Gold effort from Panthers
A young fan came up to Tucker Gentemann post-game and said, ‘You made me cry.’
The Corydon Central junior center scored only one point Friday night, but it came at the biggest moment. Fouled on a put-back attempt with 2.2 seconds remaining, Gentemann went to the charity stripe in a 68-all ballgame against rival North Harrison.
In front of the home fans, Gentemann sank the first, perhaps then, enticing the tearful moment. As Corydon Central’s Joey Wiseman intercepted a half-court pass attempt by North Harrison on the final play, the Panthers earned a 69-68 victory in front of a rambunctious crowd.
Wiseman, who put together an eye-popping 38-point night, had a simple message for Gentemann before he toed the line.
‘I said, ‘Listen, Tucker, there are two shots; you need to just make one’,’ said Wiseman. ‘He knocked that first one down, nothing but net. It was a huge exhale.’
‘I was really nervous at the line, but I tried to calm down,’ Gentemann said. ‘I knew I just had to make one shot.’
Coming off consecutive one-point losses, the Panthers rebounded with being on the right side off a one-point decision. Cory- don Central, the day prior to tip, found out it would be without the services of senior forward Bradley Nalley, who was sidelined with a wrist injury.
‘This was the best team effort we’ve had in a year,’ Corydon Central coach Jamie Kolkmeier said. ‘Not having Bradley, we showed we can handle adversity. Bradley is a match-up nightmare, but we had to spread the floor tonight.’
Spread the floor they did. Taking full advantage was the 6-foot Wiseman. Seven first-quarter turnovers from North Harrison opened the door for Corydon Central to take extra shots. Wiseman sliced through the lane for points inside. He stepped back to hit 3-pointers. With the 6-foot-7 Ethan Oakley guarding him, Wiseman sank fade-aways.
‘They played well,’ North Harrison coach Kevin Jones said of the Panthers. ‘Wiseman shot the ball well, and we didn’t do a very good job defending him. We tried multiple things, and none of them seemed to work. What helped them was when his scoring slowed down in the second half, their other guys stepped up.’
In all, Wiseman put up 28 points in the opening half, which saw Corydon Central lead 40-36.
‘I know how important a hot early start can get our team going,’ Wiseman said. ‘We had a big student section tonight, and it really got the crowd involved. North, they are a big and a confident team. I thought our start made a big difference in the rest of the game.’
Koleton Kaiser gave the Panthers a lift in the first half, too. A steal and score gave his team a 35-26 advantage.
North Harrison was able to counter Corydon Central’s offensive momentum by going inside. Langdon Hatton notched 17 of his 29 points in the first half. The 6-9 post had the final six points of the first half.
Corydon Central’s Bryce Weber saw his first varsity action of the year, a surprise to him. The freshman guard was disruptive on defense and also handled the ball to free up Wiseman. He caught a break before the half ended, taking a long shot by Bruce Todd and acrobatically laying the ball through the hoop before the buzzer sounded.
‘Sometimes being naive to situations can help guys,’ Kolkmeier said. ‘I didn’t tell Bryce Weber he was going to play tonight until I put him in the game. He’s a tough kid and just plays … He was terrific. He’s a freshman that played 18 minutes and didn’t have a turnover. He was a factor in the game for only scoring two baskets.’
Wiseman, when told he had 38 points, said, ‘It didn’t feel like it.’
The main reason was the team aspect.
‘Everyone on our team stepped up,’ he said. ‘The stat line may not show it, but Bruce Todd was a beast. Bryce Weber played so well. I’m proud of him. He came in to relieve a lot of pressure. He came up to varsity and proved he can handle the ball.’
While Hatton continued to dominate the offense on the Cougars’ side in the third quarter, the Panthers were able to play a more patient game. Alton Adams scored all five of his points on consecutive trips down the floor. Todd, injured on the play, took a steal the length of the floor to draw contact.
Logan Murphy, Jacob Eve, Weber and Kaiser balanced out the scoring along with Wiseman in the third quarter, eventually building a 57-47 lead off a Weber make.
‘We had a really long list of guys that did positive things,’ Kolkmeier said. ‘Though their minutes were shorter ” Tucker, Jacob and Alex Lee ” they were fighting like crazy in there. They walled up and their communication was really critical. Alton had a rough start but, the third quarter, he was really good. He made a big 3 and had a nice move.’
