Panthers knock off Wolfpack
What was expected to be a close game between the Crawford County Wolfpack and visiting Corydon Central Panthers turned into a near runaway last Wednesday night for the Panthers, who improved their record to 9-1 with a 76-64 win.
The Class 2A No. 9 Wolfpack made a run in the fourth quarter but came up a few baskets short. They saw their record slip to 9-2, with both losses coming at the hands of the Class 3A No. 4 Panthers.
‘I think both teams needed a game,’ Corydon Central coach Jamie Kolkmeier said. ‘The weather and being out of school, neither team could practice yesterday. Trying to get their legs back and stuff, I think both teams just needed a game. There was going to be some rust, and there was probably from both teams.’
‘They’re very good and very unselfish,’ Crawford County coach Mike Brown said. ‘This Corydon team is the best that we’ve played against at sharing the basketball. They’ve had teams that didn’t want to share it, and they’ve had guys that didn’t want to play together. I know that from watching basketball. This team doesn’t do that. They’re a team this year that will give up a good shot to get a great shot. That’s why they’re where they are.’
Corydon Central, which defeated the Wolfpack 57-51 on Dec. 28 in the Perry-Spencer Holiday Classic, wasted no time and began the game with an 8-2 run then later got six straight points from Mitchell Frederick and Bronson Kessinger to lead 17-8. Brandon Cate and Ranger Caffrey countered with five straight for the Wolfpack, but Tommy Wiseman scored at the end of the period, giving Corydon Central a 19-13 lead.
Both teams shot the ball well in the period, with Crawford County connecting on five of seven field-goal attempts and Corydon Central making eight of 11.
‘We’ve got a few guys that can knock down shots,’ Kolkmeier said. ‘Somebody is going to make a basketball move on you at one point. Sometimes we make that a little earlier than we should, but we’ve got a lot of guys that can make a basketball move. That makes a difference.’
‘They’ll poke along with you, and you’ll get some things done that you think are good, and are good, and you’ll stop them some, but, the minute you relax or the minute you sub or mismatch, they’re going to find it,’ Brown said. ‘I thought they did a great job of that tonight. They’re the best basketball team we’ve played.’
Corydon Central pushed the lead back to nine to begin the second period, but Crawford County countered with a 9-2 run, with Caffrey drilling a pair of three-balls in the process, to close the gap to 24-22. Timothy Wiseman scored twice inside, but Crawford County’s Ethan McMonigle got one of those baskets back. The Panthers kept their six-point advantage to the end of the half, leading 36-30.
‘When you don’t practice and you’ve been sitting around staying up late, the offense, I figured would look kind of bad,’ Kolkmeier said. ‘We ended up with 70-something points, and I still didn’t think we played very well offensively.’
‘I don’t think, if we both had been able to practice like we wanted to, that we would have given up those runs,’ Brown said. ‘They didn’t have long to prepare for us, so, consequently, everything (they) ran at times worked and the same thing for us. I think, if we had both had preparation, it would have been maybe the same outcome exactly, but not the runs and silly turnovers and things that we saw the teams do. We just haven’t been on the court, neither one of us.’
Corydon Central blistered the Wolfpack to begin the second half, with Kessinger opening with a short jumper then the Wiseman brothers, Timothy and Tommy, sinking three-balls. Tommy Wiseman added another deuce, and Corydon Central’s lead ballooned to 46-32. The Panthers later extended their lead to 56-36 with another 6-0 burst. Crawford County made only a slight gain by the end of the period, down 58-40.
‘You can’t let the Wisemans have any threes,’ Brown said. ‘They only hit two, but the two they hit were immediate, and that really stretched it out.’
Crawford County launched an immediate counter-offensive with Caffrey drilling two from downtown. Frederick countered with a deuce for Corydon Central, but Brandon Cate drove the lane twice, pulling Crawford County back to within 10, 60-50.
Zach Thomas later swished another Crawford County three to pull the Wolfpack back to within single digits. Kessinger and Frederick, however, scored three freebies for the Panthers. Crawford County’s deficit didn’t get back to single digits from that point on, as Corydon Central finished with the 76-64 win.
‘They had a big gap, and their kids fought when they could have folded,’ Kolkmeier said. ‘I thought we were sloppy on our defense, and we were way too passive, letting guys attack and letting us get beat at angles. When you get a pretty good margin, it’s tough to come back from that far down. I don’t know if we did as good of job holding on to that lead as we did of building that lead to get to that point.’
‘Both games for us (against Corydon Central) are good games because we learn from playing against teams like that, (teams) that cause us problems and go the extra step on offense and defense,’ Brown said. ‘This time of year, that’s what you’re going to see. The good teams are going to make the extra pass and make the extra slide on defense, and you have to account for that. That’s what we need to be working on, and we got two hours of it tonight.’
Crawford County’s Caffrey led all scorers with 27 points as he hit six three-pointers, and Cate gave the Wolfpack 20. Thomas followed with 10 for Crawford County, which was 23 of 46 (50 percent) from the field and 11 of 12 from the free-throw line. Crawford County had 17 turnovers.
Corydon Central put four players in double figures, with Tommy Wiseman cashing in for 19, Frederick 18, Lander 14 and Kessinger 11. The Panthers burned up the nets with 30-of-49 shooting (61 percent) and 17-of-26 free throws. Corydon Central finished with 12 turnovers.
Kolkmeier said Frederick has made big gains in his game since the season began.
‘He’s gotten more aggressive and to understand that, when he gets in scoring position, he’s got to take advantage of that,’ Kolkmeier said. ‘He’s a pretty good kid with hard work and has got a nice body. It’s tough to take away everything. When he catches it in scoring position, he’s got to be aggressive there.’
Brown said his team did a good job of keeping Kessinger off the rim, but Corydon Central just has too many other weapons.
‘You have to account for Kessinger first then Lander,’ he said, ‘but, when you give Frederick 18 and you give Tommy Wiseman 19, that just means you’ve got way more to cover than Kessinger and Lander. What they will do is find a way to get somebody open and find out where you’re helping from.’
‘I wish the weather would cooperate to give us some continuity and let us get in rhythm,’ Kolkmeier said. ‘I know everybody feels that way with games canceled and practices. We’re in a decent spot right now. We have to continue to get better.’
The Panthers will return to Mid-Southern Conference play Friday when they host Clarksville (7:30 p.m.) in a make-up game. They’ll turn around and face Brownstown Central in Corydon on Saturday at 7:30 p.m.
Corydon Central 19 17 22 18 ‘ 76
Crawford County 13 17 10 24 ‘ 64
Corydon Central (9-1) ‘ Ti. Wiseman 6, To. Wiseman 19, Coffman 2, Robinson 2, Lander 14, Frederick 18, Kessinger 11, Simler 4.
Crawford County (9-2) ‘ Caffrey 27, Cate 20, Thomas 11, McMonigle 6.
3-point goals ‘ Corydon Central 3 (Ti Wiseman, To. Wiseman, Frederick); Crawford County 9 (Caffrey 6, Cate, Thomas 2).