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Panthers making forward strides

Panthers making forward strides
Panthers making forward strides
Corydon Central's Joey Wiseman drives baseline in the first half while Crawford County's Brady Carlton defends Saturday night. Photos by Brian Smith

Although the records are different, coaches from Crawford County and Corydon Central saw their teams take steps forward last weekend.
Three weeks since meeting in the PSC Holiday Classic, Crawford County came up with a 59-39 victory over the Panthers Saturday night in Marengo. Back on Dec. 28, the Wolfpack won 71-53.
Crawford County came back a night after defeating Orleans, coupling the weekend with a recent score over Springs Valley and Salem, to build a four-game win streak.
‘After (beating Salem), the kids started to puff their chest a little bit,’ Crawford County coach Levi Carmichael said. ‘I think Salem is a very nice ball club. We knew yesterday Orleans would be a war, and it was. I don’t think we are playing to our peak, but I tell our kids it is a process. We keep chipping away, but we are getting great contributions from everybody.’
Young as the Panthers are ‘ four of the team’s six scoring players against the Wolfpack are freshmen or sophomores ‘ coach Jamie Kolkmeier said his team is starting to make positive strides. He said during a month-long stretch from mid-December to early January the boys weren’t improving on the trek expected by the coach.
‘We didn’t have good defensive effort and carried our struggles on offense to defense,’ Kolkmeier said of the tough stretch. ‘Some of these things we did well tonight and last night (59-44 loss to Clarksville) we should have been doing in December. If we make a few more improvements the next few practices, who knows how it transpires to games.’
Coming off a six-point win at Orleans, Crawford County wanted to start quickly Saturday against the Panthers. The Wolfpack made their first three shots, two from Levi Schwartz and a triple by way of Brent Smith.
Leading 8-2, Crawford County gave up a 3-pointer to Corydon Central’s Bradley Nalley, ending a strong start.
Turnovers plagued the Panthers, who gave up transition buckets after the Nalley trey.
Making a long ball, Corydon Central’s Braydon Beauchamp brought the Panthers within a possession, 15-12.
Ending the quarter with a flurry of points, Crawford County scored with toughness in the paint. Josh Thomas had a put-back. Brady Carlton and Schwartz drove to the hoop for scores, leading to a 21-12 edge after eight minutes.
‘Coming off last night, it was a huge emotional, physical win, so we really wanted to get something going early,’ Carmichael said. ‘We were able to get a lead and hang on to it.’
In the first half, Crawford County forced 13 turnovers (compared to four on the other end) while surging to the boards for extra chances.
Three of Crawford County’s four made field goals in the second quarter came either in transition after forcing turnovers or on second chances. Ty Nickelson’s steal and score extended the Wolfpack lead to 29-14 midway through the frame.
‘Ty Nickelson was key tonight,’ Carmichael said. ‘He’s a kid we are high on. We’re trying to find the right time to get him going. He was a lot more confident and sure of himself on the floor. He’s a high-jump champion and receiver in football. He’s really athletic.’
Nickelson was one of three Crawford County players to reach double-figure scoring. Carlton showed the way with 15 points followed by Matt Dearborn’s 13. Nickelson scored 10.
Joey Wiseman added field goals for Corydon Central in the latter stages of the opening half. Corydon Central’s ability to cut into the deficit was hampered by missing three consecutive free throws, including the front end of two one-and-ones.
Slowly, Crawford County expanded the lead as the game carried on. After Wiseman netted a 3 to pull the Panthers back within 15, Dearborn closed the third quarter with a hustle play to beat the buzzer. Tracking the ball after his own miss, Dearborn heeled his way backward, falling away with a quick trigger release to beat the horn and put in a second attempt.
The feat riled up the Wolfpack bench, many of whom raced to an excited Dearborn. Nine of Dearborn’s points came in the third quarter, many behind the sophomore’s brute strength on the block.
‘He is just scratching the surface,’ Carmichael said of Dearborn. ‘You look at him physically and, my goodness. He’s just learning to use a left hand and which move to make based on where the defender is. Hopefully, having him in the gym for the full offseason will add those skills, but, right now, he’s doing things on the floor that are hard to stop. He’s so physical and has nice hands.’
While Corydon Central couldn’t complete a comeback, Kolkmeier was encouraged by the adjustments his players made from one half to another. They turned the ball over once in the third quarter and four times in the fourth.
‘We’ve had several good possessions defensively last night and tonight,’ he said. ‘We still have a lot of bad ones, but our bad ones, we give up quick easy scores.’
Kolkmeier lightheartedly looked at the turnaround on the glass.
‘I wish every school would play by the new rules. We thought the new rule was you are not allowed to block out. The first half we played that way,’ Kolkmeier said. ‘The second half Jordan Ripperdan had some great block outs. We bodied up better in the paint than we have. We did a better job of making it more difficult for them to score.
‘The reality is, we got better the last two nights,’ he said.
A pair of freshmen paced the Panthers in scoring. Nalley had 14 points followed by nine from Wiseman.
‘Jamie always has his kids playing hard,’ Carmichael said. ‘They have some really nice young kids he is going to develop. They are going to be nice once they get the experience.’
‘Crawford is getting better, and I hope that we are,’ Kolkmeier said. ‘There for a while, I wasn’t sure. We have our moments where we are solid defensively or not very good. There isn’t much gray.’
Crawford County will return to action Saturday when the Wolfpack host Tell City. Corydon Central, meanwhile, will host Salem on Friday and Charlestown on Saturday. The game versus Charlestown will be winter homecoming for the Panthers.

Corydon Central 12 10 10 7 ‘ 39
Crawford County 21 15 14 9 ‘ 59
Corydon Central (1-11) ‘ Nalley 14, Wiseman 9, Beauchamp 5, Ripperdan 4, Strubler 4, Saulman 3.
Crawford County (10-4) ‘ Carlton 15, Dearborn 13, Nickelson 10, Schwartz 9, Br. Smith 6, Thomas 5, Marples 1.
3-point goals ‘ Corydon Central 4 (Nalley 2, Wiseman, Beauchamp); Crawford County 2 (Br. Smith 2).