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Skid ends for Lady Panthers behind Smith’s 16

Skid ends for Lady Panthers behind Smith’s 16
Skid ends for Lady Panthers behind Smith’s 16
Pressing the ball up the floor, Corydon Central's Kelsey Smith tries to drive by South Central's Jasmine Nalley last Tuesday. Smith poured in 16 points. Photos by Brian Smith

Kelsey Smith made some adjustments in pre-game.
Getting her nose guard to fit just right, the senior guard hit the floor for warm-ups wearing Corydon Central’s colors.
However, when Smith entered the game last Tuesday off the bench against county-rival South Central, her mask may have turned her into Batgirl as she swooped in to help save the night.
Falling behind 8-0 in the first quarter, Smith ignited a rash of scoring for Corydon Central. Eventually, a 25-4 run during two periods led to the Lady Panthers winning 46-33 on their home court. The win snapped an 0-10 start to the season.
‘Both of our teams are pretty beat up at this point in the season,’ Corydon Central coach Michael Uhl said. ‘At least we are a little more healthy than (South Central) is at this point. The big difference was they lost one before tonight and we gained one.’
Smith was the returning player for the Lady Panthers. She suffered a broken nose earlier in the season and was making her way back. Throughout the season, Corydon Central has played without leading returning scorer Ashley Oliver as well as with Morgan Nalley. Both sustained knee injuries, with Oliver possibly returing this season.
On the flip side, South Central took the floor without the services of two talented freshmen: Alexis Knear and Ally Davis.
South Central coach Randall Schoen said Davis is getting evaluated for a knee injury, while Knear rolled her ankle in the team’s previous game versus Southwestern.
Despite the injuries for the Lady Rebels, they had a quality beginning to the game. Jasmine Nalley had an opening field goal before a nose-bleed sent her to the locker for several minutes.
South Central’s lead grew to 8-0 when Miranda Kiper put in consecutive field goals, followed by Sabra Walker dishing to Breana Blackman for a deuce.
That was where the offense literally stopped for South Central, as the Lady Rebels went cold from the field while Smith heated up.
Her initial strike was a 2-point field goal after Mariah Jo Nye swiped a steal. Smith scored 10 of her team best 16 points in a spurt to close the opening quarter. It was a scoring output by Corydon Central that erased an 8-0 South Central run and countered with a 12-0 Lady Panthers outburst.
Smith did it in different ways, too. She had an and-one opportunity after racing down the floor for a bucket off a steal. She nailed a few jumpers and also used a hustle play on the offensive glass to draw a foul.
‘She played her butt off,’ Uhl said. ‘We’re down 8-0, and she came in and gave us the spark we needed. We need the rest of our players to know to go in and play like that.’
Corydon Central’s hard work continued in the second frame. Playing high-low, McKendra Fisher and Hayley Rennirt worked well together to extend the Lady Panthers’ lead.
Fisher put in a bucket to put Corydon Central up 15-9. On South Central’s next possession, Walker swished a trifecta to bring the Lady Rebels back within three.
Then, another dry run of offense hampered South Central. Six straight field goals fell for the Lady Panthers, with many coming in quick transition plays. Megan Rowlett had a jumper, while Nye added a floater in the lane. Fisher was on the receiving end of two passes from Rennirt for buckets inside. The spurt ended with Nye forwarding a pass to Rennirt for a lay-in and a 25-12 Corydon Central edge.
‘We got that because we pushed the ball down the floor and got it out of transition,’ Uhl said of the play from his forwards Rennirt and Fisher. ‘It wasn’t out of sets. We have to learn to get baskets inside out of the set. We have to get those out of sets and not just out of transition when the defense is scrambling.’
One of the keys for Corydon Central was moving the ball up the floor quickly before South Central could trap or press.
‘We’re trying to play hard,’ Uhl said. ‘If we can get it down the floor quickly and get a good shot, we’re happy.’
South Central’s greatest chance to trim the lead was at the foul line, but, in the opening half, they were 3 of 8, including missing the front end of two one-and-ones.
Corydon Central would lead 27-16 at the half.
A fight was put up by the Lady Rebels in the third quarter. Jasmine Nalley converted a field goal to bring South Central to within eight, 29-21.
Later on, Walker scored two straight field goals, one on an assist from Gracie Day, the other a baseline drive. Despite nine third-quarter turnovers by Corydon Central, the Lady Panthers led 33-26.
Corydon Central regrouped between quarters and started on an 8-0 run to put the game away. Smith put in four additional points, while Gracie Paden and Rennirt scored as well.
The Lady Rebels had one more rally in them, using buckets by Blackman, Nalley and Day to make it an eight-point game. That, however, was as close as they would get.
‘I told them we were up 15 or so, and they cut it to eight with three minutes to go and we didn’t fold,’ Uhl said. ‘We pushed it out to 13. Silver Creek, a few weeks ago, we tanked it in and this time we didn’t. I’m hoping this is showing we’re going in the right direction.’
Smith led the way with 16 points and also had seven rebounds. Rennirt and Fisher also reached double-figure scoring with 10 each. Fisher also had eight boards, while Rennirt pulled down seven.
For South Central, Nalley and Walker scored nine points each, while Kiper chipped in five.
Both teams will hit the road this week to participate in holiday tournaments. South Central is headed to the Gibson County Toyota Teamwork Classic, while Corydon Central will play in the Vincennes Rivet Niehaus Classic.

South Central 8 8 10 7 ‘ 33
Corydon Central 12 15 6 13 ‘ 46
South Central (3-6) ‘ Nalley 9, Walker 9, Kiper 5, Blackman 4, Day 3, Faith 2, Lewis 1.
Corydon Central (1-10) ‘ Smith 16, Rennirt 10, Fisher 10, Rowlett 4, Paden 2, Saulman 2, Nye 2.
3-point goals ‘ South Central 2 (Walker, Day).