8-2 lead. For the next several minutes neither team could find the basket, Corydon missing five field goal attempts and Madison misfiring four times.
Scott Decker then got a pair of singles, but a minute later Will Jackson scored inside twice to push the Cub lead to eight. Corydon finally found some range with under two minutes to go with Calvin Saulman and Jared Ashton each cashing in three-balls, cutting the Corydon deficit to just two, 12-10, after one quarter.
‘It wasn’t a good start,’ Gianfagna said. ‘We were down 8-2 and then got it back to 12-10. We were going to go out and zone. In the first game we played them Jackson had 16 and (Norman) Wells had 19, so we knew we probably couldn’t match up with them man-to-man. The only time we wanted to play man-to-man was when one of their big kids went out. We felt like we matched up better. We knew they were going to make some shots.’
Corydon kept the game tight through the first four minutes of the second period, the Panthers down just three following a deuce inside by Ryan Herndon.
That quickly changed, however, as Christian Poling put away three back-to-back-toback three-pointers. Ashton swished a three for Corydon but moments later was blocked by Wells. Shaun Walker scored inside but Ryan Laswell countered with an old-fashion three for a nine-point gap.
Chad Backherms got a deuce to fall in the waning seconds for Corydon as Madison took a 33-26 lead to the locker room at halftime.
Corydon cut into the Madison advantage early in the third as Matt Key and Calvin Saulman both scored inside to pull the Panthers within 35-30.
Then came a quick shift in momentum. After both teams misfired Herndon was called for a charge causing a turnover. Both teams missed again then 6-6 forward Will Jackson buried a three-ball to push Madison’s edge to eight.
Later, Corydon was still in the hunt after three quarters in a 40-32 score.
‘That was a big turning point,’ said Gianfagna of Jackson’s three. ‘I thought he travelled on it too. He’s four of seven for the year so it’s not something you see. He missed the next one. In sectional play somebody has to be the X-factor for you to win and he did it.’
Madison began the fourth quarter with a 7-2 burst for a 46-34 lead.
Except for two free throws by Taylor, Corydon again had trouble finding the hoop, misfiring on its next four field goals. Shaun Walker finally found daylight inside and added a pair of free throws with 1:16 to go in the game, pulling Corydon back within eight, 48-40.
Corydon would only get one more field goal the remainder of the game as Scott Decker swished a three with :39.5 to go.
Madison controlled the rest of the game and celebrated the 54-43 sectional championship win.
‘They murdered on the boards and pounded it inside,’ Gianfagna said. ‘Poling got 17 and he’s averaging five points. You’ve got to make someone else beat you in a sectional and they beat us tonight. When you only score 40 points I don’t think it was defense. It was offense. We did not hit the shots we normally knock down.’
Corydon failed to get anybody in double figures as Key and Herndon led the team with eight points each. Corydon was 13 of 38 from the field (34 percent), hit 9-of-10 fre ethrows, and committed just seven turnovers for the game.
Besides Poling’s 17 points, Logan Jones and Will Jackson had 13 points each. Madison (17-6) was 19 of 40 from the field (47.5%), netted 8-of-11 free throws, and committed 10 turnovers.
Corydon finishes with a 14-9 record and will graduate five seniors.
‘This year has been a lot better because of my seniors,’ Corydon’s coach said. ‘They made it really fun and set an example for our kids. We’re so proud of our seniors and we’re going ot miss them.’
‘We’ve got to get a lot stronger and that’s one of my bigger things,’ Gianfagna said. ‘The kids played hard. We had a lot of work to do after last year and we’ve got a lot of work to do for next year.’
Corydon 58, N. Harrison 47
For three quarters, the county-rivalry game between Corydon Central and host North Harrison in the Class 3A sectional semi-final lived up to the hype: The two clubs were tied, 34-34, and nearly every stat line was identical.
Over the final eight minutes, however, North Harrison’s rim shrunk to the size of a pea as the hosts were able to convert on only two field goal attempts.
The dry spell by the Cougars, as well as a 15-of-17 effort from the charity stripe by Corydon in the fourth quarter, was the hosts unraveling. The Panthers posted their second of the season win over their rival, 58-47.
Corydon junior Lucas Taylor scored nine of his game-high 18 points in the fourth quarter, Scott Decker scored 11 and Ryan Herndon added nine in the victory.
North Harrison led for most of the game.
After holding a 9-8 lead through one period, the Panthers came back to lead by one at the half, 21-20.
Buckets by Zack Sullivan, Josh Kidd and a three-ball by Troy Eveslage gave North a 27-23 lead. North eventually pushed its advantage to as many as six with 2:40 left in the third period on baskets by Derek Rainbolt and Josh Kidd.
With the game tied, Decker got things rolling for the Panthers with an early score in the fourth, and Calvin Saulman drilled a three after a free throw by Kidd.
Herndon stole an inbounds pass and scored an easy lay-up for a 41-35 Corydon advantage with 4:25 left in the game. From there, only three combined field goals were hit the rest of the way.
Corydon’s Matt Key dropped in a deuce, with Taylor tacking on a pair of frees for a 47-36 lead.
Clayton Nix bombed a trey and Rainbolt sank two frees to make it a two-possession game. Eight seconds later, Taylor hit one of two from the line and then Rainbolt connected on a two-ball for the game’s final field goal. The shot brought bring the Cougars within five, 48-43, and then a pair of tosses by Troy Eveslage made it a three-point game with just over a minute left.
Corydon would have nothing of it.
Taylor and two of his teammates ‘ Saulman and Herndon ‘ calmly sank their final 10 combined attempts to seal the victory.
Corydon Central shot an even 50 percent from the field, knocking down 18 of 36 tries. The winners were 4-of-11 on threes and finished 18 of 23 from the line. The rebounding battle went to the Cougars, 22-20, while Corydon coughed up the ball only 10 times to North’s 16.
The hosts, who ended the season at 9-12, were 16 of 38 from the field and sank 11 of 15 free throws.
Rainbolt paced the team’s balanced attack with 11 points and handed out nine assists. Eveslage scored 10, Janes had eight points, Josh Kidd scored seven to go along with a team-high nine rebounds, Nix added six points on a pair of treys and Zack Sullivan notched five.
‘In our first match-up of the season (against Corydon) our kids did not play with passion,’ North coach Rick Snodgrass said. ‘This time around the kids played with the passion needed against a good Corydon team. I thought the momentum switched to Corydon when we were up 34-28 and we missed a couple of shots and Corydon took advantage of that and they were able to tie the game at 34-34 at the end of the third quarter.’
North Harrison loses seniors Rainbolt, Nix, Eveslage, Janes, Sullivan and Jordan Churchill to graduation.
‘I was proud of the way my seniors battled to the end,’ Snodgrass said. ‘I thought we had contributions from everyone who played in the game. We have a good nucleus of underclassmen coming back next year and I hope they use the positive effort the team gave against Corydon to motivate themselves to work hard in the off-season in all areas of their game. The key to our success next year will be the work the players do in the summer and fall months.’
Alan Stewart of The Corydon Democrat contributed to this story.