Posted on

Dragons push Panthers out of tourney

Dragons push Panthers out of tourney
Dragons push Panthers out of tourney
Corydon Central's Adam Ward loses the handle on the ball as Silver Creek's Matt Bonniville applied pressure in the second half. (Photo by Wade Bell)

Corydon Central boys’ basketball coach Jamie Kolkmeier was upset after his Panthers’ loss to Silver Creek in the semi-final round of the Class 3A North Harrison Sectional. He wasn’t upset with his players or anybody else. It’s a competition thing after the Corydon season ended 54-43.
‘You just want to be mad about not playing tomorrow,’ Kolkmeier said after the 54-43 loss to the Dragons. ‘That’s about the only thing I can feel right now, mad about not playing tomorrow night.’
The game also featured Panther senior Calvin Saulman scoring his 1,000th career point.
Corydon got the early lead until the Dragons’ started to trade baskets. Corydon freshman Brandon Dunaway scored late, tying the game at 8-all after the first quarter.
Spencer Robinson swished a 3-pointer to start the second period, giving the Dragons an 11-8 advantage. Corydon got just one of those back, and Silver Creek’s lead went to four when Matt Bonniville scored inside. Calvin Saulman fought back quickly, going inside to draw a foul and converted two free throws, then scored inside again to tie the game at 13-13. The Dragons called time-out, then came back to score the next seven points to lead 20-13. Chris Nichols got one back, then the two teams traded buckets in the final minute. Silver Creek took a 22-16 lead to the locker room at halftime.
Kolkmeier said he felt his team could match what the Dragons put out.
‘I thought we could do that,’ he said. ‘We didn’t hang on. We gave them a few offensive rebounds.’
Corydon’s shooting woes showed in the first half with the Panthers hitting just 5-of-18 field goals.
‘We had long droughts again where we couldn’t score,’ said the Corydon coach. ‘For some reason, it’s just hard for us to put it in the hole sometimes.’
Silver Creek extended its lead early in the third, but Dunaway pulled the Panthers back within five with a free throw and deuce. A 6-2 burst pushed Silver Creek’s lead to 31-21. Will McCall scored inside for the Dragons with 2:50 to go, then both teams went dry until the last second when Dunaway buried a 60-footer at the buzzer to keep Corydon’s deficit in single digits, 33-24.
Kolkmeier hoped that would be the boost his team needed to get back in the game.
‘You hope so, because if that’s not it, I don’t what’s going to be,’ he said. ‘It was still a long way to come back … We had only had 31 or so up to that point.’
Following a flip-out competition by cheerleaders on both sides of the floor during the break, Silver Creek’s lead went back to 12, 36-24, following three free throws. Corydon came back again with a 7-0 burst, putting the Panthers back in the fight, just five points down, 36-31 with 5:31 to go.
Silver Creek turned the ball over on its next two possessions, the second leading to a Corydon basket that pulled the Panthers within three. Bonniville sank a Dragon jumper, but Saulman got a single in return. The scoring went back and forth until Justin Kight scored inside then got two free throws with 1:10 to go. Corydon missed its next two shots, then Chad Koetter added to the Dragon lead, forcing Corydon to put the brakes on with a time-out, its last of the game.
Saulman buried a 3-pointer on Corydon’s next possession, but the Panthers couldn’t stop the clock. Silver Creek finished out the final seconds with four straight points, sending the Dragons into the final against Charlestown, 54-43.
‘It wasn’t enough,’ said Kolkmeier. ‘We didn’t make any shots. We couldn’t make any outside shots. I don’t know what else we could do … Our kids fought back. We made it close. We got within four, then Robinson made a great play and blocked that shot. I think that was probably the play of the game right there.’
Dunaway led the Panthers (8-15) with 17 points, and Saulman put in 16 for the night. The Panthers connected on just 15-of-44 field goals (34 percent) and 11-of-18 free throws. Corydon finished with 10 turnovers for the 32 minutes of play.
‘We hung together pretty well, like the comeback there,’ said the Corydon coach. ‘We fought and clawed, and we needed to do that. We had some deficiencies but we played pretty hard when we had to.’
Robinson and Kight led Silver Creek (15-7) with 12 points each. Nick Townsend, who hit 19-of-35 field goals (54 percent) and 15-of-21 free throws, added 10 for the Dragons. Silver Creek had 11 turnovers.
Corydon graduates four seniors ‘ Saulman, Jeremy Smith, Adam Ward and Isaac Brown.
‘Those guys will be fine,’ Kolkmeier said. ‘They’ll do fine. They work hard and they’re smart guys. They’re successful in school and they’ll do well going out with whatever they chose to do.’
Kolkmeier said he wouldn’t waste any time looking at next year.
‘Tonight,’ he said. ‘What else do you do? We’ve got a lot of young kids. We played two sophomores a lot, too. We’ll just try to make all those guys get better over the course of the next five, six, seven months and try to get ready for next October and November.’
Click for photo gallery