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SHELBYVILLE — Going into Friday night’s game at Shelbyville, the Jennings County boys basketball team was feeling a bit rusty.
The Panthers had gone two weeks without a game because of the weather and scheduling.
But despite their inactivity, the Panthers notched their second win of the year without a loss, a 71-57 victory that appeared to be headed for an offensive shootout early.
While Jennings County settled in defensively, Shelbyville (1-2) never found a defensive answer to the Panthers’ up-tempo style of offense. Jennings County put up 25 points in the first quarter and never let up from there.
Panthers head coach Joe Hartwell was pleased with the effort and was glad his team did not get off to a slow start after such a long layoff.
“We made some great shots early on,” Hartwell said. “Our guys got off to a great start and never let up.”
The only speed bump that rattled the Panthers was in the second quarter.
Up 25-14, Shelbyville decided to play up-tempo as well and started out on a 12-2 run to make it 27-26.
While Shelbyville was hitting shots, the Panthers had their only offensive lull of the night.
“We had to slow things down a bit after they were making shots,” Hartwell said. “We missed assignments on the defensive end and got a little lazy. I had to make sure to keep our guys focused.”
Hartwell did just that.
After Shelbyville got it to within a point, the Panthers regained their focus, forced Shelbyville into turnovers, and finished off the quarter strong with an 8-1 run to close out the half with a 35-27 lead. The Panthers started the second half on a 10-2 run to put the game away.
Brad Hunt led Jennings County with 21 points. Adrian Kirchner added 18 points, with 12 points coming from four 3-point field goals, and Dan Leach added 13 points.
“We had a solid night out there,” Kirchner said. “My teammates kept finding me for an open shot and we managed to piece everything together. It turned out great for us.”
When asked about the up-tempo offense, Kirchner said that it fits the Panthers’ style of play.
“It is something as a team that we feel more comfortable playing,” Kirchner added.
“Coach has always stressed that we need to shoot the ball with confidence,” Leach said. “Coming off a long layoff from your previous game, you have to stay focused and not lose your mentality, which happened for us tonight.”
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