Host brigade takes title
The form of Corydon Central’s army featured teamwork and a bit of emerging confidence during Friday’s championship bout with Tell City in the inaugural four-team Battle at the First Capital hosted by Corydon Central.
Corydon Central and Tell City waltzed to the championship after cruising in opening-round games. In the final, the host Lady Panthers banded together and used balance to send the Lady Marksmen home in defeat. Corydon Central led by 23 at the half and carried the momentum to a 56-31 victory in a chilly Corydon Central gymnasium.
The event also featured a junior varsity tournament, which was won by Corydon Central.
‘It was a long day, but our JV got two good wins and our varsity got two good wins,’ Corydon Central coach Michael Uhl said.
Battle lines were drawn, but the favor went to the Lady Panthers with the first shots. McKendra Fisher scored twice inside, while Megan Rowlett put in five points, one field goal was a 3-pointer.
Using an up-and-under move, Ashley Oliver converted a 3-point play after drawing a foul, resulting in a 12-4 lead. The margin increased to double digits, 14-4, when Cami Schmitt swished a pair of freebies.
The counter attacks were few for Tell City. Kammie Jo Hayes scored to cut the deficit to six, 14-8, but Corydon Central’s ability to pull away was too much.
Closing the opening quarter on a 7-0 run, Schmitt drained a triple, followed by Fisher cleaning up a Rowlett miss with a tip in at the buzzer.
For much of the first quarter, Tell City was unable to escape the traps and pressure Corydon Central’s defense brought forth, causing eight turnovers.
Balance was key on the offensive end as well. Scoring 56 points, the Lady Panthers had nine players reach the scoring column, none over nine points.
‘We’ve been preaching to try and attack to score,’ Uhl said. ‘It’s starting to pay off a little bit.’
Rowlett, a 5-foot-5 guard, came up with consecutive blocked shots on two Tell City possessions. The second block led to Rowlett going coast to coast for a lay-in.
Free throws became key as well with Allyssa Edwards, Morgan Nalley and Oliver going a combined 6-for-6 during a stretch of the second quarter.
Holding for the final siege of the half, Corydon Central milked 55 seconds off the clock before Paden fed an open Edwards for a 3-point try. The swish gave the Lady Panthers a 38-15 lead.
Tell City’s best spurt came at the midway point of the third quarter. The Lady Marksmen put together a 5-0 run, but a free throw by Brenee Leibering only closed the gap to 45-23.
Sharing the rock continued for Corydon Central. Fisher laid off a pass to a cutting Oliver for an eventual 3-point play in the paint. Nalley played high-low with Hayley Rennirt for two points.
Of the 18 points scored by Corydon Central in the second half, seven players accounted for the points. Lexi Orme and Rennirt were the lone players to put in two field goals apiece in the half.
‘Our guards are trying to attack more, which is going to free up those post players,’ Uhl said. ‘Hopefully, it is all starting to come together.’
The win moves the Lady Panthers to 6-2.
Three Corydon Central players ‘ Edwards, Rowlett and Fisher ‘ scored nine points each. Oliver closed with eight points and 10 rebounds, and Paden had six points.
Edwards was able to gather nine rebounds while swiping three steals. Fisher also nabbed three steals.
At the line, Corydon Central went 12 of 16.
For the runners-up, Tell City was led in scoring by Emma Kohnert and Leibering with seven points each.
Tell City presented a challenge with some height, boasting a lineup with at least two players on the floor at 5-foot-10 or taller.
‘Tell City is a good opponent to play,’ Uhl said. ‘They present some challenges with their height.’
Although the battle against tournament opponents is over, Uhl said the next few stops on the route will be a challenge. All four of Corydon Central’s next opponents are Mid-Southern Conference foes, with three games on the road. The Lady Panthers will head to Scottsburg tomorrow (Thursday) for a 7:30 p.m. contest followed by a trip to Silver Creek on Saturday (1:30 p.m.).
‘We have a tough stretch coming up,’ Uhl said.
Other upcoming MSC games are at Austin (Dec. 9) and hosting Salem (Dec. 11).
Seven of the nine teams in the MSC have one loss each, including Corydon Central. The lone unbeaten team in league play is North Harrison.
Playing in the Battle for the First Capital won’t be the only tournament the Lady Panthers will compete in this season. On Dec. 28 and 29, they’ll participate in the Niehaus Classic, hosted by Vincennes Rivet.
Tell City 8 7 8 8 ‘ 31
Corydon Central 21 17 10 8 ‘ 56
Tell City (4-4) ‘ Kohnert 7, Leibering 7, Goffinet 6, Mathena 6, Snyder 3, Hays 2.
Corydon Central (6-2) ‘ Edwards 9, Rowlett 9, Fisher 9, Oliver 8, Paden 6, Schmitt 5, Rennirt 4, Orme 4, Nalley 2.
3-point goals ‘ Corydon Central 4 (Edwards, Rowlett, Paden, Schmitt).