June 18, 2024

Separated by only a few miles on state road 37 in South-Central Indiana, the Paoli Rams were able to fend off a furious late rally by the Orleans Bulldogs to come away with a great conference win. The rivalry between these two schools was on full display by players, coaches, and fans alike as the atmosphere inside the Paoli gym was “energetic” to say the least.

Here’s How It All Went Down

Paoli came into this big rivalry game tonight shorthanded as they had two starters out with injuries and it showed going through the first quarter. Orleans opened the game on a 12-4 run with some great mid range jumpers from 6’2 sophomore Ian Hall and some timely offensive rebounds and put backs from 6’2 sophomore Xavier Alston. It looked as if the Bulldogs were going to run away with this one as early fouls and turnovers by the Rams turned into a lot of buckets for the Bulldogs. However as the theme of this roller coaster game will go, Paoli made a run at the end of the quarter, and would gain the momentum when 6’0 sophomore guard Fletcher Cole made a nasty pull up jumper from the top of the key at the buzzer.

The second quarter belonged exclusively to the Paoli Rams. They changed things up on defense and employed a 2-2-1 press and then fell back into a 2-3 zone that Orleans just could not figure out. It was eerily reminiscent of the way IU was unable to handle the Syracuse zone in the sweet sixteen all the way back in 2013. Along with their intense defense the Rams were lights out on the offensive side of the ball. Paoli gained the lead when 6’4 junior forward Isaac Cornett-McBride made consecutive 3 pointers from the top of the key on back to back possesions. This sent the Rams faithful into a frenzy and energized his team. Paoli would go on a huge run after this and end up going into half time with an 8 point lead.

The Bulldogs looked as if they were going to come out of halftime with a renewed energy as they scored the second half’s first 2 buckets and actually got the lead down to 4 when 6’2 freshman guard Rylan Crocker nailed a 3 with 5:30 to go in the 3rd. Unfortunately for Orleans fans this run would be short lived as the Bulldogs fell back into their old ways of the second quarter and could not move the ball or get any good shots against a terrific Rams defense. Paoli would end up growing their lead as they took a 37-27 lead into the final quarter.

The 4th quarter started exactly as the 3rd left off. Orleans was stagnant on offense and still could not do anything against the Rams intense pressure 2-3 zone. It seemed as if Paoli was going to run away with this one for an easy win, but as they say, It’s never over til it’s over. Orleans went on a frantic run and did everything they could do to come back. The Bulldogs were hounding the ball handler on every possesion, much to the disliking of a certain Rams fan sitting right behind us. The Dogs would use this intensity to come all the way back to within 3 behind some great play by Xavier Alston and Ian Hall. Ultimately it was not to be for the Bulldogs as they just didn’t have quite enough to overcome their poor play in the preceding quarters. Paoli would seal the win with a slew of free throws and the celebration was on. This was a great win for Paoli and a stinging loss for Orleans, who tried their hardest to get back into it, but fell just short.

Author’s Note

This game was the epitome of Indiana High School Basketball. The fans on both sides were as loud as can be (my ears are still ringing) and great defense and exciting offense made this game one fun one to experience. This was also a very personal game for SinSportsNetwork Lead Photographer and Analyst Corey Hall, as he had cousins on both sides in Ian Hall for Orleans, and Trey Rominger for Paoli. It really is a family affair down here in southern Indiana.

Box Score

Paoli Rams
PlayerNo.Fouls2pt FG3 pt FGFTAFTMTotal Points
G Fletcher Cole 143419718
F Isaac Cornett-Mcbride F202235316
F John Moon22310313
G Trey Rominger24340319
F Andrew Kumpf50210879
Caleb Jones32000000
Orleans Bulldogs
PlayerNo.Fouls2pt FG3 pt FGFTAFTMTotal Points
G Rylan Crocker10401003
F Ian Hall122420014
G Bryce Jones14430006
F Blake Love21510213
C Xavier Alston222704418
Justin Troutman4010002
Gage Dixon5000000
Hunter Williams11110002
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