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NH makes it 3 straight vs. Corydon

NH makes it 3 straight vs. Corydon
NH makes it 3 straight vs. Corydon
North Harrison's Skyler Wetzel goes in for a lay-up try as Corydon Central's Braydon Beauchamp closes in to contest the shot. Photos by Brian Smith

Win streaks within the Corydon Central-North Harrison rivalry on the boys’ basketball court have been few for the Cougars for some time.
For the first time since the period of 1995-97, North Harrison has put together three straight victories for the blue and white versus its in-county foe with a 56-39 victory Friday night over visiting Corydon Central.
‘In the end of the day, we’ve won three in a row in the series,’ North Harrison coach Kevin Jones said. ‘It’s a series they have dominated for a long time. We feel pretty good about where we are early in the season. We are far from a finished product.’
Sophomore Braden Jenkins was a key reason for the fast-starting Cougars. He scored eight of his team-high 15 points during an 8-0 North Harrison run off the opening tip. As the game progressed, North Harrison extended its lead, going up by 15 in the second quarter.
Coming off a pair of lopsided losses, Corydon Central showed grit, cutting the deficit to six just before the half on a pair of Braydon Beauchamp free throws. North Harrison led by nine at the half.
Similar to the start of the first quarter, North Harrison found success at the beginning of the third around the rim. A steal by Skyler Wetzel led to a trip to the foul line. A 9-4 Cougars’ start to the third put North Harrison ahead by 14, a lead they would hold onto the rest of the way.
In the first half, the Cougars had trouble containing Corydon Central’s Joey Wiseman, who scored 16 of his team’s 20 points at the time. He finished with a game-high 22 points.
‘We did everything we wanted to do, but we missed a bunch of free throws,’ Jones said of the Cougars who were 12 of 26 at the stripe. ‘We didn’t do a very good job guarding Wiseman, especially in the first half. We get up 26-11 in the first half, then we let a few bad offensive possessions lead to (Corydon Central) hitting some shots. Then, it’s kind of a dog fight.’
The ‘fight’ was an area Corydon Central coach Jamie Kolkmeier saw as an improvement for his young team. Only two players ‘ Beauchamp and Wiseman ‘ return with significant varsity playing time. Junior Bradley Nalley, another key returnee, is still sidelined with an injury.
‘We had a lot more fight,’ Kolkmeier said. ‘I said it from the beginning, we are going to experiment with a lot of guys. We’re trying to figure out who is going to play for us. We want to see who will bring energy levels and toughness. I’m not giving up on our three freshmen, but I thought they needed to play (JV) and play together.’
The catch-and-shoot ability of North Harrison’s Eli Gutknecht gave his team a rush of points when Corydon Central made first-quarter runs. A series of long Corydon Central possessions led to Wiseman scoring four points, cutting the deficit to four, 8-4.
Gutknecht answered with a 3-pointer then did it again following another Wiseman make. North Harrison led 18-6 after one quarter once Jacob Harmon scored on a put-back.
Looking to blow the game open, North Harrison’s Max Flock knocked down a triple for the first points of the second quarter. He was followed by teammate Quinn Kaiser scoring after collecting an offensive board for a 23-6 North Harrison lead.
Not allowing North Harrison to run away, Wiseman knocked down a 3-pointer then took a steal the distance for a bucket. Alton Adams got in on the scoring with a Corydon Central field goal. The Panthers closed the first half on a 14-6 run only to be broke up by 3-pointers via Flock and Gutknecht.
‘I thought Tucker Gentemann was really good tonight,’ Kolkmeier said of his sophomore post player who finished with eight rebounds. ‘If he can continue to get better, he will really help us. I thought Alton Adams was much better in the second half and so was Jacob (Eve) … We ask a lot of Joey and Braydon, and I thought, for the most part, they did a really good job. Braydon can be really good on that defensive end, and he has to continue to be good.’
North Harrison upped its defensive pressure in the second half, forcing five Corydon Central miscues in the third stanza. Going inside, Jenkins and Harmon were able to score buckets. Free throws were a bit of a struggle for the Cougars during the stretch, going 5 of 11.
‘We had a big advantage inside, and I think that wore them down a little bit,’ Jones said. ‘Quinn Kaiser did an outstanding job in the second half guarding Wiseman.’
Despite registering two points, Kaiser was a key player in Jones’ eyes.
‘This is what Quinn is, and we need our other kids to believe in; too many of them think their worth is dependent on how many points they score,’ Jones said. ‘Quinn scored two points tonight and was probably as important as anybody on our team in this game. He has no ego. He was waiting for me in the second half to let him (guard) Wiseman. He did a really good job holding him to six points in the second half.’
In the final eight minutes, North Harrison outscored Corydon Central 16-10 to pull away for the Mid-Southern Conference win.
It was the second game the Cougars have played without senior guard Jake Book, who is likely out another week with an injury.
‘Our senior group has relied on Jake since they’ve played basketball,’ Jones said.
Jones said moving forward he wants his players to continue to develop their post game. Langdon Hatton and Harmon are players taller than 6-foot-7 along with 6-4 Jenkins.
‘We’re still getting used to throwing the ball inside,’ Jones said. ‘As a program, we haven’t had big people that were as talented as what we have now for a long time. When you aren’t used to having them in there, you probably don’t look as much as you should.’
Jenkins paced North Harrison with 15 points and seven boards. It was a balanced effort in the scoring column with Wetzel (10), Gutknecht (nine), Hatton (seven), Flock (six), Harmon (four), Jake Harley (three) and Kaiser (two) scoring. The Cougars netted 6 of 16 3-pointers as well.
The Panthers, who also got scoring from Adams (seven points), Beauchamp (seven) and Eve (three), seeks to improve in the half court. Beauchamp also had eight rebounds. The Panthers were able to slow the tempo versus North Harrison but also missed out scoring on several possessions.
‘We took, I’m going to estimate, seven really bad shots,’ Kolkmeier said. ‘You throw in four defensive lapses, and I’m not saying we were in the game, but that’s the difference between being within five points in the end and 15 (points). We have to give ourselves a chance with three minutes to go … We don’t have as many scorers as other teams have. I like our kids, but we’re going to need better value possessions.’
Corydon Central (0-3) will head to Henryville on Saturday. North Harrison (2-1) has a busy weekend, traveling to Silver Creek on Friday before returning home Saturday to face Orleans. All three games will start at 7:30.
Corydon Central 6 14 9 10 ‘ 39
North Harrison 18 11 11 16 ‘ 56
Corydon Central (0-3, 0-1 MSC) ‘ Wiseman 22, Adams 7, Beauchamp 7, Eve 3.
North Harrison (2-1, 1-0) ‘ Jenkins 15, Wetzel 10, Gutknecht 9, Hatton 7, Flock 6, Harmon 4, Harley 3, Kaiser 2.
3-point goals ‘ Corydon Central 4 (Wiseman 2, Adams, Eve); North Harrison 6 (Gutknecht 3, Flock 2, Wetzel).