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Jeffersonville tops Jennings County, wins HCC title

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JEFFERSONVILLE — Before Thursday night’s Hoosier Hills Conference boys basketball game, Jeffersonville honored former coach Mike Broughton and his 1993 state championship team.

The Red Devils weren’t as kind to Broughton’s current team.

Jennings County, where Broughton is now an assistant coach and athletics director, hung around for a little more than three quarters before Jeffersonville pulled away for an 86-66 win to wrap up an undefeated HCC season.

“We handled the pressure for the most part as well as we could, but late we kind of lost our energy,” said acting Jennings coach Joe Hartwell, who took over two games into the season when Broughton stepped back due to health concerns. “That pressure kind of bothered us, and we kicked the ball around a few times, and when that happens, they’re going to make a run and they made a run at the end.”

The Red Devils (15-3, 7-0) led 19-9 late in the first quarter, but the Panthers (11-7, 4-2) used a 9-3 run to cut the lead to four. Jeffersonville built the lead back to 49-36 midway through the third quarter, but Jennings rallied to within 55-48 in the opening minute of the fourth period.

From that point, the Red Devils’ pressure began to take effect. They used a 9-2 spurt to take a 14-point lead, and the Panthers never got within 10 again.

“We executed the game plan well,” Hartwell said. “We tried to make them shoot jump shots and tried to keep them in the half-court, and for the most part, we did that. We missed some chances to block out and get a run of our own, but we kept it close like we wanted to. Once they started getting up and down, that’s when they made their run.”

Bailey Sanders led Jennings with 22 points, while Dan Leach added 16 and Brad Hunt had 10.

Caleb Eder grabbed seven rebounds to lead the Panthers to a 23-19 advantage on the boards.

Darryl Baker scored 20 points to lead four Jeffersonville players in double figures. The Red Devils committed only seven turnovers, while Jennings had 19.

“We played hard,” Sanders said. “Coming in here before the game, coach said, ‘We need to walk in this locker room after the game and say that we played harder.’ Hopefully, we’re going to meet them later down the road in sectional, and if we play harder than they do, you can’t ask for much more.”

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