Commodores escape trap, hang on to knock off Panthers, 61-57
Less than a week after knocking off Class 4A Evansville North, Corydon Central entered the eight-team PSC Holiday Classic as one of the favorites.
Coming into the game with identical 4-1 records, Perry Central escaped with a 61-57 win over the Panthers in the first round Thursday night at Tell City. (The consolation results were not available at press time.)
It was a rough outing for Corydon Central, which managed to go 8 of 18 at the free-throw line while trailing much of the contest.
‘This is a big disappointment,’ Corydon Central coach Jamie Kolkmeier said. ‘I hope (this was) a valuable lesson about how valuable every minute of a basketball game is, no matter who you play. Perry just gave a bigger effort, and we played soft in the beginning.’
Corydon Central had opportunities in the fourth quarter to come up with a stop after making it a one-possession game on the offensive end. The stops, however, didn’t happen.
Momentum seemed to go the Panthers’ way when Brayden Lander drove the lane and dished underneath the basket to Bronson Kessinger. The 6-foot-7 Kessinger took the assist and layed in the basket while being fouled. Adding the freebie put the Panthers down 58-57 with 40.9 seconds to play. Kessinger finished with a game-high 23 points.
The stop the Panthers desired nearly came on Perry Central’s attempt to get the rock up the floor, but a controversial whistle halted play.
Lander, along with teammate Tommy Wiseman, trapped Commodore Tanner Cassidy near the Panthers bench. Cassidy’s pass out of the trap was intercepted by Timothy Wiseman near mid-court. After a pair of dribbles to start a break to the hoop, Wiseman’s drive was halted by the official at the far end of the court, whistling Perry Central coach Matt Carter a time-out.
‘We had a chance at it more than that one time,’ Kolkmeier said. ‘I tried to yell a time-out several times and didn’t get it, especially when we had trouble inbounding the ball. We had other moments to make a stop than that one.’
Timothy Wiseman nearly caused another Perry Central miscue. His back-court defense took Abe Schwartz to the ground, but another Commodores time-out rescued a near turnover.
Perry Central would later go 3 of 4 at the free-throw line inside the final 15 seconds to land the win. A pair of late Corydon Central turnovers allowed few opportunities to cut into the lead inside a minute to go.
Timothy Wiseman provided all seven of his points at a critical time in the game, the final three minutes. He helped turn a six-point deficit to two with a steal-and-deuce then a drive for another field goal. When Perry Central pushed the lead back to six, the sophomore knocked down a straight-away triple with 1:08 to play.
The late effort, however, wasn’t enough to get over the top.
‘We got out-played, out-hustled, out-coached, everything. Out-shot, out-rebounded. You pretty much put ‘out’ in front of every word and that’s the story of how we played,’ Kolkmeier said.
Derek Thomas was a thorn in the Panthers’ side. The Commodore guard started hot from the outside, making three first-quarter 3-pointers. He accounted for 11 of his team-best 22 points in the opening quarter. Late in the game, the 5-9 guard was able to sneak in for key offensive rebounds in the second half.
‘We didn’t contest (Thomas) early, and we didn’t block him out in the second half,’ Kolkmeier said.
Corydon Central led after the opening quarter, 15-14, but the lead soon evaporated with a 7-0 Commodores run. Dylan Jensen and Kessinger had good runs in the post for the Panthers in the second quarter with one and four field goals, respectively.
From the outside, the Commodores used a pair of 3-pointers from Cassidy to hang on to the edge at the half. Perry Central grew its lead to nine in the third quarter before Corydon Central made the late charge.
‘We tried to make a point telling the guys that Perry may not be the best team we play, but nobody is going to hustle more than these guys and be more competitive than them,’ Kolkmeier said. ‘They got up and played more aggressively than we did.’
Jensen finished with nine points, while Ross and Lander had eight each.
Cassidy closed with 20 points for the Commodores.
Corydon Central had a rough go at the foul line, including a stretch of going 5 of 13 through the first three quarters.
‘Free throws were real bad,’ Kolkmeier said. ‘We didn’t get stops. We didn’t get the effort on the defensive, especially after we’d make baskets. We had four or five opportunities when we were one possession, two or three points away, and they’d hit a shot.’
The loss comes after an impressive 68-52 victory Dec. 22 against Evansville North. The Panthers outscored the visitors 22-10 in the final quarter.
Kessinger led Corydon Central with 19 points, while Lander chipped in 17.
The Panthers will return home Friday to face Floyd Central at 7:30 p.m.