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Tank runs empty vs. Rushville

Tank runs empty vs. Rushville
Tank runs empty vs. Rushville
Looking to score inside, Corydon Central’s Taylor Frederick, above, puts up a right-handed shot against Rushville’s Keragan Niehoff in the Class 3A Regional final Saturday night. Photos by Brian Smith (click for larger version)

Corydon Central closed the book on a 20-win season Saturday night in Brownstown when the Lady Panthers ran out of gas against Class 3A No. 7 Rushville.
An up-and-down, full-court press 55-52 victory against Evansville Bosse in the Class 3A Brownstown Central Regional opener caused the Lady Panthers to expunge loads of energy to hold on.
In the nightcap against Rushville, the Lady Lions took an early lead and eventually pulled away for a 52-32 decision.
‘I thought they played well,’ Corydon Central coach Michael Uhl said. ‘(Rushville coach Melissa Marlow) said after the game that, if they would have played Bosse this morning, they wouldn’t have any legs either. I thought we had to run them. We had to get them up and down the court to make things happen. It didn’t work out for us.’
Shots didn’t fall for Corydon Central.
It was a woeful shooting night, making 12 of 43 attempts (27 percent).
Rushville hit the Lady Panthers with a pair of long balls early. Mackenzie Campbell pulled up from the top of the key to drain a pair of 3s.
Corydon Central had some answers early. Kayla Uhl hit a three, followed by Marie Rothrock swishing a baseline jumper to give the Lady Panthers a 7-6 lead. The lead caused the Lady Panthers student section to roar with applause, but it would be the only time they’d own the advantage on the scoreboard.
Rushville then scored six straight to eventually lead 12-8 after the opening period.
The lead continued to grow for the Lady Lions, reaching 19-8 after Mikayla Doughterty, Kelsi Ash and Campbell put in field goals early in the second.
Following a time out, the Lady Panthers hit a quick groove. Taylor Frederick scored in the post, followed by Reagan Mosley putting in a pair of baskets. The 6-0 outburst pulled Corydon Central within five, 19-14.
Rushville, however, closed the half with seven straight points before Rothrock nailed a triple for the Lady Panthers.
The 26-17 Rushville lead blossomed even further in the second half when the Lady Panthers missed their first nine attempts. Rush-ville was able to capitalize and led 34-17. Mosley eventually broke the ice for the Lady Panthers five minutes into the third.
‘I kind of joked halfway through the third quarter with our coaches, ‘Maybe we shouldn’t have shot 61 percent this morning’,’ Uhl said. ‘But if that didn’t happen, we wouldn’t have been in this situation.’
Corydon Central would cut the lead to 10 at one point, but it would be as close as it would come.
While the Lady Panthers wanted to run Rushville, not making shots limited the opportunities to apply back-court pressure.
‘Not hitting some shots hurt,’ Uhl said. ‘You hit some shots, you get that energy. It just never happened.’
Corydon Central gave up size to the Lady Lions, a state runner-up in 2010 that boasted four players 5-foot-10 or taller.
Uhl said not only did fatigue play a role in missing some shots, but also credited Rushville, a solid team that improved to 22-3. The team held sizable leads in the regional semi-final victory over Jasper, a game it won 59-48.
‘I thought we had some good shots, they just didn’t go in,’ Uhl said. ‘I think Rushville had a little bit to do with it, too. Their size.’
Rothrock led Corydon Central with nine points. Mosley had eight points and six rebounds. Taylor Frederick and Symphony LeJeune had five points each.
Corydon Central made 2 of 17 3-point attempts.
‘Coming into the year we were probably the third or fourth best team in our sectional,’ Uhl said. ‘To (get to) the final eight, it shows the work they put in.’
Campbell was among three Lady Lions to reach double figures, scoring 12 points. Sarah Cook and Ash finished with 10 each. Keragan Niehoff had nine points and 10 boards.
As a team, Rushville shot 40 percent from the field.
The Lady Lions (22-3) advanced to the Richmond Semi-state where they will face Mount Vernon (Fortville) Saturday at 3:30 p.m.
Uhl said not many teams have made the elite eight in school history.
‘I can only think of a couple, probably less than five or six,’ he said.
‘This team did everything we asked all season,’ Uhl added. ‘One of the easiest teams to coach that I have had, not because they won, but how they conducted themselves and came to practice and games as a team. They wanted to represent our school and community and did it well all season. I hope the school and community are very proud of these young ladies, because they have earned it in my eyes.’
The season had plenty of accomplishments. It was the first 20-plus win season since the 2005-06 team went 22-2. Opening the year with a win at Perry Central earned the program the ball after the game commemorating their 500th victory. Saturday, the team closed it respectively with the regional runner-up game ball.
‘These girls accomplished a lot this season,’ Uhl said.
It was a strong close to the regular season and into the tournament. Going into the Rushville contest, Corydon Central had won 12 in a row dating back to Jan. 2.
The key is playing the best basketball at the right time. While the shooting may have struggled against Rushville, it wasn’t an indicator of the improved percentage the second half of the season.
Uhl said work in practice on shooting took place around Christmas, which paid off, including finishing stronger in the paint.
‘I always try to break the season down into three parts. You have up to Christmas, after Christmas then the tournament,’ Uhl said. ‘We traditionally don’t shoot a lot of shots in practice until Christmas time. … At Christmas, we really try to shoot a lot more.’
The Lady Panthers graduate four seniors: Kayla Uhl, Rachel Deaton, Savannah Eschbacher and LeJeune.
‘All four either are cadet teachers and/or some type of mentor for the younger students in our elementary/intermediate schools,’ Uhl said. ‘They are heroes to those kids, not because they play basketball, but because of the type of people they are. What a very special group of young ladies.’