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Cougars start fast, finish strong, 60-37

Cougars start fast, finish strong, 60-37
Cougars start fast, finish strong, 60-37
North Harrison’s Ethan Oakley operates near the basket during the second half of North Harrison’s 60-37 win at Corydon Central last Wednesday night. Oakley recorded a double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds for the Cougars. Photos by Chris Timberlake
Chris Timberlake, Staff Writer, [email protected]

The first five minutes of last Wednesday night’s Big Cats hoops contest couldn’t have gone any better for North Harrison or any worse for Corydon Central.

The Cougars got scoring from four different players and parlayed a slew of Panthers’ turnovers into a commanding 14-0 lead en route to a 60-37 Mid-Southern Conference victory.

Cougars start fast, finish strong, 60-37
Corydon Central’s Bryce Weber drives near the top of the key against North Harrison’s Sawyer Wetzel during the first half of last Wednesday night’s game.

“Sometimes you get a big lead at the start and then everybody relaxes and feels like they don’t have to work any more, and then there’s so much time left in the game that they get back into it,” said North Harrison coach Lou Lefevre. “But we’ll take it. I’m not going to turn that away. We got the big lead and never let them get back into it, so that was a good thing.”

The lead ballooned to 20-2 later in the quarter before the Panthers cut it to 22-7.

For Corydon Central coach Joseph Hinton, whose team fell to 1-3, it was an all-too-familiar sight.

“We haven’t had a good start all year,” said Hinton. “I was expecting maybe a little something different tonight, but it didn’t work that way. We’ve been down every single game so far the first part of the game. We’ve got to get over that hump. It was 10-0 before we had a chance to score the basketball, so it was pretty disappointing.”

North Harrison’s Sawyer Wetzel (10) and Logan McIntire (8) combined for 18 of North Harrison’s first-quarter points, while Tyler Fessel scored the first 10 for Corydon Central.

McIntire tallied 21 for the game, with Wetzel getting 17 and Ethan Oakley posting a double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds.

“Sawyer is really good at finishing strong,” said Lefevre. “He had some awesome finishes through fouls or going up strong through two people. And Logan had some really pretty finishes around the rim …

“Ethan Oakley made some big plays for us, too,” he said. “We got a lot of contributions from a lot of different people, and that hasn’t always been the case so it was nice to get several different people chipping in on offense.”

North Harrison shot 58% from the field on 25 of 43, including 68% (23 of 34) inside the arc, and owned a decisive advantage in rebounding, 32-14.

The Cougars (4-2) never relinquished their double-digit advantage. The closest Corydon Central got after the slow start was 27-16 on an Anthony Martin three-pointer midway through the second quarter. The Panthers made just four of 17 three-point attempts on the night with three of those makes coming in the second quarter.

“I think they’re a better shooting team than they showed, and I’m not sure it was really because we were making them miss a lot,” said Lefevre. “They got some open looks that they normally make. We were fortunate. Where we did a good job was that we got the rebound most of the time the first half. They didn’t get second chances.”

Hinton lamented his team’s shot selection.

“We’re taking quick shots. We’re not moving the basketball,” he said. “We can get an open three at any point because as of right now nobody’s really guarding us at the three-point line. If we run some offense and get an inside-out play where we’re kicking the ball out, we made those shots tonight but we’re not going to make the shots where we just pass it to somebody and then throw it at the goal.”

North Harrison solidified its lead in the Mid-Southern Conference race by improving to 3-0 while Corydon Central slipped to 1-1.

“I think we’ve won it once in the last 30 years so it would be a nice thing to be able to say we won a conference, but we have a long way to go and there’s several teams that could beat us if we don’t play well,” said Lefevre. “We’ve already shown that we’re beatable. Teams have beaten us, and a couple of them have beaten us badly.

“But it’s fun to be in first place,” he added, “and it’s fun trying to defend it and hold on to it.”

North Harrison              22   11   16   11 – 60

Corydon Central             7   11     9   10 – 37

North Harrison (4-2, 3-0 MSC) – McIntire 21, Wetzel 17, Oakley 10, Hatton 9, Fessel 2, Schneider 1.

Corydon Central (1-3, 1-1) – Fessel 12, Martin 10, Weber 6, Fowler 2, Holton 2, Kaiser 2, Vaughn 2, Ables 1.

3-point goals – North Harrison 2 (McIntire 1, Oakley 1); Corydon Central 4 (Fessel, 2, Martin 2).