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Panthers upend NH as fur flies

December 05, 2012
There was a lot of talk about Friday night's boys' basketball match-up between North Harrison and Corydon Central, and the game lived up to every word as the host Panthers pulled ahead in the third period to secure a 63-55 win. It was a night of a lot of flying fur and a very noisy gymnasium.

North Harrison junior Cory Smith (12) gets some serious air as he puts up a shot over Corydon Central’s Tommy Wiseman (11) and Brayden Lander in the first half. Photo by Wade Bell
"I was very proud of our effort, but we still have a long way to go in terms of execution and being the disciplined team we want to be at the end of the year," North Harrison coach Greg Walters said. "I truly believe by the end of the year we'll be a team that is very competitive. We're competitive now. We've just got to find that next gear."

"We've just got to keep cleaning stuff up, getting better and not putting ourselves in a position to hoping get to the point to where we're not just hanging on," Corydon Central coach Jamie Kolkmeier said. "Get closer at trying to put 32 minutes together."

North Harrison controlled most of the first quarter but just slightly. Joseph Hinton gave the Cougars their biggest lead of the quarter, 10-5, when he hit a medium jumper, but the Panthers fought back to tie the game at 17 by the end of the period.

Cory Smith sandwiched a pair of three-balls around a Brayden Lander deuce to push the Cougars in front 23-19 early in the second period.

Again the Panthers came back, briefly taking a one point edge, 24-23, on a three by Timothy Wiseman. Corydon Central stayed in front until Hinton sank two freebies at the end of the half, as the Cougars took a 29-28 advantage to the locker room.

Walters said there were times when communication was a problem and not all of his players were on the same page.

"I couldn't even count on my hands how many possessions where we've got four guys running the play but the other one didn't hear it because of the crowd noise," Walters said. "Or we're trying to switch our defenses and we didn't exactly get it communicated. We wanted to pressure them a little bit more and do some things, but kids get in the moment out there and couldn't hear me. Those are all things to work on."

The Panthers got the upper hand in the third period, with Lander scoring twice to give Corydon Central a 36-31 advantage. This time, however, the Cougars rallied, with Smith putting in a three for a 39-38 edge. At that point Corydon Central 6-7 center Bronson Kessinger took over inside and scored the last seven points of the period, as the Panthers took a 45-39 lead.

"There was really a stretch in that third quarter where, if we could have buckled down and executed and got the ball to the third or fourth side of the floor and played drive-and-kick basketball, we would have executed a lot more offense," Walters said. "There was a stretch there we didn't get it."

Corydon Central kept the Cougars at bay in the fourth and eventually pushed the lead to double digits when Kessinger sank a pair of freebies for a 57-46 advantage. The Cougars could get no closer than eight and fell, 63-55.

"I was really proud of our effort and proud of the way we played," Walters said. "We just need to get that margin of error down and continue to execute in practice. We'll see it on the court (the) rest of the season."

Smith led all scorers with 28 points, and Hinton finished with 12. The Cougars hit 17 of 56 field-goal attempts (30 percent) and 11 of 15 free throws. North Harrison committed 14 turnovers.

"Going into the game, we knew we had to score about 60 points to win it," Walters said. "Our offense just came to a halt. We're trying to run, and we kind of had that communication breakdown. We didn't feel like we could fill our lanes. We didn't push the ball up the side. It's just some different things we can go back and watch tape that we'll have to see to work on and get better."

Kessinger led Corydon Central with 22, and Lander finished with 15. The Panthers put in 21 of 46 shots from the field (46 percent) and 17 of 24 from the stripe, with Kessinger cashing in on eight of nine attempts. Corydon Central turned over the ball 16 times.

"The guys are disappointed, and we're not happy with losing," Walters said, "but, at the same time, we're going to continue to work hard."

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