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RICHMOND — One statistic stood out to coach Joe Hartwell after Jennings County fell 74-57 to Fort Wayne North on Friday afternoon in the quarterfinals of the Bob Wettig Memorial Tournament.
The Panthers gave up 17 points off turnovers, and they lost by 17 points.
That was the difference as the tall, quick and athletic Redskins were too much for the Panthers.
“We couldn’t go out and pressure them because they’d go right by you,” Hartwell said. “They made some shots early that hurt us, and we turned the ball over.
“We have to take care of the ball a little bit better.”
The Panthers (4-3) will play Hoosier Hills Conference rival Bedford North Lawrence (2-4) in a consolation-round game at 9:30 a.m. today at Earlham College. If Jennings loses, it would play again at 3:30 p.m. at Earlham. If the Panthers beat BNL, they would play again at 4:30 p.m. at Richmond High School.
Jennings County was within 13-9 midway through the first quarter Friday before Class 4A No. 9 Fort Wayne North (10-0) scored nine points in a row to take a 22-9 lead. The Panthers answered with a 12-5 run to cut it to 27-21 and got to within 29-24, but the Redskins pushed the lead to 36-24 at halftime and weren’t threatened in the second half.
Brad Hunt led Jennings with 22 points and seven rebounds.
“A lot of points and baskets that I get come from passes from my teammates,” Hunt said. “They do a good job of spacing the floor and getting ball reversals so I can find an open spot to seal a guy, and then players like A.D. Kirchner and Hunter Euler, players like that do a great job of finding the right angle to get me the ball. I’ve been working with my coaches on post moves and sealing the right way so I can get an easy, quick move to the basket.”
Hunt had been held to four points in Thursday’s opening-round win against Connersville.
Hartwell said the Panthers’ shot well early and that prevented the Redskins from doubling Hunt.
“When you double him, it opens up shooters,” Hartwell said. “We haven’t been shooting the ball all that well, but tonight, we shot the ball early well, which meant they couldn’t double our posts and that allowed him to score a lot more points.”
Euler scored 10 points off the bench for the Panthers. Freshman Tyler Vogel came off the bench to add nine points.
“Hunter was aggressive on the offensive end, which we need him to be, and Tyler has been making shots for us lately,” Hartwell said. “It’s good to see him put it through the rim again.”
“We played very good team ball,” Euler said. “We had some tough turnovers, but we got the ball pushed around and were finding anybody who could get a shot for us.”
Fort Wayne North outrebounded Jennings 33-24. The Panthers had trouble stopping Tre’vion Crews, who went 12 of 15 from the field and scored a game-high 27 points.
“They were hitting shots, and we weren’t getting out on defense,” Euler said. “They were a tough team. That (Crews) is a good player, and we couldn’t get him shut down.”
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