Aggressive 1st half lifts Panthers
Corydon Central senior guard Dylan Harl said the Panthers like to emphasize the importance of a fast start of games through practice.
Executing practice in game situations was no problem Friday night against rival North Harrison.
The Panthers scored at a breakneck pace in the first quarter in Ramsey Friday, turning a 14-0 start into a 72-50 Mid-Southern Conference victory.
‘Really, our goal is to jump out on people and gain control of the tempo to where we want it,’ Harl said. ‘We practice getting the ball out and getting in our offense fast because we don’t have a true big man. I’m one of our smallest guys, and I play in the post some, so we have to get down the court quick. It is working so far this year.’
Defense and strong early rebounding led to the scoring barrage in the first quarter for the Panthers. The first five minutes was all Corydon Central. Garett Ross scored eight of the first 14 points. Brandon Dunaway, Seth Rennirt and Harl chipped in two points each during the run as well.
‘I was really happy with the way we came out,’ Corydon Central coach Jamie Kolkmeier said. ‘Defensively, we did what we wanted to do. We followed the scouting report pretty well, and our kids came out and played really hard.’
North Harrison finally broke through at the 3:17 mark of the first quarter with a field goal from Devin Southard. Corydon Central, however, returned to form with Dunaway converting a pair of 3-point plays. Dunaway led all scorers with a 22-point performance, including 10 in the first quarter.
‘We didn’t do the things early that we need to do to be successful,’ North Harrison coach Greg Walters said. ‘We’re going to harp on that and work on that. We need to defend and rebound and get the game into the kind of mode that we need it to be in to be successful.’
The first quarter closed with a pair of Cougar free throws from Joe Bolin, but the home team trailed 22-4 after eight minutes. The Cougars committed eight turnovers in the quarter.
Corydon Central’s offensive success carried over into the second quarter as well. Three-point field goals from Casey Saulman and Rennirt helped start a 10-4 run to open the frame.
Walters said the adjustments the team had trouble making was a cause of the rough start.
‘They were switching every screen, and we wouldn’t screen our own man,’ Walters said. ‘We talked about it before the game. It’s my fault because I thought we understood it, but obviously we didn’t. I didn’t get us in a point where we could make that adjustment.’
Bolin then woke up the North Harrison offense with a 3-pointer to cut the Panther lead to 34-11. To end the first half, Bolin drilled another trey, putting the margin at 41-20 at the break.
‘They did a great job of taking away what we wanted to do early,’ Walters said. ‘They ran the same offense a few years ago. They were prepared for what we were going to do, but I thought we had the adjustment to make. We struggled to make that at times.’
The second half was played even most of the way. Corydon Central led by as many as 28 at one point, and North Harrison could get as close as 21 points.
‘We all play well together,’ Harl said. ‘We all know the expectations are high this year because we have all played together for a long time. We are a tight group; we basically know where each other is going to be to make that extra pass. It is just easier playing as a team.’
Dunaway was 8 for 8 at the line to lead Corydon Central with 22 points. Ross finished with 14, followed by Saulman with 11, Rennirt with 11, Harl with six and Tyler Shewmaker with six.
‘Our guys are sharing the ball right now and are finally to the point where we’re making that extra pass,’ Kolkmeier said. ‘Casey got a couple of 3s once Dylan made an extra pass, and Brandon made an extra pass and Seth made an extra pass. That’s what it takes.’
North Harrison spread scoring across nine guys, led by Lincoln Jones’s 10 points. Alex Edwards had nine points, followed by Southard and Bolin with seven each.
‘As people, you can’t look at what you did yesterday,’ Walters said. ‘You can learn from it but you can’t dwell on it. We’ve got to use tonight as a lesson and move on. One game is one game, and, if you lose, you’ve got to get yourself to the point where what do we need to do to be successful. How do we need to play? We didn’t do that early tonight, but we did start doing it late.’
North Harrison bounced back Saturday with a 51-40 win over Henryville. Up next for the Cougars is a Mid-Southern Conference game at Silver Creek on Friday at 7:30 p.m.
Corydon Central will face its biggest test of the season Saturday when the Panthers welcome Class 4A No. 3 New Albany to town at 7:30 p.m.
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