NORTH VERNON — The Jennings County boys basketball team faced an unstoppable force Friday night.
Batesville sophomore Bryan Hoenig scored 41 points to lead the Class 3A No. 8 Bulldogs to a 73-62 victory against the Panthers.
“Hoenig went nuts on us tonight,” Jennings County coach Joey Hartwell said. “Five different players tried to guard him. Sometimes you just have to tip your cap and congratulate the kid.”
After Jennings County (11-8) jumped out to a 15-10 lead after the first quarter, Hoenig scored 14 points for Batesville (16-2) in the second period to give his team a 32-30 halftime lead.
The Panthers battled back, and with 3:45 left in the game Dan Leach hit a 3-point shot that gave Jennings a one point lead. The advantage was brief, as Hoenig responded by scoring eight unanswered points to give Batesville a seven-point edge. Jennings County couldn’t challenge the remainer of the game.
“(Hoenig) was unguardable tonight,” said senior Bailey Sanders, who scored 19 points for the Panthers. “We had the momentum late in the game, and he took it away from us.”
Lack of rebounding also played a part in the loss, as Batesville took advantage of 13 second-chance opportunities in the final 11 minutes of the games.
“Too many times, we didn’t get the rebound and their second chance opportunities killed us,” Hartwell said. “We looked like spectators out there, watching Hoenig play ball.”
“Rebounding wasn’t close tonight,” Jennings sophomore Caleb Eder said. “We can’t let that happen. We’ve given us this many points in games before and won. We didn’t get any second chances tonight.”
The contest was the final home game in the high school careers of seniors Sanders, Tommy Taylor, who contributed 11 points, and Bryson Mills, who added seven points to the Panthers’ effort.
The trio have been key pieces to Jennings’ revived basketball program, which saw the school average 15 wins the past two seasons, after only winning three games their freshman year.