Ross put-back leads CC over former coach
Corydon Central led for a half-second Friday night in its game at Floyd Central, but it was the most important moment of the game, coming at the end of regulation. It happened when Panther sophomore Garett Ross put himself in the right place at the right time for a game-winning putback to give Corydon a 67-65 win.
‘I was getting a little worried there at the end,’ said Corydon coach Jamie Kolkmeier. ‘The same thing happened to us last Saturday. We had a game like this, and we had a stretch in the fourth quarter where I thought we were playing pretty well offensively and scoring, but we couldn’t stop them from scoring either.’
On the opposite side of the court, the feeling was the outcome should have been much different.
‘We had a couple of chances to blow them out,’ said Floyd Central coach Randy Gianfagna, the former head coach at Corydon Central. ‘We had seven-point leads twice. One time we missed a layup and another time we missed two free throws. That would have made it nine, and we could have pushed it to 10, and they hit threes both times.’
The game tightened up in the fourth with Floyd Central gaining no more than a four-point advantage. Hackemack put the Highlanders up by three, but a Dunaway three-ball tied things at 62. Floyd Central called timeout with :37.1 to go, but then turned the ball over again.
Corydon misfired, and Nick Biery converted a three-point play for a 65-62 Floyd Central lead with :12.6 left. Saulman countered with a long three, and the Highlanders called their final timeout with 2.9 seconds left. The Highlanders turned the ball over on the inbounds when the ball sailed into the bleachers without being touched and no time running off the clock.
Out of a time-out, on the inbounds, Adam Ward got off a shot that went over the basket and straight into the hands of Ross, who automatically put the ball back up and in as the horn sounded, giving the Panthers the win.
‘I was expecting him to at least hit rim,’ said Ross after the game. ‘It was just reaction. It was like a normal shot for me really.’
‘We didn’t want to settle for a fall-away or a long jump shot,’ Kolkmeier said. ‘We miss a layup or we miss a five-foot jump shot, but let’s put the pressure on the defense. We didn’t want to run anything fancy. We just stacked it up and tried to get one of our two guys the ball and go to the hole.’
‘You have to take your hats off to them,’ said Gianfagna. ‘We didn’t turn the ball over much all night, and then four out of the last five possessions were turnovers. Their end-of-game situations were better than ours.’
The Highlanders had a better start, grabbing an 11-4 lead on an inside run of six straight points in the paint. Dylan Harl then buried a three-ball, and Calvin Saulman followed with a pair of singles to cut the Highlanders’ lead to two after one quarter.
Floyd Central’s lead went up and down like rolling prairie country until the Highlanders got a three-ball from Ryan Adam to start a 7-0 burst for a 27-20 advantage. Saulman, however, quickly countered for the Panthers with a deuce and three. Isaac Brown added one from the charity stripe, and the Highlanders’ lead was back to one. Jeffrey Thompson and Adam finished out the final minute of the half with a 4-1 burst, Adam scoring with :01 left for a 31-27 halftime lead.
Corydon was 8 of 22 from the field in the half but half of those were from behind the arc.
‘Unfortunately, we get a little bit too zoned in on 3-pointers sometimes, but the reality is that’s where we score a lot of our points because we don’t really have a big post presence,’ Kolkmeier said. ‘We’ve got to find some ways to score in the paint.’
‘They made us play defense for a long period of time,’ Gianfagna said of his players, who missed all six of their 3-point attempts in the half.
Floyd Central’s lead fluctuated back and forth early in the third. For the second time in the game, the Highlanders’ advantage went to seven, 42-35. Dunaway buried a three, and Ross got two from the stripe, pulling the Panthers back within two. Floyd Central got the next four, but Saulman swished a three with :00.5 left, and the Corydon deficit was again back to three, 48-45.
‘We were supposed to not give any threes to (Dunaway) and (Saulman) and (Harl),’ said Gianfagna. ‘That’s what they were told. A couple of times we helped in the post when we shouldn’t have.’
Buddy McAfee led the Highlanders with 16 points, and Ryan Adam followed with 14 for the game. Kane Hackemack added 10 for the Highlanders, who hit 27 of 48 field goals and 10 of 15 free throws. The Highlanders had 10 turnovers.
Calvin Saulman led the Panthers with 23 points, and Brandon Dunaway poured in 12 on four threes. Dylan Harl added 10 points. Corydon Central connected on 21 of 46 field goals, but 11 of 17 of those were threes. The Panthers turned the ball over six times.
Harl injured his knee during the game, but Kolkmeier said he was unsure the extent of the injury.
‘I thought, the second half, Dylan Harl and Adam Ward carried us early in that late third quarter and early fourth quarter,’ Kolkmeier said, ‘and then Brandon, Calvin and Garett stepped up. It was just a key effort.’
‘It’s always fun to beat a Hoosier Hills Conference team,’ said Kolkmeier. ‘Our kids are really competitive. They have a lot of respect for Coach G, and they also want to beat him, too. They know he’s going to work hard, and they know his teams are going to be good and well prepared. They’re always motivated to work hard. I think it’s out of respect.’