What a weekend it was for Jennings County Panther basketball!
The Panthers came into their first home game of the season following a hard fought loss at Columbus North, looking to impress the home crowd with win number one. Impress would be putting the game subtly, as the Panthers won 101-72. “We made great plays in transition, found the open guy, didn’t force anything. Really played hard and played well as a team,” noted Coach Josh Land following the big win. The biggest statistic that jumped off the page on the night was that all but two members of the entire thirteen member varsity squad scored points in the game, including six Panthers that were in double digits. “One of our weapons is our depth,” mentioned Coach Land. “I’ve got nine guys that are solid varsity basketball players, we’re working on number ten and number eleven.” Leading the way for the Panthers on Friday was senior Carson McNulty, scoring 20 points, including six made three pointers. Other scoring came from Carter Kent (16), Owen Law (13), Jacob Vogel (11), Lane Zohrlaut (10), Darius Thomas (10), Cole Marksberry (7), Justin Ramey (5), Cole Sigler (4), Keegan Manowitz (4), and Layne Suhre (1). The Panthers shot 61% on the night, 48% from three, and 59% from the charity stripe. Vogel led the Panthers with 8 rebounds and Kent with 7 assists and 4 steals.
Saturday was a road trip for the Panthers, as they traveled south to Sellersburg to take on Rock Creek Academy. Teams don’t want to live and die by the three point shot, but it seemed as though the Panthers fell victim to that. The team was still able to secure the win, albeit closer than most thought it would be, 55-48. “It was a hard fought game,” mentioned Land. “ Rock Creek is a good team. I know they are a 1A school and a lot of people don’t know much about them, but they’re an experienced team. I thought we forced some stuff early and didn’t get as good of looks as we should have. The third quarter, I felt we played better, we just didn’t make some shots, and that’s what let them hang around.” The Panthers had pulled away to 27-18 lead at the halftime, but the Lions of Rock Creek came out hard in the third quarter and scored 21 to the Panthers 14, making the game much closer than the halftime score would’ve predicted. Manowitz was the leading scorer with 19 points. Others scoring were Vogel (10), Ramey (8), McNulty (5), Law (4), Sigler (4), Kent (3), and Thomas (2). The Panthers shot 37% overall, 20% from three, and 71% from the line. Manowitz also led the team with six rebounds, seven assists, and three steals.
The Panthers are now set to host the Trojans of East Central High School on Friday. East Central is coming off their first loss of the season against La Salle on Tuesday. “East Central is more of a half court team. I wouldn’t be surprised if they play some zone against us. We’ve got to find a way to create tempo and make them play faster than they want to play,” noted Coach Land. Jennings County’s game against East Central will begin at approximately 7:30 p.m. on Friday in the Charles W. Hurley Gymnasium, with JV starting at 6:00 p.m. The Panthers will be back on the road at Austin on Saturday night. That game will also begin at 7:30 p.m. with the radio broadcast on 97.7 KORN beginning at 6:00 p.m.