Lady Panthers make early statement
Prior to taking the floor Friday, Corydon Central High School assistant coach Lynne Thomas told the team to go out and make a statement. Thomas’ advice was lived out to the fullest, then some. After opening a 44-7 halftime lead, the Lady Panthers cruised to a 71-25 win over the Commodores.
‘I’m very excited and happy for the girls,’ CCHS coach Larry Ragland said. ‘They have worked hard in practice, and I know they are excited to get this first win. Coach Thomas asked them to come out and make a statement, and I thought they did.’
The first half was more than impressive, with the Lady Panthers opening the first quarter with an 18-0 run and taking a 21-2 advantage into the second quarter.
‘We showed our inside-outside balance,’ Ragland said.
Lady Panther Meghan Bussabarger scored six of her team-high 21 points in the first few minutes in the paint. The junior then popped outside the three-point arc later in the second quarter and knocked down a trey. Bussabarger compiled an impressive stat line to go with her 21 points, adding 11 rebounds, four blocks, four steals and three assists.
Outside of the impressive first half offensive performance, Corydon Central was equally dominate on the defensive end throughout the game. The press-and-trap defense forced Perry Central into 28 turnovers, most coming in the first half. Perry Central made its first basket seven minutes into the game when Ashley Brown knocked down an inside shot.
‘Perry had good speed,’ Ragland said. ‘They made us work hard, but I thought we played very hard early on. Our girls are just in great condition. With all seven girls, the scoring was balanced with very unselfish play.’
The Commodores managed seven points in the first half.
While the defense was stifling, Corydon Central’s Bridgett Decker caught fire from downtown. The senior buried five long balls, leading to a 19-point performance. Decker also had five rebounds.
‘She missed the first couple,’ Ragland said. ‘She then sometimes gets down on herself, but she continued to fire away and hit some.’
Corydon Central ended up shooting 46 percent from the floor, including 32 percent (9-28) from beyond the arc.
Point guard Mackenzie Dyer led to the balance attack, dishing out eight of the team’s 18 assists. The senior also scored nine points and tossed in five steals into the mix.
Ragland also liked the play of Jolanna Stiles, who came off the bench to contribute two 3-pointers and eight points.
‘Stiles was impressive coming off the bench,’ he said. ‘She’s a senior, but I started a sophomore over her (Jenna Keinsley), but that is a part of our game plan. I asked her to be the best sixth-man in the area. She came in, provided a spark and knocked down some shots.’
The Corydon Central defense dropped back into the second half into a half-court defense. Perry Central center Alie Schroeder was able to reach double-figure scoring with 10 points.
Overall, the Lady Panthers were impressive in their debut. They will look to carry the momentum when they travel to Charlestown on Friday night then return home Saturday to host New Albany at 7:30 p.m.
In junior varsity action, the Lady Panthers pulled out an overtime win over Perry Central, 37-36. Shawna Kopp’s free throw with one second remaining sealed the win.
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