After a scoreless second quarter, which should have been a fatal blow, Corydon came back from a near-death experience to scare the life out of Jeffersonville on Thursday night.
The Panthers shot their way back from a 14-point deficit to within two points with 30 seconds remaining, and the Red Devils needed someone clutch to salvage a victory which should have been put away. They summoned Tori Handley.
When Taylor Sykes limped to the locker room following a hard foul, Handley was chosen to shoot critical free throws in Sykes’ stead, with her team clinging to a 52-50 lead. She calmly, coolly converted both, allowing the Devils to ultimately escape with a 56-53 victory at Johnson Arena.
GALLERY | Jeffersonville-Corydon girls basketball
Should it have been that close? Probably not. The Devils didn’t surrender any points in the second, and had a comfortable command early in the fourth with a 45-31 lead. That, with Corydon sharpshooter Megan Rowlett raining treys, was almost not enough.
Rowlett drilled four 3-pointers during the comeback, and a bomb by Madison Engleman slashed the deficit to 52-50. The Devils squirmed, but survived.
“We won, but we weren’t happy with the missed layups and the shooting percentage,” Jeffersonville coach Mike Warren said. “We did some really nice things. If we make half our layups we missed . . . it’s just one of those things.”
Jeffersonville’s shooting percentage was dismal in the first half (11 of 36) and most of the misses were inexplicable, from point-blank range. Of course, the Devils got a lot of those rebounds (15 offensive in the first half). That, and Corydon’s eight-minute drought, pushed the Devils in front.
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“I can’t remember them scoring off their first shot in the first half,” Corydon coach Michael Uhl said. “Everything was an offensive board.”
The Panthers (9-5) handled Jeffersonville’s press to score 17 first-quarter points. It was simple man-to-man pressure in the halfcourt that clamped Corydon in the second.
“We got out of that brilliant press I had us in,” Warren said. “We just looked flat. We just played halfcourt man. That’s our strength.”
“You have to give them credit,” Uhl said. “They had us pushed so far out on the floor, and we didn’t handle that very well.”
Chelsea Gibson paced the Devils (9-4) with 12 points while Sykes added 10. Hailey Lacy had 8 rebounds (7 of them on the offensive end) off the Jeff bench. The Devils converted only 21 of 60 shots but had 41 total rebounds (24 on the offensive glass).
Rowlett, who Uhl has to beg to shoot at times, totaled 6 treys and 21 points.
“They made a lot of great shots,” Warren said. “We held on for dear life.”
Justin Sokeland can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
Corydon (9-5) – Hayley Rennirt 1, Ashley Oliver 7, Cami Schmitt 4, Gracie Paden 5, Megan Rowlett 21, Allyssa Edwards 5, McKendra Fisher 7, Madison Engleman 3.
Jeffersonville (9-4) – Jaelyn Lee 6, Chelsea Gibson 12, Jasmine Lilly 5, Jacinta Gibson 3, Taylor Sykes 10, Jhala Henry 5, Hailey Lacy 3, Jaylynn Brown 7, Tori Handley 4, Amanda McKinney 1
3-point goals – Paden, Rowlett 6, Edwards, Engleman, Henry.