Seniors, together, score win over SC
Coaches throughout the state typically turn over the spotlight on senior night to the upperclassmen, especially at the start of the game.
It’s often the seniors getting the nod during starting line-up introductions.
Of its five seniors, Corydon Central announced four as starters.
The fifth, Cameron Allen, had yet to appear in a varsity basketball game during his senior season. Allen, after suffering a broken leg in a vehicle crash in the fall, took part in the introductions to a grand ovation last Tuesday. Going up to his classmates as they were announced, Allen went through choreographed handshake routines with each senior.
On the floor, the four seniors and the rest of the Panthers shook off a 28-all tie with South Central in the third quarter. Corydon Central closed the final 10-1/2 minutes by outscoring the Rebels 18-1 for a 46-29 victory.
With 1:44 to play, dressed in his No. 43 jersey, Allen checked into the game, joining the other four seniors, Jacob Johnson, Jordan Ripperdan, Alec Saulman and Clayton Schreck.
‘It was really great to see him get in uniform tonight and get announced,’ Corydon Central coach Jamie Kolkmeier said. ‘Those guys really liked it.’
Inbounding the ball from the sideline opposite the home bench, Allen sent an ally-oop lob to a cutting Schreck. Fouled on the play, Schreck wasn’t able to finish the shot, leaving Allen without an assist.
‘We gave Clayton a hard time for not putting that in,’ Kolkmeier joked. ‘It was really good to see Cameron in there.’
Two years ago, Kolkmeier had to deal with star player Bronson Kessinger suffering a broken leg during a game. As Kessinger rehabbed, he remained around the team. Allen took a similar path. Although not able to play, he showed up at practices and games to support teammates.
‘We’ve been lucky enough, although in a sense unlucky, to have two great kids who’ve handled unfortunate situations as well, if not better, than any two kids I’ve seen,’ Kolkmeier said.
With 1.5 seconds left, Allen checked into the game one more time, putting up a quarter-court shot that fell short.
‘He’s been cleared but can’t go full speed because the flexibility is not back in his knee,’ Kolkmeier said.
Allen, a 6-foot forward, contributed on the varsity team a year ago.
‘Cameron is a kid who loves team sports and is a great teammate,’ Kolkmeier said. ‘He’s been persistent and understanding.’
On the floor, South Central gave the Panthers a run through much of three quarters.
In the third, South Central dwindled Corydon Central’s 21-14 half-time led to zero, thanks to outside shooting.
Bradley Hertle buried 3-pointers. Off a turnover, Austin Schoen netted a pull-up jumper to pull South Central within two, 24-22.
Johnson and Ripperdan off-set the Rebels with a few makes, but Schoen put in a pair of 3-pointers to even the score at 28.
In the final 2:30 of the third quarter, Corydon Central had a trey from Joey Wiseman fall through the twine then Braydon Beauchamp score a field goal. The final points of the quarter, giving Corydon Central a 35-28 lead, came when Schreck took a defensive rebound the length of the court for two points.
Outside of the run of long balls in the third quarter, South Central’s offense struggled much of the contest.
‘One of the things I told them before the game, for us to win, we had to be able to execute on offense,’ South Central coach Greg Robinson said. ‘We talked about both, but, defensively, I thought we did some good things. We created some havoc on defense but, offensively, I don’t want to call it deer in the headlight because, this time of year, you shouldn’t get that.’
Turnovers ‘ six in the final quarter ‘ were problematic for South Central.
On its first possession, Wiseman came up with a steal and went the distance for two points. Another steal resulted in Johnson hitting a single free throw.
Ripperdan back-pedaled with a smile after knocking down a straight-away 3-pointer for a 41-29 Corydon Central lead.
‘As much of anything, us getting a couple scores and starting to rebound better took the wind out of them,’ Kolkmeier said. ‘Not sure we defended great, but we got better when we needed to. Creating space by scoring some baskets helped.’
South Central had a 4-0 lead behind Chase Schoen and Cody Baelz field goals in the early going. Corydon Central, however, evened the score in the final seconds of the first quarter with a Wiseman basket.
Scoring the first five points of the second quarter, Corydon Central never allowed the Rebels back in front.
Through three quarters, South Central held Corydon Central to 35 points.
‘While our defense was good, our offense wasn’t up to par,’ Robinson said of the Rebels. ‘Corydon plays good defense and, if you aren’t up to executing on offense, they’ve proven to beat some good teams this year.’
Austin Schoen and Hertle led South Central in scoring with eight points each. Baelz had six rebounds, while Chase Schoen contributed three assists.
Corydon Central shot well from the perimeter, going 8 of 19. Three long balls fell for Wiseman and Ripperdan, who both closed with 11 points. Saulman and Schreck had nine apiece.
Off the bench, Kurt Strubler had six rebounds.
‘Kurt rebound the ball and played really well for us,’ Kolkmeier said. ‘We have to get back to minimizing our mistakes and getting more intensity on defense. We need to make the game a little easier.’
Being senior night, it was a reunion for Robinson as well, who spent the last several seasons as an assistant coach at Corydon Central.
‘It wasn’t fun, it really wasn’t,’ Robinson said of coaching former players. ‘I’ve coached those kids when they were in third grade. It’s fun, in a way, to watch them do well, but it’s not when you are coaching against them.’
Corydon Central will begin the postseason tonight (Wednesday) when the Panthers play Silver Creek in the Class 3A Salem Sectional at 7:30. South Central, meanwhile, awaits the Christian Academy of Indiana versus Shawe Memorial winner. The semi-final game will take place Friday at 7:30 p.m.
South Central 9 5 14 1 ‘ 29
Corydon Central 9 12 14 11 ‘ 46
South Central (7-16) ‘ A. Schoen 8, Hertle 8, Summers 6, Boyd 3, C. Schoen 2, Baelz 2.
Corydon Central (8-14) ‘ Ripperdan 11, Wiseman 11, Saulman 9, Schreck 9, Johnson 3, Beauchamp 2, Strubler 1.
3-point goals ‘ South Central 5 (A. Schoen 2, Hertle 2, Summers); Corydon Central 8 (Ripperdan 3, Wiseman 3, Saulman, Schreck).