All Panthers, all night; freshman leads rout
In a rivalry game, quick starts are pretty important. Friday night, North Harrison’s start came with a missed bucket and an injury, then the game got worse as visiting Corydon Central coasted to a 72-38 win over the Cougars.
The game plan coming in for North Harrison was to feed the post, but on its first possession, the plan was derailed. Center JimBob Schuler missed an inside shot and turned his ankle during the process.
‘That’s the one thing that killed us more than anything,’ North Harrison coach Chris Martin said. ‘We worked hard all week in practice on trying to find post players. The first possession, JimBob gets in there, didn’t convert but turns his ankle, sort of a double-whammy.’
From that point, it was downhill for the Cougars and uphill for Corydon Central and freshman standout Brandon Dunaway. Jumping into a starting role, the freshman drilled a pair of first quarter three-pointers, including the game’s opening points.
‘We did a nice job of denying their open looks, but also denied them driving by us,’ Corydon Central coach Jamie Kolkmeier said. ‘I thought tonight, the start was pretty important, going up 5-0.’
Corydon Central’s defense continued its impressive start to the season. They held North Harrison to not only less than 40 points, but to two first-half field goals (nine overall) along with 23 percent shooting from the field.
‘Lack of field goals, lack of defensive rebounding, lack of forcing turnovers,’ Martin said to sum up contributors to the Cougars’ offensive woes. ‘At halftime, we had three defensive rebounds and they had nine offensive rebounds on our defensive end of the floor. It’s tough to get things going when you can’t get the ball.’
Rebounding was key. Although not a big team, Corydon Central is putting itself in position to make crashing the glass a strength.
‘Coming into this game, knowing it’s a rivalry game, we focused on our defense and rebounding,’ said Corydon Central senior Adam Ward, who finished with six rebounds. ‘We all have been attacking the boards hard using fundamentals.’
Ward, along with Isaac Brown and Jeremy Smith, was key on the glass, giving the Panthers numerous second and third looks at the hoop.
Offensively, Corydon Central started to click in the second quarter, outscoring North Harrison 24-10. Chris Nichols gave a lift off the Panthers’ bench with a trey and five points during the run. But Dunaway stole the show, concluding the game with 19 points and four treys.
‘He is real mature and plays a high level of basketball,’ Kolkmeier said. ‘He is a rhythm shooter. I was kind of disappointed when he got in that rhythm early that we didn’t give him more shots.’
Dunaway stood out on a team that played unselfishly on the offensive end, dishing out 12 assists as a team. Ten different Panthers scored, including getting 10 from Calvin Saulman and 12 from Nichols.
‘Their secondary players outside of Calvin played really well tonight,’ Martin said. ‘The Dunaway kid had 19 and Nichols had 12. For them, it makes it so much easier on Calvin where he doesn’t have to score 40 every night. He can dish it to everyone else and when they close it out, he can take over the ball game.’
While Corydon Central (2-0, 1-0 Mid-Southern Conference) is piling up the weapons, North Harrison (0-2, 0-1 MSC) is looking to get back on track and continue to work hard. After Schuler’s ankle issue, the senior was held to one point. Sophomore Chad Eveslage led the Cougars with 10 points.
‘Chad played well,’ Martin said. ‘He’s one of those guys, when you look at where we were, where we are and where we’re going, he’s one of the guys down the road that we are going to depend on to do a lot of things. You saw tonight some things that he did well.’
Martin said his team needs to work on better position defensively and playing more aggressively as the season continues.
It was the first conference game of the young season for both teams. North Harrison’s upcoming weekend games will be a challenge. The Cougars visit Silver Creek (3-1) Friday and host Anderson (1-1) on Saturday. Corydon Central will next host Southern Indiana power, Class 4A No. 3 New Albany (2-0) Saturday.
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