By CHRIS STONER
It was a near perfect Hollywood script as Charlestown’s first-year head coach Michael Prichard tasted victory in the Pirates’ season opener Friday night.
The host Pirates thumped defending sectional champion Corydon Central 50-37 to break a three-game losing streak to the Panthers.
“Yeah, it feels pretty good,” Prichard said with a grin. “We made it known to our players that we hadn’t beaten [Corydon] since 2009 and they took that to heart. This win means a lot to me personally because I graduated from here. You never know how you’re going to be received when you come back. I love this place. It means a lot to me.”
The Pirates got things done the old-fashioned way — with defense, rebounding and free throw shooting. The home team held Corydon to 31 percent shooting, dominated the glass to a 45-24 tune, and hit 13 of 14 fourth quarter free throws to seal the Mid-Southern Conference win.
“I know Justice [Burden] led us underneath and had a ton of rebounds and we needed every one of them. That’s awesome,” Prichard said of the rebounding advantage. “I don’t know what else to say. Just awesome.”
Leading by just one at halftime, the Pirates grabbed control of the game in the third frame. Kaitlynn Henning scored seven of her game-high 18 in the third as Charlestown shot 61 percent and led 35-27 heading to the fourth.
“I told them they had played a good half and had held the defending sectional champs to just 15 in a half but don’t be satisfied with that,” Prichard said of his halftime talk. “It was a quiet halftime. We told them to just take one play at a time and we still needed to put some more points on the board.”
Henning was not only the game’s high scorer, but she also shut down Corydon’s leading scorer Marie Rothrock. The Panthers top gun didn’t score until the 5:01 mark of the third period and eventually fouled out with just seven points.
“She flat worked Rothrock on defense,” Prichard said of Henning. “I mean that was her first priority tonight, to control her. Rothrock’s a great player and, I mean, that girl did everything I asked her to do. I didn’t know if she could sustain the effort on both ends. I’m so proud of her and the whole group.”
Henning was 9 of 10 at the foul stripe, including a perfect 6 of 6 in the final stanza.
“Kaitlyn gave us such great stability in the second half,” Prichard said. “I think right now Kaitlyn and Justice are two of the best players in the Mid-Southern Conference.”
Charlestown will next hit the hardwood Tuesday at New Washington.
CHARLESTOWN 50, CORYDON CENTRAL 37
Corydon Central 10 5 12 10—37
Charlestown 10 6 19 15—50
Corydon Central (1-1, 0-1 MSC): Shelby Wilkerson 3, Aly Chambers 7, Chelsea John 1, Taylor Frederick 6, Ashley Oliver 7, Marie Rothrock 7, Reagan Mosely 6.
Charlestown (1-0, 1-0): Kaitlyn Henning 18, Lexi Logsdon 5,Shelby Goedecker 5, Jessica Farmer 8, Megan Brooks 6, Justice Burden 8.
3-point field goals: Corydon Central 2-10 (Chambers 2), Charlestown 1-9 (Henning).
Rebounds: Corydon Central 24, Charlestown 45.
Turnovers: Corydon Central 11, Charlestown 17.
Field goal shooting: Corydon Central 13-42, Charlestown 14-43.
Free throw shooting: Corydon Central 9-23, Charlestown 19-24.