Panthers get 16th win at SC
Corydon Central fought off a resilient South Central team Friday with a 30-point third quarter to knock off the host Rebels, 73-49, in the regular season finale for both teams.
The Panther win was the 16th on the season, the most victories in a regular season since the 1993-94 year when they posted 17.
‘We really kind of stuck together, worked well together,’ Corydon Central coach Jamie Kolkmeier said of the regular season success. ‘I think we have put ‘we’ before ‘me’ for the most part. It is a close-knit group that works hard. Sometimes we don’t work as hard in practice as I would like but, come game time, they turn it on. Plus, it helps you can shoot the ball, too.’
The Panthers earned the 16th win by fending off a physical Rebels. South Central senior Chip Hockenbury was tough inside, scoring 10 of his team-best 17 points in the first half. Hockenbury, who has sat out most of the season with an injury, has been making his way back to full strength the past few weeks.
Late in the first quarter, Hockenbury put in a field goal to trim the Corydon Central lead to 11-4. The Panthers, however, got a buzzer-beating shot from Tyler Shewmaker to press the lead back to 10. The sophomore corralled a loose ball in the left corner and fired a 3-pointer that found the bottom of the net.
After trading baskets in the early stages of the second quarter, Corydon Central’s Garett Ross took a steal the length of the floor and threw down a two-handed dunk, giving the Panthers a 20-8 edge. Ross came back from a back injury to pour in 16 points.
‘I was kind of shocked that he had that kind of quickness,’ Kolkmeier said of Ross. ‘I figured he would still be a bit stiff, but he loosened up the last couple days.’
South Central didn’t back away after the jam. Nick Bennett converted a 3-point play when he attacked the basket, drawing a foul. South Central’s Kyle Pease made it a 6-0 Rebel run when he knocked down a 3-pointer to cut Corydon Central’s lead to 20-14.
‘They did a nice job against us early, really bodying up and playing physical,’ Kolkmeier said. ‘Hockenbury was a tough match for us.’
South Central hung tough the rest of the first half, but Corydon Central led, 29-20.
‘I am really proud of the way we played,’ South Central coach Rob Murawski said. ‘In the four years I have coached against Corydon, this one stands out because we stood up to them. The Ross kid is really tough to guard, but we gave it our all to stand up to them defensively.’
The third quarter belonged to the Panthers. They scored 30 points, including eight from Seth Rennirt. Corydon Central went on a 16-1 run at one point to extend its lead to 48-25.
‘I thought we took some really poor shots in the first half, settling for fall-away jump shots,’ Kolkmeier said. ‘In the third quarter, we hit some threes and did get into attack mode a little bit more. Overall, I don’t think we cut very well tonight. We were a little too stationary at times.’
Brandon Dunaway led the Panthers on the night with 19 points.
‘It was a county rival, so we knew it would be physical,’ Dunaway said. ‘They guarded us pretty close.’
The Panthers hit six 3-pointers, including two from Casey Saulman. Rennirt closed the game with 12 points.
Hockenbury led South Central with 17 points, while Pease contributed 11 and Bennett had nine. Murawski said the physical play from all the Rebels was encouraging.
‘You know you are going to get physical play from guys like Chip, Elliot (Thompson) and Dillon (Miller), but tonight, Chris O’Connor and Kyle Pease really attacked the basket. They both rebounded and weren’t afraid to take the ball inside,’ he said.
Murawski said the Rebels have played much better the second half of the season.
‘We were strong against New Wash and against Providence,’ he said. ‘We had a hiccup against Rock Creek, but this group has come together recently. I wish we had eight or nine games left in the regular season with the full team. We are finding the chemistry on the court, and it is getting there.’
For Corydon Central, the Panthers will host the Class 3A Sectional 30 tournament, entering as the favorites.
‘Going into the tournament season, we are back to moving the ball well and playing together,’ senior guard Dylan Harl said. ‘As long as we stay together and keep the team first, we have the ability to go a long way. We know everyone is going to bring it, and we are going to be ready for it.’
Corydon Central opens sectional play tonight (Wednesday) against Mitchell at 7:30.
South Central drew the bye in the Class A Borden Sectional and will face the Lanesville vs. Christian Academy winner on Friday at 6 p.m.