Panthers fall just short to No. 1 Brownstown in battle for MSC
When Corydon Central and Brownstown Central notched conference victories Friday night, it set up a showdown for the Mid-Southern Conference title Saturday in Corydon.
The Class 2A No. 1 Braves entered with an unblemished record and escaped Corydon with a 50-46 victory over the Class 3A No. 11 Panthers to keep a clean slate.
The game lived up to the hype, as a sea of black filled the Corydon Central gym for a post-season-like atmosphere. Down the stretch, it was Brownstown Central’s Spencer Allman icing the game with four free throws and the shot-blocking ability of 6-foot-8 senior Taylor Wischmeier that lifted the Braves.
‘Our guys did OK,’ Corydon Central coach Jamie Kolkmeier said. ‘Really wanted this for the kids. I’d like for them to win a conference championship. It is something they have each worked really hard for. It is a really competitive group.’
Corydon Central entered the fourth quarter down 39-35. Garett Ross scored a field goal to open the final frame but was answered by a Brett McCory 3-pointer. Corydon Central’s Casey Saulman returned the favor by burying a 3-pointer to trim the Brave’s lead to 42-40 with 6:21 to play.
Wischmeier then carried the Braves, scoring two field goals during a four-minute span in which the Panthers failed to score. The last Wischmeier field goal put Brownstown up, 46-40.
Corydon Central’s Brandon Dunaway, who finished with a game-best 24 points, kept the Panther’s hopes alive. The junior knocked down a field goal with 2:18 to play. Then, on the next Panther possession, Dunaway was fouled near the top of the key on a 3-point attempt. He made good on his first two attempts to pull the Panthers within two, 46-44, with 1:42 to play.
Brownstown Central was able to run nearly a minute off of the clock before Allman missed a shot attempt. On Corydon Central’s possession, Dylan Harl penetrated the basket but had his shot altered by Wischmeier, his third block of the quarter, with 15 seconds left.
Allman was immediately fouled and drilled both free throws in the bonus situation. Ross scored a quick field goal for Corydon Central with 5.5 seconds left, but Allman again nailed a pair of free throws to close the game.
‘We had a few chances to take the lead, but it just didn’t work out for us,’ Kolkmeier said.
Corydon Central, which entered the game averaging nearly 70 points per game, was held to 46.
Kolkmeier said the pace of the game wasn’t in the favor of the Panthers.
‘Our offense hurt us tonight. We didn’t play the pace we wanted to play. We played way too slow. We wanted the score to be in the 60s or 70s, not the 50s. We have to score more than 50 points against a team like that. Not that we couldn’t win scoring 50, but we needed to get more than that,’ he said.
Kolkmeier said he believed the Panthers fell into the slow-down tempo more-so than the Braves causing them to.
‘I thought we dictated the pace more than they did, but not the way we’re supposed to,’ Kolkmeier said. ‘I don’t know if it was the big crowd, the big game, the conference on the line, who knows.’
Corydon Central had a solid first quarter. Dunaway and Ross combined for all 13 points, leading to a 13-9 advantage.
Dunaway opened the second quarter with a pair of free throws, extending the lead to the biggest of the night, 15-9. Brownstown Central’s offense then began to make shots. On an 8-1 run that gave Brownstown Central a 17-16 lead, Jalen Snodgrass capped it with a field goal.
The teams then traded baskets and the lead in the later stages of the second quarter, resulting in the Braves taking a 23-22 lead into the break.
‘Sometimes, we played good defense for 25 or 30 seconds, but they played offense for 35 or 40 seconds,’ Kolkmeier said.
Corydon Central came out with a fast start to the second half. Dunaway made good on two field goals to start, the latter a 3-point play that gave Corydon Central a 27-25 lead. That, however, was the last time the Panthers would be ahead.
Brownstown Central outscored the Panthers, 14-8, to close the quarter. Corydon Central was able to pull within two points on three occasions in the final quarter but could never get over the hump.
Within the game, neither team coughed up the ball much. Brownstown had five turnovers, and the Panthers had four.
Corydon Central also struggled at the free-throw line, going 7 of 14.
The loss snapped an eight-game winning streak for Corydon Central, while Brownstown Central improved to 19-0.
‘We can’t feel sorry for ourselves,’ Kolkmeier said. ‘We don’t have time for that. We’ve got three games next week.’
Dunaway added five rebounds to go with his 24 points. Ross added 12 points, and Seth Rennirt had four.
Brownstown Central was led by Wischmeier and Allman, with both scoring 15 points. Snodgrass contributed 10.
The Panthers have two regular season games remaining. Tonight (Wednesday), they host Class 4A No. 16 Jeffersonville at 7:30 and close the season Friday at South Central at 7:30.