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Panthers score rare double-win weekend

For the first time since the 2003 sectional, Corydon Central’s boys basketball team strung together two victories on the same weekend, holding off visiting Paoli on Friday night, then tripping host Brownstown Central on Saturday.
The victory over the Braves helped keep the Panthers’ Mid-Southern Conference hopes alive: Should Corydon Central win its final four league contests ‘ including this Friday’s home battle against Eastern (7-7) and a road scrum against Charlestown (8-6) on Saturday ‘ the team would lock up at least a share of the conference championship.
‘That’s obviously a goal, but we’re still going at it one game at a time,’ Corydon coach Jamie Kolkmeier said. ‘Our focus is on the next game.’
In Friday’s matchup against Paoli and its legendary head coach ‘ Harrison Co. native Joe Hinton ‘ Corydon Central opened the game by shooting 35 percent, then buckled down offensively to connect on 53 percent of its shots the rest of the way to roll to a 77-66 victory.
The Panthers (8-6) pounced on Paoli early, leading 16-4 at the first break and holding the visitors to 1-12 shooting.
To that point, Corydon senior Chad Backherms had scored half of his team’s points (eight) and was a dominant force inside for the host club.
The onslaught continued for the Panthers, which manufactured a 12-2 run midway through the second quarter on a deuce and trey by Jeremy Smith, a three-point play by Adam Ward, a goal by Backherms and a steal and lay-in by Scott Decker.
The two teams matched each other point for point the rest of the way as the Panthers led at the half, 37-16.
Corydon doubled-up Paoli in the third period, 22-11, thanks in large part to a 11-2 run.
The contest got interesting in the fourth quarter.
Paoli’s Donnie Kee knocked down a pair of free throws, which were followed by a goal and three-ball by Logan Laswell to set the score at 59-44.
Corydon went on a 10-0 run on baskets by Lucas Taylor, Calvin Saulman and Matt Key.
The Rams topped the effort with a 19-2 spurt that included four three-pointers in four attempts by Kee, Laswell and Chris Walbaum.
By the time Nolan Brightman ended the shutout streak for Corydon, the Rams had sliced the Panthers’ lead to 71-63 with 1:07 left.
Corydon outscored the visitors, 6-3, the rest of the way (with Walbaum adding another trey for good measure) to post the 77-66 victory.
‘We gave a few easy baskets there late with our young guys, but I was pretty pleased with the way we played,’ Kolkmeier said. ‘The only thing that really bothered me was that we’d have a good minute and a half and then we’d have a bad two minutes. Plus, we turned the ball over several times in key situations.’
Had Paoli shot as good of a percentage in the first half as it did in the second half, things could have turned out differently.
The Rams were 5-26 from the field in the opening 16 minutes, then drained 18 of 36 shots in the second half. They were 10-28 on threes.
‘I think we loosened up a little bit once we got behind by so much,’ Hinton said. ‘I was a cheerleader in that second half, doing everything I could do to keep my guys up.
‘We wanted to control their inside guys and make them shoot. Someone told us that they don’t score a lot of points, but I told them that they were probably going to tonight, because we were going to make them shoot from the outside. Tonight, they hit.’
Decker dropped in four bombs and had five assists to go along with his 16 points. Saulman scored 16 as well, followed by Key with nine and Smith with seven.
‘You can’t dare (Decker) to shoot from the outside like they did tonight,’ Kolkmeier said. ‘He’s hitting about 40 percent of his three-point shots.’
Kee had 18 and Laswell scored 16 in the loss.
On Saturday, the Panthers led gate to wire in a 48-42 win over Brownstown.
Saulman scored 13 and Backherms had 11 for the Panthers.
Corydon (8-6) led at the first stop, 16-9, then increased the lead by one at the half, 27-19. Brownstown shaved three points off the lead by the end of the third, but Corydon held strong down the stretch.
Kagney Fritz led all scorers with 20 points.
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