Corydon swarms over Lady Cats
By Wade Bell, Sports Writer
The Corydon Central Lady Panthers may have a big black cat for a mascot, but Tuesday night they acted like a swarm on angry hornets against visiting North Harrison resulting in a 30-point win. The Corydon Central defense was everywhere for the full 32 minutes and left the Lady Cats wondering what had just happened.
“We’ve committed a lot of turnovers the last two games, and we were trying to limit that number,” said North Harrison coach Jamie Kolkmeier. “We figured they would press us a lot. We just didn’t handle it as well as we wanted to.”
“We wanted to play tonight like we came out in the Forest Park game last week,” said assistant coach Dakota Brooks, who was subbing for head coach Josh Conrad. “In the Forest Park game, we played really well defensively. I felt like it’s kind of all one system. Everybody is on the same page. It meant a little more tonight to them but, defensively, we’ve had a good chemistry all season and I think it’s continued to improve as it’s progressed.”
The Lady Panthers were ready to put the game away hardly before it started. North Harrison hit just one of its six shots from the field, that one coming from Diana Burgher from behind the arc. Following that basket, the Lady Panthers went on a 14-0 run, outscoring North Harrison 19-3 in the period.
The second quarter was almost as bad as the Lady Cats got off just three shots from the field, hitting one of them, a three-ball from Chloe Shewmaker. North Harrison did manage to get a few free throws to go down, but the Lady Panthers outscored North Harrison 18-7 in the period for a 37-10 lead at halftime.
“We didn’t get in some formations and we panicked with the ball,” Kolkmeier said. “We didn’t pass as well as we would have liked to. Unfortunately, when you’re getting pressed like that, you can’t really get down and get in an offensive set like that.”
Brooks said Corydon Central’s JV team has played a big role in the improvements of the varsity squad.
“Our JV girls is pretty darn good, and our JV record continues to improve,” he said. “But that’s the girls that’s competing with our varsity players day in and day out. Commend them because there are days where our JV team makes our varsity team work. That just improved our varsity team. Hat’s off to the entire team for making the program better.”
The Lady Panthers continued to dominate in the third quarter, but North Harrison was beginning to find its range, hitting four of nine shots. Corydon Central, meanwhile, put in 5 of 16 attempts. Both teams struggled from the field in the fourth quarter with North Harrison hitting just one of its eight shot and the Lady Panthers missing all nine of their field goals. The Lady Cats made up only the slightest bit of ground and fell by the 53-23 margin.
“We’ve got to improve our guard skills as much as we can,” Kolkmeier said. “We’re trying to improve everybody’s ball handling. We’ve got to keep doing that and get everybody’s ball handling better and passing. It’s just vision and getting comfortable and getting confident.”
“The scores are lopsided, but I think that’s hats-off to our players for coming out and being successful and running our game plan, playing like those hornets that they do,” Brooks said. “There’s things you can continually do in those lopsided games to grow and look forward into the playoffs and sectionals.”
Ava Weber led the Lady Panthers with 19 for the game, and Bailey Orme followed with 14. Corydon Central put in 19 of 59 field goals (32%) and 9 of 13 free throws. The Lady Panthers had 10 turnovers.
“She’s been playing for three years now at the varsity level,” Brooks said of Weber. “She just continually improves. I can’t say enough about her. She’s phenomenal. Some of the things that she does we’re all looking at our assistant coaches and say, ‘How did that work?’ or ‘How did that happen?’ ‘How did she get that ball?’ ‘How does she move her body the way she does?’ She’s a heck of a player.”
Burgher led the Lady Cats with six points. North Harrison put in 7 of 26 from the field (27%) and 5 of 7 free throws. Turnovers were the big stat, with the Lady Cats coughing up the ball 32 times.
“We turned it over too many times,” said the North Harrison coach. “We had us down for 20 at halftime … You can’t turn the ball over that much and be in the game. When you lack some confidence and comfort with that, then you get a little tunnel vision and you don’t see it real well. It’s a lack of experience. We’ve got to continue to get better and everybody’s got to improve.”
Brooks said covering Burgher was a big part of his team’s game plan.
“She’s a great player and, obviously, one of the best players in the conference,” he said. “She has been for a while. She’s their leading scorer, and we just wanted to focus on her, not lose focus of the other girls, but we emphasized her because she is their leading scorer. (Pearson) can get hot in the corner, but we were emphasizing on Burgher and seeing where we go from there.”