‘Fun to watch’ Panthers pull away
For a period of time, Arena Football became a popular sport to watch on television for the fast-paced excitement. The Arena Football League even produced future NFL stars Kurt Warner and Fred Jackson.
The selling point for the AFL was most sports enthusiasts like the fast pace, short field and high energy played indoors on a shorter football field.
If the Panthers’ boys’ basketball team were in the mix for an arena football roster, they’d have a few options to throw at quarterback and wide receiver. Alec Saulman, the actual quarterback in the fall at Corydon Central, has found a home along the baseline, throwing darts to teammates breaking free on go-routes.
His passes over the top Friday against Scottsburg hit the mark, especially in the fourth quarter of the Mid-Southern Conference game. The target was often guard Clayton Schreck, who was on the receiving end of plenty football-like passes.
By outscoring Scottsburg 31-17 in the final frame, Corydon Central rolled to a 74-52 victory.
While basketball hasn’t tinkered with rules to spawn off new leagues, Corydon Central coach Jamie Kolkmeier said the Panthers are fun to watch.
‘I told them, in all honesty, a little less than a year ago, we weren’t very fun to watch,’ Kolkmeier, who picked up his 200th career win, said. ‘It was the slightest sign of adversity; we would pack it in for minutes at a time. I’m not sure, if you’re a basketball fan, how you could not like watching us play (this year). We don’t do anything spectacular. We aren’t the best team in the world, but we’ve made solid plays. We try to defend. We try to rebound. We share the ball, and guys are moving. The guys are willing to pass to the next guy. They are playing really solid right now. Hopefully, we can keep it going.’
Schreck finished the game with 28 points, with 13 coming in the final decisive quarter.
Scottsburg hung around for a bit, particularly one minute into the fourth when Mitchell Prince hit a 3-pointer to cut Corydon Central’s lead to six, 46-40.
It didn’t take long for Corydon Central to flex back its offensive muscle. From in front of the Panthers’ bench, Jordan Ripperdan knocked down an open 3.
Steals then took over. Jacob Johnson came away from a trap defense with a Corydon Central takeaway. It led to Braydon Beauchamp converting a 3-point play. Beauchamp then swiped a steal, pushing ahead for Schreck.
The 8-0 run lofted Corydon Central to a commanding 54-40 lead.
‘Guys stepped up when the game got tight,’ Kolkmeier said. ‘Ripperdan hit a big 3 after their guy hit one. We are recovering from bad plays better than we have before. It’s all in the focus and intensity. I don’t see how you can’t like watching us play. Dang on, we are playing like you are supposed to play.’
Putting the game away, the Panthers continued to wear down the Warriors. Saulman hit Schreck for a touchdown, er, layup. Joey Wiseman attacked the rim to reach the foul line on multiple occasions. The sophomore guard notched 18 points with 10 in the final eight minutes.
‘We come back to the three things every good team I’ve had here have shared the same characteristics: they are hard to score on, they share the ball and you convert in numbers opportunities,’ Kolkmeier said.
Taking advantage of numbers in transition was key against Scottsburg, resulting in high-percentage looks. The Panthers closed shooting a robust 60 percent (28 of 47) from the field.
‘You have to score a real high percentage in those situations, which is what we practice a lot,’ Kolkmeier said. ‘You only get so many of those opportunities in a game, and you have to score almost all of them. Good teams make you pay. I can remember a few years ago when we didn’t press a lot. I looked at (former assistant coach) Greg Robinson and said we are only forcing the other team into 13 turnovers a night, but we score a layup on nine of them it seems like. That’s coming with this team now. We aren’t turning teams over a ton, but, when we do, we are converting.’
Schreck went 13 of 17 from the field, throwing in a pair of 3-pointers for good measure. He also had seven rebounds. Saulman was credited with four assists.
‘I thought a couple years ago, it was tough to find a kid that could do that better than Brayden Lander,’ Kolkmeier said of Saulman’s full-court passes. ‘I don’t know if Alec does it better, but he does a really good job. You want to be able to do multiple things, but Alec has a skill that is better than any player I’ve seen do in our area this year or last. If you are open deep or have a step on a guy, he’s going to throw it to you. We have a guy that does a nice job getting there.’
Corydon Central began the game with hustle points to gain an early advantage. Work on the offensive glass by Saulman and Schreck led to points. In fact, all of Corydon Central’s first 10 points to create a 10-2 lead came on either put-backs or off Scottsburg turnovers.
Scottsburg’s Mitchell Meagher, a 6-foot-5 senior, was an inside-out threat for the Warriors much of the night. Of his 20 points, the big man stepped out to net three long balls. Trying to keep his team in the contest, Meagher notched 11 points in the third quarter.
Balance, however, saw Corydon Central offset the Meagher spurts. Wiseman had a jumper fall, then Kurt Strubler came off the bench to finish a left-handed scoop shot underneath.
The Warriors cut the Corydon Central lead to five once but never tighter.
Beauchamp and Saulman closed with six rebounds each. In the scoring column, Beauchamp had nine points, Ripperdan eight and Saulman seven.
Both teams were solid at the foul line, with Scottsburg going 13 of 15 and Corydon Central 12 of 16.
‘It’s been fun watching these guys,’ Kolkmeier said. ‘We don’t want them to be satisfied.’
Scottsburg 10 7 18 17 ‘ 52
Corydon Central 15 12 16 31 ‘ 74
Scottsburg (2-4, 2-3 MSC) ‘ Meagher 20, Prince 12, Neace 7, Funk 4, Smith 4, Hunley 3, Sebastio 2.
Corydon Central (4-2, 1-1) ‘ Schreck 28, Wiseman 18, Beauchamp 9, Ripperdan 8, Saulman 7, Strubler 3, Bradford 1.
3-point goals ‘ Scottsburg 7 (Prince 4, Meagher 3); Corydon Central 6 (Schreck 2, Ripperdan 2, Wiseman, Saulman).