|Wed, Aug 20, 2014 12:50 AM
January 15, 2014 | 10:23 AM
Making the trip across the Ohio River Saturday to one of the most historic basketball venues in the country, Freedom Hall, gave the Corydon Central boys the opportunity to face one of the top teams from Kentucky.
Ranked No. 5 in Kentucky's single-class format, Covington Catholic was a scrappy team that out-rebounded Class 3A No. 4 Corydon Central 39-19 on its way to defeating the Panthers 63-43.
It was a battle of previous unbeaten teams, but the Colonels proved on the glass they were tough to handle in the inaugural Kentucky-Indiana Challenge Cup. They also forced a normally good ball-handling Corydon Central team into 17 turnovers.
Corydon Central's Mitchell Frederick goes for a reverse lay-in during the first quarter of action at Freedom Hall Saturday. (click for larger version)
"Sometimes you need a lesson after a lot of people have patted you on the back telling you how good you are," Corydon Central coach Jamie Kolkmeier said. "I thought we could have competed with this team, but there is no margin for error. They do this every night, in these type of environments. Hopefully, this is a learning lesson for us."
Covington Catholic, backed by a patriotic and highly vocal student section, didn't have things go their way in the early going.
Mitchell Frederick put in two early field goals, including a jumper, to give the Panthers a 6-2 edge. Covington Catholic made it a one-point game with a Bo Schuh 3-pointer, but it was Corydon Central that found its groove at the start.
A 6-0 Corydon Central run, with points from Tommy Wiseman, Bronson Kessinger and Frederick, gave the Hoosier team a 12-5 edge.
The Corydon Central lead was 14-8 after the opening quarter. But it was missed opportunities in that first eight minutes that Kolkmeier said could have changed the game.
"We had a seven-point lead, and we had four possessions where we stopped them," he said. "We didn't score in any of those. We turned it over twice, took an average shot once then took a really bad shot in the other one. When you play good teams and you get an opportunity to open up leads, you have to take advantage."
The second quarter was all Covington Catholic. Quick point guard Nick Ruthsatz, a Findley (Ohio) signee, had six of his team's first eight points in the frame. Corydon Central initially fended the Colonels off with points from Timothy Wiseman and Kessinger, but their combined four would be all the Panthers would score.
Covington Catholic ended the half on a 10-0 run to lead 24-18. Schuh had a steal and dunk, while offensive put-backs by Mark Schult and Schuh provided points.
"We got owned on the boards," Kolkmeier said. "We hardly got many second looks while (Schuh) and (Schult) got a lot for them. At times, they wanted the ball a lot more than we wanted it."
Out of the half, Covington Catholic extended that 10-0 run to make it 17 unanswered. The Colonels would lead 31-18 before Corydon Central strung together some offense. Tommy Wiseman had a strip and score, while Kessinger put in two straight buckets.
Back-to-back jumpers by Frederick were part of a 10-3 Panthers' run that cut Covington Catholic's lead to 34-28. Frederick was solid from the field, making six of eight field goals for 12 points.
"He's becoming more decisive and aggressive," Kolkmeier said of Frederick. "He got better at that today and, hopefully, will continue that. I want our guys, if they make a mistake, (to) make it aggressively, make it with confidence. At times, we had some timid guys early on."
Corydon Central would trail by eight going into the fourth quarter, but the Colonels gradually extended their lead.
For the game, the Panthers shot 42 percent (18 of 43) but were one of eight from beyond the arc and six of 12 at the foul line.
"It's a hard place to shoot," Kolkmeier said of playing in the 18,000-seat former home of the University of Louisville. "Some of it was the quality of shots and some of it was the venue. Some of it was being in a hurry and not prepared to shoot at times. We have to reverse the ball more."
Kessinger led the Panthers with 15 points and five rebounds. Timothy Wiseman had seven points, while older brother Tommy had six points, five assists and three steals.
Brayden Lander dealt with foul trouble and was held to three points, two rebounds and two steals.
Despite forcing Ruthsatz to commit eight turnovers, he also had 19 points, seven assists and four steals.
"They are a good team with good guards," Kolkmeier said. "Overall, they are a team that plays hard."
Schuh finished with 15 points, while Schult had 12 points and nine rebounds. As a team, the Colonels (12-0) had 14 offensive rebounds, leading to 12 second-chance points.
"It was a nice experience to play here, but we have to buckle down and get back to get ready for a really important game Friday night," Kolkmeier said. "That's what is important. We'll have to get better."
The Panthers (8-1) will return to Mid-Southern Conference play Friday when they host Class 2A No. 2 Clarksville at 7:30 p.m. They'll head to Crawford County the next night. Corydon Central and Clarksville, along with Brownstown Central and Silver Creek, are the remaining teams unbeaten in the early MSC season.
Kentucky went on to win the Challenge Cup, winning four of the five contests.
Results from the other games were: Girls — Elizabethtown (Ky.) 52, Indianapolis Roncalli 39; Boys — Elizabethtown (Ky.) 51, Barr-Reeve 40; Indianapolis Park Tudor 90, Hopkinsville (Ky.) 83 OT; Louisville Ballard (Ky.) 77, Guerin Catholic 71.
One of the top individual performances belonged to Park Tudor's Trevon Bluiett. Committed to Xavier, Bluiett scored 40 points to go with 12 rebounds, two assists and two steals.
Part of the proceeds from the event went to the Wounded Heroes Program in Kentucky. To go with the theme, each team had honorary military veterans as coaches with Gordan Stewart and Leon Mangum by the Panthers' side.
Corydon Central 14 4 12 13 – 43
Covington Cath. (Ky.) 8 16 14 25 – 63
Corydon Central (8-1) – Kessinger 15, Frederick 12, Ti. Wiseman 7, To. Wiseman 6, Lander 3.
Covington Catholic (12-0) – Ruthsatz 19, Schuh 15, Schult 12, VonHandorf 6, Heppler 6, Keller 5.
3-point goals – Corydon Central 1 (Ti. Wiseman); Covington Catholic 4 (Heppler 2, Ruthsatz, Schuh).