Panthers trim rival SC in double-OT thriller, 99-85
While this year’s annual border war between rivals Corydon Central and South Central didn’t have the luster of past seasons, the action on the hardwood wasn’t any less exciting.
It was actually more eventful than could have ever been expected in a matchup that featured two teams with a combined record of 13-26.
Thirty-two minutes of basketball wasn’t enough to decide a winner. Four more minutes didn’t help, either.
Finally, in a second overtime, host Corydon got things rolling at the foul stripe to hold off the upset-minded Rebels, 99-85.
After hitting 30 percent from the charity stripe through the previous 12 minutes, Corydon hit all 13 of its tries on the final OT to snare the win.
Ryan Herndon, a junior swing man for the Panthers, notched a career-high 32 points on the night. He dropped in a pair of threes and went 6 for 7 at the line.
Corydon raced out to a 21-8 lead in the first quarter, only to fritter the huge lead and find itself trailing at the half, 35-29.
The comeback came thanks to an impressive three-point barrage by South’s Cody Jobe, Brandon Eschbacher, Jimmy Jamison and Derek Kaiser.
The Panthers went back on top in the third frame, and had to rely on some late heroics from three-point land from Herndon and Ashton.
Trailing by six with 54 seconds left in regulation, the duo bombed threes to make it a one-point game. Matt Key, a 6-3 sophomore, had a chance to win it for the hosts from the foul stripe with six seconds left. He hit just one of two frees to knot the contest at 68-all. A three-point try by South’s Derek Kaiser was just off the mark, sending the affair into overtime.
South Central scored the first six points of the first overtime on baskets by Dustin Hornickel, Chad McRae and Kaiser.
Just as quick as the Rebels jumped out on top, Corydon rallied on a two by Eric Haub, a free throw by Billy Saulman and a three by Herndon.
The Rebels rallied and wound up sending the affair into a second extra frame when McRae hit a shot with 26 seconds left.
The opening tip of the next overtime went to Herndon, who took two powerful dribbles and laid the ball up and in. Key followed with a pair of free throws.
McRae banked one from the top of the key, but Corydon would counter with free throws from Herndon and Ashton to take an 89-80 lead.
In the final OT, Corydon hit all 13 of its free throw attempts.
South could only manage to get within five the rest of the way as the Panthers posted the win.
‘We were buried and left for dead twice tonight,’ Corydon coach Randy Gianfagna said. ‘The kids battled and came back.
‘The thing I was most upset about was in the second quarter, two of the threes they hit our guys were not matched up. If they match up, they don’t get those shots.
‘Offensively, I was really pleased with Ryan tonight. I would say that’s the best game he’s probably played. He really attacked the basket, which is what we’ve been wanting him to do all along.’
South struggled all night from the stripe, hitting just 15 or 30 attempts.
‘Free throws have hurt us all year, and it’s not just one or two guys who missed them tonight. We spend a lot of time working on them and now sometimes I think the misses are becoming contagious,’ Rebels coach Greg Robinson said. ‘Jimmy (Jamison) is a 70 percent shooter from the foul line and his didn’t drop either.
‘I thought we did everything we needed to do to win the game. After the first period, we got more aggressive and got ourselves back in it and just didn’t make the shots when we needed to.’
Corydon shot 33 of 61 from the field, including 9 of 23 on threes, and sank 23 of 33 charity tries.
The Panthers whipped the visitors on the boards, 46-31, but committed 20 miscues to South’s 14.
Ashton and Key scored 16 points apiece, Lucas Taylor carded 10, Billy Saulman put in nine, and Eric Haub posted eight points in the win.
The Rebels hit 29 of 66 shots and were carried by connecting on 12 of 25 three-point tries.
South was led by Kaiser’s 24 points and Jobe’s 20. McRae had 10 points, Hornickel marked nine and Eschbacher had eight.