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If the first quarter were like the first pancake, the Carroll County Panthers would have been within striking distance of the Owen County Rebels Thursday night, down only 32-29 in the final three quarters of play. Unfortunately, first quarters cannot be thrown out. The Rebels outscored the home team 16-2 in the opening eight minutes, giving them a 48-31 victory.
“We came out and, for whatever reason, I thought we played a little nervous. We missed a bunch of easy shots,” Carroll head coach Carroll Yager said.
The Panthers turned the ball over nine times in the first quarter and misfired from both inside and outside. Their first two points came off of a pair of free throws by junior Trey Boles with 1:57 remaining.
“I think they were really excited and right now some of them don’t understand how to channel that excitement into productivity,” Yager said. He said he is going to talk to each player individually about how to get ready for a big game.
Boles hit his team’s first basket of the game, a 3-pointer in the left corner with 50 seconds gone in the second quarter, 5-18.
The two teams hit the locker rooms with the Rebels up 27-11. Yager said he talked to his team during the break about execution and settling down.
The speech must have worked because the Panthers’ play was much improved over the opening quarter. Senior John Walls came alive for the Panthers, scoring 11 of his team-leading 13 points in the second half.
Yager said his team’s lack of experience was definitely a factor in the game. Owen returned all five starters from last year’s team and “were much closer to playing 32 minutes of basketball than we were tonight.”
“The first quarter changed the whole way we tried to approach things,” he said. “You come out and you hope that at the end of the first quarter it’s close. … We talked about the first four minutes would be important and one team would get control, and they got control.”
Despite the loss, Yager said he hopes his team will gain some confidence from the way they played in the final three quarters against the fourth-ranked team in the 8th Region.
“You can talk about things when you win that you need to improve on, but when you lose, it kind of gets their attention a little bit more,” he said. “… Hopefully we grew a lot from this. We’ve got a lot of guys that are inexperienced and they’re going to have to do some growing and learning. You always hope you can get some W’s along the way while you’re doing it, but that’s who we are and where we are right now.”
Carroll County will hit the road this week with a game against Henry County last night and against Gallatin County on Friday. Results from the Henry County game were unavailable at press time. The Panthers will come back home on Wednesday, Dec. 21 for the North American Stainless tournament. They play Silver Grove at 8:15 p.m.
Corbin injured, expected to return against Henry
Sophomore Dakota Corbin was injured in the third quarter when he fell to the ground under the basket going for a rebound and some Owen County players landed on top of him. He limped off the floor with assistance from his teammates, but could not put much weight on the knee. Head coach Carroll Yager said in an e-mail Tuesday that Corbin’s knee is much better. He practiced Monday and was expected to play in their game against Henry County Tuesday.
Carroll County (2-2):
John Walls – 13; Trey Boles – 9; Evan Mefford – 3; Jay Damron – 2; Travis Ellis – 2; Brandon Stewart – 2.
Owen County (4-1):
Sawyer Williams – 14; Stone Osborne – 10; Zach Ripy – 9; Justin Shelton – 6; Cooper Taylor – 5; Jarrod Ball – 2; Carson Williams – 2.