Panthers run away from Lady Lions at regional

CHARLESTOWN – Many a Rushville Lady Lions’ fan probably heard the name Ava Weber in their sleep Saturday night.
Hours earlier, the talented Corydon Central forward had dropped 34 points (13 baskets in 14 tries, 8 free throws) before exiting the game two minutes into the fourth quarter of what would be a 68-40 win for the 25-2 Panthers. The Charlestown gymnasium was a stumbling block for coach Melissa Marlow’s squad for a third straight year as a regional title was not to be.
The Panthers, relentless from opening tip, led 17-6 after eight minutes and forced Marlow to call timeout at two intervals. Rushville woke up offensively in the second period but still trailed 39-21 at the midpoint. By the time CC coach Josh Conrad pulled his stars, it was a 65-32 affair.
Weber singlehandedly put the Harrison County group up 5-0 with a traditional 3-point play and steal at halfcourt followed by a conversion. Off a Belle Gossett screen, sophomore Leonie Boyer put the Lions in the scorebook at the 5:51 mark. But Weber answered with a bucket off an inbound set and her runout at 4:34 triggered the game’s first timeout.
Two free throws by Weber and the senior’s assist to teammate Bailey Orme made it 13-2. Boyer then passed to Briley Munchel for two, though quick responses from Orme and Weber led to another play stoppage at 1:47. A pair of Gracie Buzzard foul shots rounded out the frame.

Corydon scored again in transition to open the next stanza. The senior combo of Munchel to Gossett netted a three and made it a 10-point deficit at 19-9, and Gossett hit 1 of 2 at the line to put RCHS within single digits for the final time.
A backdoor cut by Weber sent the Panthers up 11 and sharpshooting Josie Vaughn hit from the arc for a 24-10 CC advantage. Weber then went across the lane, finishing with her left hand. Orme to Weber made it 28-10 and Marlow had no choice but to call time. The lead grew to three touchdowns after three Weber charities.
Rushville found the net with frequency in the half’s last 1:14, though first suffering two more triples by Vaughn and 39-14 margin. Boyer had a 1 of 2 FT trip and Gossett sank two more. Freshman Carly Senour popped a jumper and Boyer scooted in from the baseline for a goal.
The second half start was nearly identical to game’s beginning as Weber got another and-one chance and a Corydon steal made it 43-21. Boyer was first to score again as she completed a 3-point play. It was soon 47-24, however, with Weber driving in with her off hand. Another Weber field goal preceded a Senour triple. A timeout halted play at 51-28.
Vaughn connected for three more at the 3:48 mark of the third, followed by Weber’s fast-break hoop and her impressive fall-away for a 30-point Panther lead. The scoreboard read 61-28 after three complete.
A Boyer drive opened the last period and Marlow called time to get her seniors back in for their last rodeo. Senour hit another jump shot, with Boyer, Gossett, Munchel and Kiley Parsley scoring before the final horn.
Boyer matched Vaughn’s 16 points to go with six rebounds. Gossett 8, Senour 7, Munchel 5, Buzzard 2, Parsley 2 was other Lion scoring.

RCHS finished at 14-14, Gossett and Munchel exiting the program as major cogs in three postseason runs.
Coach Marlow stated “”Our last game does not define what these young ladies have accomplished this season. These ladies have overcome a season of ups and downs this year. They worked hard last summer and have stayed together throughout the season encouraging each other and striving to achieve success. I have always said it is not where you start but where you end in a season that matters. I am nothing but proud of these young ladies! Our seniors (Belle Gossett, Briley Munchel, Regan Padgett and Tracie Stanley) have left their marks on the Lady Lion Program. They have been totally committed and bought into the Lady Lion Basketball Program. It is the job of our young kids to carry on the tradition!”

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