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Youthful Lady Panthers fall to Perry Central in opener

Youthful Lady Panthers fall to Perry Central in opener
Youthful Lady Panthers fall to Perry Central in opener
In a scramble for a loose ball, Corydon CentralÂ’s Heather Uhl comes up with the ball with Perry CentralÂ’s Rachael Rayford on her back while Jenna Keinsley, left, assists. Photo by Brian Smith (click for larger version)

Corydon Central trailed for much of its opening contest Friday against Perry Central at home but showed strength down the stretch to rally and take a fourth-quarter lead. The lead, however, was short-lived, as the Lady Commodores escaped Corydon with a 41-37 victory.
‘In the second half, we got into some things a little bit better and hit some shots,’ Corydon Central coach Michael Uhl said. ‘We had a little more intensity in the second half and battled more. We set some harder screens and went to the boards hard. We made a little run there.’
In a low-scoring affair through three quarters, Perry Central took a modest 24-19 lead early in the fourth quarter. Corydon Central, however, found open looks from junior Heather Uhl to make the key run. Uhl knocked down two 3-pointers in a span of 17 seconds, giving Corydon Central its first lead at 25-24.
The teams went back and forth until a Katie Schwartz free throw for Perry Central tied the game at 29 with 4:43 to play. Corydon Central took the lead back with a free throw from junior Malea Dunaway and a put-back from senior Jenna Keinsley.
Keinsley, the team’s leading returning scorer, had a pair of Perry Central players land on her arm on the defensive end of the court. She had to leave the game with a hyper extended wrist.
‘We’re hoping she is OK,’ Michael Uhl said. ‘The doctor said it could be many different things, but we’re hopeful to get her back soon.’
As the game approached the two-minute mark, a free throw from Dunaway maintained a 35-33 lead for Corydon Central. Perry Central junior Lavina Schwartz was clutch for her team. She made 5 of 6 free throws in the closing minutes to help Perry Central come back.
Up 37-35 after Corydon Central’s Savannah Eschbacher put in a basket underneath the basket, the Lady Panthers failed to score in the final 1:20.
Perry Central regained the lead with a trey from Hilarie Hahus, making the score 38-37. Free throws down the stretch sealed the Lady Commodore win.
‘We just didn’t handle some game situations well toward the end,’ Uhl said. ‘Four straight times we had the lead, and four straight times we fouled them before they got the ball past half court. That is just not handling game situations well. We have to make sure we handle those better.’
Corydon Central struggled offensively in the first half. At the end of the first quarter, the Lady Panthers trailed 10-8. The second quarter featured nine points between the teams, leaving the Lady Commodores up, 17-10, at halftime.
‘But give Perry Central some credit. They went to a press and eventually kept us out of our offense we wanted to run,’ Uhl said. ‘When we did get into our offense, especially in the first half, we took a poor shot.’
Heather Uhl led all scorers with 15 points, including a pair of 3-pointers. Keinsley reached double figures with 11 points, and Eschbacher chipped in four.
‘It looked like the first game, and a first game playing a bunch of young kids,’ the Lady Panthers’ coach said. ‘We have some kids who shouldn’t have been playing that way. They have a lot to learn and a lot to learn from this game.’
Lavina Schwartz led Perry Central with 12 points.
Corydon Central plays its first Mid-Southern Conference game Friday at Charlestown and returns home Saturday to face New Albany. Both games will begin at 7:30 p.m.
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