Weber’s hot hand helps propel CCHS in opener
George Browning, Sports Writer, [email protected]
In order to hoist the championship trophy of the Holiday Classic Basketball Tournament at Edinburgh, the Corydon Central Lady Panthers first had to get past the fifth-ranked team in Class A, Jac-Cen-Del.
It wasn’t an easy task, but a second half in which freshman Ava Weber scored 11 of her game-high 26 points propelled Corydon Central to a 59-53 win on Friday.
Weber had eight points at halftime and admitted she was able to get more in the flow of the game in the second half.
“At the beginning of the game, I wasn’t feeling it,” she said. “Towards the end, I was able to get into more of a rhythm and I started hitting my free throws and, at that point, everything got easier.”
Corydon Central coach Michael Uhl credited Weber for contributing in a lot of different ways in his team’s win to open the tournament.
“Ava did a lot of things for us,” Uhl said. “She had struggled in our last few games. They really keyed on her (in this one), and she fought through it. She struggled a little bit from the free-throw line early in the game, but she hit the ones down the stretch when they really mattered.”
The Lady Panthers trailed for most of the first quarter, and a free throw by Jac-Cen-Del’s Dillan Hughes in the opening seconds of the second quarter put them behind 15-9.
Grace Erwin drilled a three for Corydon Central that cut the deficit in half, and another three, this time by Emily Harbaugh, kept the Lady Panthers within reach, 17-15.
Nearly a minute later after both teams traded possessions, Harbaugh hit another three, this time putting the Lady Panthers ahead by one, 18-17, with 4:15 remaining in the second quarter.
A two-point basket by Weber extended the CCHS lead to three, 20-17.
Two free throws by Autum Anderson and a basket by Kayla Willoughby off an assist by Weber, who also hit another basket of her own, put the Lady Panthers in front by five, 26-21.
Jac-Cen-Del hit a basket just before halftime, and the score had the Lady Panthers on top, 26-23.
The score remained close throughout the second half. Tied at 38 early in the fourth quarter, Corydon Central went on a 10-2 run that gave the Lady Panthers an eight-point lead, 48-40, with just under four minutes remaining in the game. During the run, Weber scored nine points, including a conversion of an old-fashioned three-point play after she grabbed an offensive rebound.
The Lady Eagles answered with a 7-0 run of their own, cutting the Lady Panthers’ lead to one, 48-47.
Anderson hit two free throws to stop the Jac-Cen-Del momentum.
A defensive rebound by Weber led to a basket by Harbaugh, then Weber threw an assist to Jessie Johnson for two points, giving Corydon Central a 54-49 advantage with 1:26 left in the game.
The Lady Panthers closed out the final 1-1/2 minutes by hitting five-of-six free throws and sealing the win.
Uhl said it was the kind of game he enjoyed being a part of. He especially enjoyed the way his team was able to close it out down the stretch.
“It was a lot of fun,” Uhl said. “It was a good, hard-fought game. It went back and forth a little bit, and everyone had to step up and execute and do some nice things. We got contributions from everyone, whether it was points or helping us get a defensive stop. I enjoyed it.”
Corydon Central 9 17 10 23 – 59
Jac-Cen-Del 14 9 13 17 – 53
Corydon Central (9-6) – Ava Weber 26, Emily Harbaugh 8, Grace Erwin 7, Autum Anderson 5, Jessie Johnson 4, Bailey Orme 4, Lillian Wolfe 3, Kayla Willoughby 2.
Jac-Cen-Del (10-3) – Paige Ledford 18, Annabelle Williams 14, Anna Hubbard 6, Kadee Kuhn 6, Regan Carroll 5, Aundrea Cullen 3, Dillan Hughes 1.
3-point goals – Corydon Central 4 (Erwin 2, Harbaugh 2); Jac-Cen-Del 3 (Kuhn 2, Cullen 1).