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Panthers win catfight with Cougars, 52-42

North Harrison Sectional

March 05, 2008
The Corydon Central Panthers used the free-throw line to win the most important catfight of the season over county rival North Harrison, 52-42, in the first round of the North Harrison Sectional last Wednesday night.

North Harrison's Joe Bolin gets the ball knocked from his hands as he looks for a shot against Corydon Central's Adam Ward. The Cougars saw their season come to an end in a 52-42 defeat. (Photos by Wade Bell)
"North Harrison competed and fought back two or three times as well," Corydon coach Jamie Kolkmeier said. "It seemed like on two different occasions we had a chance to put it away in the second half and didn't get it done. That's them not giving up."

"Sectional play is usually the team that plays the best defense," Cougar coach Chris Martin said. "Corydon's defense tonight was fantastic. They didn't let us get anything going to the bucket. They kept us on the perimeter all night. The team that does that usually wins the ball game, and they did."

The first quarter was like two sumo wrestlers pushing each other back and forth, neither able to gain any ground on the other.

Garett Ross put in a deuce-and-one for a 6-4 Corydon lead, then Brandon Dunaway upped the advantage to four with two free throws. North Harrison missed its next two shots, then Jim Bob Schuler scored on a putback.

The second eight minutes resembled the New York Stock Exchange, as the teams traded points throughout the next eight minutes.

Joe Bolin swished two free throws and then a deuce to put the Cougars in front with 2:25 to go. Corydon used two free throws to tie the game at 14.

North Harrison's David Geswein forces this turnover as he knocks the ball away from Corydon Central's Dylan Harl in the first half.
David Geswein got two singles for North Harrison, but Dunaway also found two singles, leaving the game tied at 16 at the halftime break.

Shooting was a problem for both teams, with Corydon hitting just 3 of 18 shots and North Harrison going 6 of 18.

Dylan Harl drilled a three early in the third quarter to give Corydon a 21-18 lead. T.J. Sanders and Jordan Byrne took advantage of two fail conversions by the Panthers to push the Cougars back in front, 22-21. The Panthers, however, answered with a 9-0 run, to take a 30-22 lead.

North Harrison made up a bit of ground in the last minute of the period, with Schuler and Dylan Janes getting deuces to pull the Cougars within six with eight minutes left.

"We took the lead at 22-21 and had a little momentum and they went on an 8-0 run to make it 29-22," Martin said. "We came back and cut it to one. Tonight was one of those nights where, if we made two in a row, we couldn't make three in a row. We struggled offensively all night long."

Sanders pulled North Harrison within three early in the fourth quarter. Janes followed with another deuce, and Corydon's lead suddenly shrunk to one, 32-31.

After trading baskets, Harl sank a Corydon three-pointer and Calvin Saulman followed with a deuce-and-one, the Panther lead suddenly back to seven, 40-33.

The Cougars got no closer than seven for the remainder of the game and saw their season come to an end in a 52-42 loss.

"Sectionals are always momentum shifts," Martin said. "They came out of the timeout and Harl caught the ball out on the wing, and we left him and he hit a three. Instead of being down one, now you're down four."

The Cougars (5-17) shot just 16 of 44 (36 percent) from the field and made 9 of 14 free throws. North Harrison committed 13 turnovers. Two players off the bench who helped keep the Cougars in the game were freshman Dylan Janes (four points) and junior Maverick Becht (seven points).

"Those are two kids that know how to score," Martin said. "They're not tremendous scorers, but they know how to find the seam. They know how to get to the bucket. They run cuts when they're asked to run cuts and they get themselves into position to score. Both of them got layups at one point in time because they were just around the basket. We found them and they made a bucket.

"When you've got kids that will look to score, you're going to find a place to play them. That's why we gave them some extended minutes in the fourth."

Dunaway led the Panthers (8-14) with 15 points, and Saulman hit for 14. Ross added 10 for Corydon, who hit just 13 of 39 shots (33 percent), but 24 of 32 free throws. The Panthers also had 13 turnovers.

Martin said his players have come a lot way since the beginning of the season.

"We feel good, but we also feel like we let some get away, like the Paoli game on a last-second shot," he said. "We can be excited about some things, but in reality we have to look at ourselves as a team. How do we improve from where we were this year? Is it where we get in the gym this summer and do some things, or do we quit and decide basketball is not going to be played for several months, or decide to go back at it. The game is not four months out of the year anymore. It's 13 months out of the year."

North Harrison graduates five senior players.

"Our seniors are the base of this program," Martin said. "What they've done this year is lay the foundation. They've given us the opportunity to play some kids on the JV that maybe some years you would bring up.

"All the seniors, it's going to be a big void. You've got to replace Jim Bob on the post. You've got to replace Cody handling the ball, David Geswein's smarts, Jordan's athleticism, and Marcello (Guidetti), our exchange student, new with us this year, just a great young man to be around.

"There will be holes, but we'll play with the kids that have learned this year, and they'll step into the those roles and play better."

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