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Issue of September 10, 2014
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Near flawless Dragons oust Corydon


March 12, 2014 | 09:36 AM

A halftime wardrobe change by the Corydon Central student section couldn't prove to be a distraction for the Silver Creek boys' basketball team.

The Dragons were in the zone and didn't come out of it Friday night.

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Corydon Central's Brayden Lander drives for a field-goal attempt against Silver Creek Friday night. (click for larger version)
In the Class 3A North Harrison Sectional semi-final, Corydon Central trailed for much of the game to Silver Creek and, when the Panthers attempted to rally, the Dragons fired back.

Silver Creek would post 28 points in the final quarter, making 19 of 20 free throws in the stanza, to end No. 6 Corydon Central's season. The Dragons won, 74-51, avenging a 53-46 Corydon Central win two weeks prior.

"They played great," Corydon Central coach Jamie Kolkmeier said of the Dragons. "They did pretty much everything well. They out-willed us a little bit at times. They are so athletic; they went and got things."

Out of the gate, the teams traded blows. When Corydon Central would cool off a bit from the field, Silver Creek reacted with continuous jabs.

Corydon Central's only lead came early when Tommy Wiseman banged home a triple that was answered by Silver Creek's Gabe Bauer hitting one of his own. Bauer, a junior, was deadly from beyond the arc, making four 3-pointers.

Bronson Kessinger provided Corydon Central's last lead, at 5-3, with a field goal.

Going back and forth, Corydon Central's Mitchell Frederick tied the game at 10 with a triple. Early in the second stanza, Grant Robinson came off the bench to hit a left-corner 3 to even the game at 18.

Then came the first of several runs by the Dragons. Bauer swished another trey followed by scores through offensive rebounds by Zach Davidson and Jake Steele. Later in the frame, Bauer benefited from a long rebound and run out to give the Dragons a 27-18 lead.

Rebounding proved to be an issue for the Panthers. At the half, Silver Creek held a 14-6 rebounding edge then closed the game dominating the glass, 32-17.

While the rebounding margin may have glared, the opportunities for defensive rebounds were few for Corydon Central. Silver Creek shot the ball well for the game, going 25 of 40 (63 percent). The Dragons would lead, 35-24, at the half.

When the Corydon Central student section switched from a white-out to a black-out between halves, the Panthers ballers came out quick from the locker room.

Big man Kessinger scored a bucket followed by Timothy Wiseman sinking a 3-pointer to bring the Panthers to six points, 35-29. Within the game, Kessinger, a junior, would notch his 1,000th career point.

After calling a timeout, the Dragons went back into gear. A 7-0 run lofted Silver Creek ahead by double digits.

"We couldn't get stops," Kolkmeier said. "They did everything they wanted to do. They have a lot of weapons. When we took away one guy, the next guy made a play. When we took out the second guy, the third one made a play. Every time we left somebody open, they drilled it."

Corydon Central didn't go without a fight. Brayden Lander had three field goals in the third. Excitement and hope filled the Panthers sideline in the packed gymnasium when Timothy Wiseman picked up a steal and quickly drained a 3 as the buzzer rang. His bucket brought Corydon Central within eight, 46-38, to start the final quarter.

In the final eight minutes, Corydon Central struggled to made a dent in the deficit. All 20 of Silver Creek's free-throw attempts came in the final quarter; the Dragons made 19 of them. Nick Tinsley, who would finish with a game-best 21 points, made all 10 of his tries.

Bauer essentially put the final touches on the game with 4:40 to play with a 3-pointer, extending the lead at that time to 17 points.

Offensively, the Panthers couldn't keep up with the scoring by the Dragons. Corydon Central hit 20 of 51 field goals, including 6 of 16 from beyond the arc.

"Their length really bothered us in places we like to score," Kolkmeier said. "You get by one 6-5 kid and a 6-6 kid is there waiting for you next. Get by that one and a 6-4 kid is there. They challenged shots."

Kessinger was the lone player to reach double figures for the black and gold, tallying 13 points. Timothy Wiseman, Lander and Frederick had nine points each.

"We got a lot of mileage out of a lot of guys that played smart and made plays," Kolkmeier said. "They outplayed us for 29 of 32 minutes. We couldn't keep them off the boards."

Bauer would finish with 15 points, while Davidson had 14. Christian Reed closed with nine points.

The loss was a tough one for the Panthers.

"You can't take away the great accomplishments the guys had through the year, winning 19 games and a conference championship," Kolkmeier said. "It's sickening right now. It's a great group of young guys, and we don't have problems to deal with."

Silver Creek went on to defeat No. 7 Brownstown Central, 37-36, in the championship game, snapping the Braves' five straight years of winning a sectional between Class 2A and 3A. The Dragons look to keep the momentum of beating ranked teams going to the Hatchet House in Washington, where they'll face No. 1 Greensburg at 10 a.m. Saturday.

The season ends prematurely for the Panthers. As a team, Corydon Central won its first MSC title since 2000-01, ironically, defeating Silver Creek in the final conference game of the season. The Panthers also won the PSC Holiday Classic for the first time, along with defeating typical tough 4A schools Jeffersonville and New Albany.

"Nothing anybody can say will take away what this group has accomplished and the heart of which they played most of the year," Kolkmeier said. "I don't believe this was our most talented team, but it was pretty cohesive."

Coming into the season, the Panthers thought the potential for a great season was there.

"We thought we had a chance to be good, but I don't know if you ever think you'll be this good," Kolkmeier said. "We had so many question marks with two guys in our top six that didn't play last year."

The team will graduate three seniors, including starters Lander and Tommy Wiseman, along with Robinson, the Panthers' sixth man.

"Brayden Lander had a great career," Kolkmeier said. "He won a lot of games and scored over 800 points in his career and logged a ton of minutes. He fought his butt off every time he was out there."

Kolkmeier said Tommy Wiseman made himself better from his junior to senior year.

"It's unbelievable. He made a lot of great plays," Kolkmeier said. "The first game of sectional, Tommy came up big for us. He did that so much throughout the year."

Although Robinson missed last season, his return benefited the team.

"At times, you don't know what you'll get from some guys, but he always gave great minutes by playing hard every night," Kolkmeier said.

Three juniors are slated to return, including Kessinger. Kolkmeier said in almost every game, Kessinger is the best player on the floor and constantly draws attention. Timothy Wiseman was more comfortable his second year handling the point guard spot and greatly improved his outside shooting. Kolkmeier added Frederick got better as the year progressed after missing his sophomore campaign. Other juniors, including Dillion Simler and Quinton Coffman gave positive minutes when called into action. Kolkmeier called Simler the most improved player from the start to finish of the season.

"I'm proud of them," Kolkmeier said. "It was a great year. It's sick the way it ends. I'm thankful for the work the coaching staff put in and the athletic program."

Corydon Central 12 12 14 13 – 51

Silver Creek 16 19 11 28 – 74

Corydon Central (19-4) – Kessinger 13, Ti. Wiseman 9, Lander 9, Frederick 9, To. Wiseman 6, Robinson 3, Woods 2.

Silver Creek (14-8) – Tinsley 21, Bauer 15, Davidson 14, Reed 9, Garr 7, Durham 4, Steele 2, Howell 2.

3-point goals – Corydon Central 6 (Ti. Wiseman 3, Frederick, To. Wiseman, Robinson); Silver Creek 5 (Bauer 4, Tinsley).

Twitter: @CoryDemSports

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