|Tue, Mar 11, 2014 10:01 AM
September 25, 2013 | 10:50 AM
Corydon Central boys' basketball coach Jamie Kolkmeier was on hand Friday afternoon at Freedom Hall in Louisville at a kick-off press conference to promote the Panthers' participation in the inaugural Kentucky-Indiana Hall of Fame Challenge Cup.
On Jan. 11, five of Indiana's best high school basketball teams will take on five from their rival state to the south in historic Freedom Hall, the former University of Louisville basketball venue.
"All of our kids are pretty excited about this," Kolkmeier said. "They've been talking about it and telling people. It'll be a great opportunity."
Approximately 14 NCAA Division I prospects and numerous other college recruits are scheduled to participate in the competition between two tradition-rich basketball states.
"Indiana is very excited to be part of this and get this new tradition started between these two great basketball states," Tom Beech of the Indiana Basketball Coaches Association said.
Five teams from the state of Indiana will try to win the inaugural Kentucky-Indiana Hall of Fame Challenge Cup, which will be played Jan. 11 at Freedom Hall in Louisville. Photo by Brian Smith
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Corydon Central was Class 3A Sectional runners-up last year with four lettermen returning. Among the key returning starters is 6-foot-7 junior Bronson Kessinger. He averaged 16.1 points and seven rebounds per game last season and has several Division I offers. Brayden Lander is poised for a senior season after averaging 10.8 points and 4.6 rebounds, a player Kolkmeier said has garnered college interest. Also returning are the Wiseman brothers, senior Tommy (3.5 ppg) and junior Timothy (6.2 ppg).
Corydon Central's opponent in the event will be Covington Catholic, a 27-7 team last year that returns five of top eight players. Nick Ruthsatz, a Division II Findlay (Ohio) commitment, led the team at 19 ppg. The program plays a challenging schedule, including teams from Cincinnati which is near the school.
"It gives us another opportunity to play another quality opponent, which is what we look for as much as possible," Kolkmeier said. "It should provide a lot of motivation to get our season going on the right path. The Christmas break area for us is really congested for us. We'll have about six games in a 2-1/2 week period. While that is a busy time, and kids can get mentally tired, I don't know how you can be mentally tired for something like this."
Among the other participating teams, several college prospects will see action: Guerin Catholic's Aaron Brennan, Park Tudor's Trevon Bluiett (UCLA commitment), Hopkinsville's Jaqualis Matlock along with Ballard's duo of Quentin Snider (Illinois) and Kelan Martin.
"There are going to be a lot of great players play on this day," Kolkmeier said. "Guerin Catholic has some really great players and, of course, the Bluiett kid and the kids from Ballard. We saw Ballard over the summer, and they have a lot of talent. I think we have a couple of really good players as well. It'll be a whole lot of fun, and we're going to work very hard to be ready for it."
The 2014 Challenge Cup will be played in honor and support of three causes: supporting American veterans through the Kentucky Wounded Hero's Program, along with the Kentucky and Indiana Basketball Hall of Fames.
Admission for the event will be $10 with general admission seating (an announcement about advanced tickets to be sold at Corydon Central will be made at a later date). Veterans and immediate family members will receive complimentary admission. Freedom Hall will be split with Indiana fans on one side and Kentucky on the other.
"What a great opportunity to play in this environment and setting," Kolkmeier said of playing in Freedom Hall. "We want to support our kids and, luckily, we don't have to ask our fans to drive a long distance. It's a Saturday afternoon drive to Louisville and, hopefully, they make a day of it."
Plans for the event include between game autograph sessions by Kentucky and Indiana high school basketball legends, a veterans' job fair and a veterans' health and wellness mobile unit.
Games will run consecutively beginning at 11 a.m. with 25 minutes between each game. The schedule will be: Game 1— Elizabethtown (Ky.) vs. Indianapolis Roncali (girls); Game 2 — Elizabethtown (Ky.) vs. Barr-Reeve; Game 3 — Covington Catholic (Ky.) vs. Corydon Central; Game 4 — Hopkinsville (Ky.) vs. Indianapolis Park Tudor; Game 5 — Louisville Ballard (Ky.) vs. Guerin Catholic.