North Harrison shot the ball well from the field (58 percent), mainly seeking high-percentage chances. Skyler Wetzel and Braden Jenkins missed portions of the first half with foul trouble, but both battled when they returned.
The Cougars, meanwhile, seemed to grab momentum to start the final eight minutes. Down 59-51, Jenkins scored consecutive baskets. Then, Oakley stepped out to hit his second 3-pointer of the night, trimming the once 10-point deficit to one, 59-58.
‘Skyler had a good game tonight and played much better,’ Jones said. ‘Braden getting in foul trouble early hurt us, but he worked hard for a better second half. (Hatton) had a really good offensive game, but we still need him to be better defensively.’
Jones peeled off his jacket when Corydon Central pushed the lead back to four when Murphy netted a long ball.
‘Logan Murphy had maybe the biggest shot of the game,’ Kolkmeier said. ‘When Oakley hits the 3 to cut it to one, had we missed, they were going to go pound it down our throat. Out of a lot of big baskets, that may have been the big one. He stepped up and drilled it. He had a really good third- and fourth-quarter stretch.’
Murphy said the plan during the week was to space the floor to eliminate the Cougars doubling up on Wiseman. If they did, shots would be created for others, including his swish.
‘That was probably the most exciting, adrenaline-filled moment I’ve had in high school,’ Murphy said. ‘That was awesome.’
A Wiseman bucket extended the Corydon Central lead back to five at one point, but North Harrison pushed to even the score. Hatton and Jenkins scored inside, the latter knotting the score at 68 with 1:07 to play. The Cougars, however, didn’t touch the ball again until the final two seconds.
Corydon Central ran the clock down despite some pressure from North Harrison. Attacking the rim, Wiseman nearly lost the ball out of bounds on his shot attempt, but the ball found its way to Gentemann. Going up, Gentemann drew contact, setting up the final moments.
‘After the back-to-back, one-point losses, we were upset and wanted to get back to work,’ Murphy said. ‘This was a big game to spring us forward. I feel we are back on track.’
‘Getting one in the win column,’ Wiseman said. ‘It was demoralizing to lose by one to teams we feel like we should have beaten (last week). Getting one here against North Harrison in our home gym is fantastic.’
Kolkmeier said it was a roller-coaster week for his squad.
‘Monday was not a good atmosphere,’ he said. ‘We made them sit for an hour and a half and watch film. We hoped to learn some things. I don’t think a lot of guys were having fun watching that, having things pointed out, but we needed that. We came out Tuesday, trying to renew ourselves.’
Scoring was spread out for the Panthers after Wiseman’s 38 with Murphy (eight), Kaiser (six), Adams (five), Eve (four), Weber (four) and Gentemann (one) scoring. Wiseman made 13 of 30 shots, including five triples. He also had three assists and three steals.
Hatton, who finished with 29 points on 13-of-20 shooting, was followed by Jenkins and Wetzel with 14 and 11 points, respectively. Jenkins also had 10 rebounds. Jones said he expects senior guard Jake Harley to return to the floor next week after missing the first few weeks with an injury.
‘It’s a learning experience for these young guys,’ Jones said. ‘I looked out there at one time and there was three freshmen and a sophomore on the floor. We think our better and brighter days are ahead, but we still should be able to win games like this.’
Out of the locker, Gentemann said the Panthers are looking forward.
‘It’s a big boost of energy for us,’ he said.
North Harrison 15 21 15 17 ‘ 68
Corydon Central 16 24 19 10 ‘ 69
North Harrison (1-2, 0-1 MSC) ‘ Langdon Hatton 29, Braden Jenkins 14, Skyler Wetzel 11, Ethan Oakley 8, Eli Gutknecht 3, Logan McIntire 2, Chase Johnson 1.
Corydon Central (1-2, 1-0) ‘ Joey Wiseman 38, Logan Murphy 8, Koleton Kaiser 6, Alton Adams 5, Jacob Eve 4, Bryce Weber 4, Bruce Todd 3, Tucker Gentemann 1.
3-point goals ‘ North Harrison 3 (Oakley 2, Gutknecht); Corydon Central 8 (Wiseman 5, Murphy 2, Adams).