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Lady Panthers douse Park’s early fire

Lady Panthers douse Park’s early fire
Lady Panthers douse Park’s early fire
Corydon Central senior wing Ava Weber, center, tries to get off a pass amid a trio of Forest Park defenders during the Class 3A No. 5 Lady Panthers’ 47-42 victory over the 2A No. 4 Lady Rangers last Tuesday night. Photo by Brandon Miniard
By Brandon Miniard, Sports Writer, [email protected]

As the girls’ basketball regular season enters the final stretch, the Corydon Central Lady Panthers began the countdown to the postseason with a showdown of top five programs.

The Class 3A No. 5 Lady Panthers made the nearly hour-long trip on Interstate 64 to Ferdinand last Tuesday for a late-season matchup against Class 2A No. 4 and defending 2A state champion Forest Park. The Lady Rangers had a strong host advantage as they came into the contest undefeated when playing on their home court.

Within the confines of Buechler Arena, two of the top programs in the southern half of the state engaged in a contest that was a wrestling match under the basket and a fire fight from the perimeter. In the end, it was the visitors who pushed their way to the top, taking the lead for good in the fourth quarter as they escaped Ferdinand with a 47-42 victory.

If the old adage “Live by the three, die by the three” meant anything in this game, it meant the hosts were living large to open the ballgame. Leading the early barrage was 6-foot-2 power forward Amber Tretter, who scored 16 points, 12 of which came from downtown. Lydia Betz added to the early onslaught with a triple of her own along with a bucket from Danielle Eckert.

The Lady Panthers had issues getting on the scoreboard, managing only a pair of free throws from senior wing Ava Weber before the game’s first timeout. Out of the quick breather, senior guard Bailey Orme knocked down a triple while junior forward Morgan Adams added a bucket. Sophomore guard Josie Vaughn joined in the three-point scoring as time wound down, doing what many fans during half-time entertainment failed to achieve as she banked in a half-court heave at the buzzer, cutting the opening deficit to 21-12 in favor of the hosts.

“(Forest Park) came out hot and were hitting shots off of one pass, which wasn’t necessarily in our scouting report,” Lady Panthers’ assistant coach Dakota Brooks said. “Tretter had four threes in the first quarter, and that’s tough to bounce back from.”

After scoring 21 points in the opening frame, the Lady Panthers’ defense adjusted in the second half, allowing only a three-pointer each to Lydia and Katlyn Betz. Vaughn opened the frame with her second triple of the half, while Weber posted six points, sending both sides to the locker room with a 27-21 Lady Rangers’ advantage.

The Lady Rangers looked to maintain control of the lead with a Tretter triple along with five points from Gabey Gray and a free throw from Katlyn Betz. The Lady Panthers foiled those efforts with another six points from Weber and five points from Vaughn. Adams followed by knocking down a corner triple with about a second remaining in the period, cutting the deficit to a one-point host lead, 36-35.

“Defensively, we were trying to take away what (Forest Park) was trying to do, control what we can control and not lose track of shooters,” Brooks said. “Knowing where we are defensively and doing what we do best, which is pressuring the basketball. In the second quarter, I think we got four turnovers off of 12 possessions. That’s what we talked about, and I think it paid off in the second half.”

Vaughn followed Adams’ lead as she began the fourth quarter with a corner trey to give the Lady Panthers their first lead of the night. Vaughn had five points in the frame, along with seven from Weber and a freebie from Adams. It was just enough against the Lady Rangers, who managed only buckets from Eckert, Gray and Carley Begle, giving the visitors a tight 47-42 victory.

“We want to be playing our best defense. The offense is going to show up and be good, but, defensively, we want to take away what other teams want to do,” Brooks said. “Holding a team to 21 points a quarter is how you win sectional games. Holding teams to an average of seven points a quarter is where we want to be right now defensively.”

Sixteen of Tretter’s team-high 19 points came in the first quarter to lead the Lady Rangers. Weber led all scorers with 22 points, three rebounds and three assists, surpassing the 1,500-point plateau and moves into the program’s top five in career steals and rebounds, as well as top 15 in assists. Vaughn followed with 16 points, four boards and five dimes.

The Lady Panthers finished the previous week with a 46-30 victory over sectional-foe Madison Consolidated and began the current week by closing out Mid-Southern Conference play in Ramsey against rival North Harrison yesterday (Tuesday). They will conclude the penultimate week of the regular season on Saturday afternoon when they head to Floyds Knobs to take on Floyd Central. Tipoff is set for 2:30.

Corydon Central     12 9 14 12 – 47
Forest Park   21 6 9 6 – 42
Corydon Central (17-2) – Weber 22, Vaughn 16, Adams 6, Orme 3.
Forest Park (16-3) – Tretter 19, Gray 7, L. Betz 6, K. Betz 4, Eckert 4, Begle 2.
3-point goals – Corydon Central 6 (Vaughn 4, Adams 1, Orme 1); Forest Park 8 (Tretter 5, L. Betz 2, K. Betz 1).