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Lady Panthers’ third-quarter blitz turns back SC

Lady Panthers’ third-quarter blitz turns back SC
Lady Panthers’ third-quarter blitz turns back SC
Corydon Central sophomore Ava Weber skies over Millie Spencer of South Central for two of her team-high 20 points in Friday’s 73-23 victory. Photos by Alan Stewart
Alan Stewart, Contributing Writer

Host Corydon Central shut out inter-corporation rival South Central in the third period as part of a 36-1 run in a 73-23 blowout Friday night. The Lady Panthers held the Lady Rebels without a field goal from four minutes to go in the second quarter to four minutes to go in the fourth to easily cruise to their third win of the season.

Sophomore Ava Weber sliced and diced her way to a 20-point effort, and senior forward Kayla Willoughby scooped up a load of rebounds to go with her 14 points for the winners.

Lady Panthers’ third-quarter blitz turns back SC
South Central sophomore guard Kendall Kiper (22) is surrounded by Corydon Central sophomore Ava Weber and senior Grace Erwin (12) in the first half of Friday night’s game here. Corydon Central forced 14 turnovers in the third quarter alone to cruise to a 73-23 victory.

In the first half, South Central (0-5), which was coming off a 60-22 loss to South Spencer the previous night, matched Corydon Central in rebounding, 17-17, and was able to work in some field goals, thanks to an over-aggressive Lady Panthers’ defense. That changed in a big way in the second half, however.

“We just created so much offense (for South Central) in the first half where we got out of position because we wanted to get a steal instead of staying solid defensively. I think (we) made a pretty good adjustment in the third quarter where we weren’t getting ourselves out of position to get beat or give up an open shot, and I think that helped out quite a bit,” Corydon Central coach Josh Conrad said. “I told the girls it was a good adjustment that they made.”

In the third quarter, the Lady Panthers (3-2) forced 14 turnovers and out-rebounded the visitors 14-5 while also keeping South Central from attempting anything inside the 3-point arc. Corydon Central notched 30 points in the period on 11-of-18 shooting, with its defense creating offense, thanks to the load of South Central turnovers.

“Anytime we’ve met pressure this year and last, we struggle. We’re still not super confident with our ball handling, and we’re still weak with our passes. That causes us fits. The first half I thought we handled it better,” South Central coach Lynne Johnson said. “We’re short-staffed with two girls in (COVID-19) quarantine right now so, with only eight and two being freshmen without much clock, we pick up a couple of fouls and we’re in foul trouble and it throws our rotation off. Really, it’s just a matter of turnovers, and we’ve talked and talked and talked about it. I keep telling them as players that they have to have a short-term memory. You have to forget a mistake that you made, and right now we’re at a point where we make a mistake and it turns into two and three and four. We don’t have that short-term memory right now, and we’re still trying to teach that. As a player, I never worried about making mistakes because, in my mind, when I made a mistake, I was already thinking about how I can make up for it. We’re just not there yet.”

All five Lady Panthers’ starters entered the scoring column in the first six minutes of the contest to take a 13-1 lead. South Central’s first field goal came on a 3-pointer by Lily Boley, who paced her club with 14 points, at the 1:33 mark. Corydon Central’s Bailey Orme countered with a jumper that was followed by a basket by Millie Spencer to end the quarter at 15-6 in favor of the hosts.

Boley sank a pair of charity tosses, and Kiper connected on a three-ball to slice the deficit to 15-11. Later, Kiper sank a second bomb to make it a four-point game, but the visitors got no closer the rest of the way.

After a Boley bucket with 4:00 showing in the half, South Central’s only point for the next 12:10 (including the third quarter) came from Lexi Liebert’s lone point at the foul stripe.

Johnson said she noticed fatigue played a role in her club’s performance.

“I’m not sure it was a good idea to play last night,” she said. “I’m not sure it would have affected what happened here tonight, but I could tell that we got tired in the second half. We started fouling more, and I think the fouls were 10-0 at one point, and we were making lazy passes.

“We drove an hour and 40 minutes to get there and played one game and drove an hour and 40 minutes back, plus it was a school night, plus we were short-handed,” the coach said. “My thought in playing was at this point I don’t know if today is our last game and I want these girls to have every chance to play because I feel like we missed so much in the summer and we lack game-experience as it is and I don’t know when our last game is going to be this year. Anytime we could squeeze a game in I felt like we had to make the sacrifice to go.”

Johnson was still encouraged by what she saw early on.

“First half we shot more confidently that I hadn’t seen this year,” she said. “Last night I was disappointed in our effort, and tonight in the first half I saw more effort than I’ve seen in a very long time, so I told them the first half the pros outweighed the cons. I was super proud of how we played in the first half.”

Several of Corydon Central’s third-quarter buckets came after offensive rebounds, including a handful by Willoughby.

“Kayla does a nice job. She works hard and plays hard, and she’s been putting herself in the right position to get rebounds. Sometimes she gets a little too far under the basket, but she plays like a senior is supposed to play and that’s a good thing,” Conrad said.

Corydon Central senior Grace Erwin tallied 11 points, including a pair of threes, in her return to the court after a brief quarantine. Jessica Fulk scored nine, Orme had seven and Jaidon Cantrell scored six.

For the Lady Rebels, Kiper scored six and Millie Spencer had two.

Corydon Central shot 29 of 59 from the field, including 4 of 18 on threes, and had a 41-27 advantage on the boards (24-10 in the second half) while committing 12 turnovers. South Central was hampered by 7-of-27 shooting on the night. The Lady Rebels were 3 of 11 on triples and committed 36 turnovers, including 19 in the second half.

The Lady Panthers are set to be back in action Saturday at Clarksville (1-2) before a scheduled matchup at Paoli on Tuesday. The game against the Rams is tentative due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

South Central is scheduled to kick off a three-game home stand beginning Dec. 4 against Tell City (0-3), followed by Trinity Lutheran (2-1) on Dec. 5 and Providence (0-5) on Dec. 8.

New Albany bests Corydon Central

Host New Albany raced to a 20-4 lead in the first quarter to help turn back Corydon Central on Saturday. The Lady Panthers got to within seven at the break and to five soon after but couldn’t quite dig out of the early hole.

Junior guard Vanessa Burns led the hosts with 21 points while Corydon Central’s Ava Weber led all scorers with 27. Teammates Jessica Fulk poured in 18 points and Jaiden Cantrell added nine, as well for Corydon Central.

South Central                  6   11     0     6 – 23

Corydon Central           15   16   30   12 – 73

South Central (0-5) – Boley 14, Kiper 6, Spencer 2, Liebert 1.

Corydon Central (3-2) – Weber 20, Willoughby 14, Erwin 11, Fulk 9, Orme 7, Cantrell 6, Cannon 2, Ferguson 2, Russel 2.

3-point goals – Corydon Central 6 (Erwin 2, Kiper 2, Fulk 1, Orme 1).

Corydon Central            9   18   17   21 – 65

New Albany                  24   10   22   25 – 81

Corydon Central (3-3) – Weber 27, Fulk 18, Cantrell 9, Orme 4, Willoughby 4, Erwin 3.

New Albany (2-3) – Burns 21, Treat 18, Burke 16, Howard 11, Walker 9, Mitchell 3, Roland 3.

3-point goals – Fulk 2, Burns 3, Burke 2, Treat.