Sharp-shooting Dragons take down Panthers
Chris Timberlake, Staff Writer, [email protected]
Aiming for an extended state tournament run, the sixth-ranked Silver Creek Dragons raced to a 16-2 lead in Saturday night’s Class 3A Charlestown sectional final and never looked back, besting Corydon Central 82-51.
‘We were trying everything and nothing seemed to slow them down,’ Corydon Central coach Jamie Kolkmeier said. ‘They were the better team tonight.’
The game was a rematch of a Feb. 15 Mid-Southern Conference tilt in which Silver Creek prevailed 71-60.
‘Our concern was at the defensive end and then us taking care of the ball,’ Silver Creek coach Brandon Hoffman said. ‘We played them the first time, we had 20 turnovers.
‘We cut our turnovers down, then they’ve got to play against us five on five,’ he said. ‘We’re pretty good five on five defensively.’
Silver Creek had 22 assists at the offensive end, scorching the nets on 33-of-53 shooting for 62 percent.
‘Felt like 90,’ Kolkmeier quipped. ‘Even when they missed, they got it back and put it in.’
Senior forward Jack Hawkins paced the championship effort with 20 points and 13 rebounds.
‘He was a man,’ Hoffman said. ‘He can do a little bit of everything. He pulled up and hit a three. Made a three in the corner. And the fourth quarter he just took over on the boards.’
Hawkins and classmate Ty Kessinger hit back-to-back three-pointers in that game-opening spree to give the Dragons a double-digit cushion (13-2) they would never relinquish. Joshua Landers added a third consecutive trey following a Corydon Central timeout.
‘Our defense set the tone, and our offense just spread it around,’ Hoffman said. ‘We had good balance.’
The Dragons out-rebounded Corydon Central 39-19 and were 11 for 21 behind the three-point arc (52 percent).
‘We picked a good time to do it,’ said the Silver Creek coach.
Corydon Central trailed 40-22 at halftime but opened the second half with a Joey Wiseman three-pointer and a Jagger Holton bucket inside to force a quick Silver Creek timeout. Hawkins steadied his team with a three-pointer out of the huddle to ignite a 16-4 run that built the lead to 25 (56-31).
Wiseman finished the game with 14 points and five assists. Classmate Bradley Nalley had 22 points to lead the Panthers.
Corydon Central shot 39 percent from the field (20 for 51) and missed 13 of 18 three-point attempts.
‘We weren’t aggressive enough,’ Kolkmeier said. ‘We were just too easy to guard. Their length just causes problems.’
Silver Creek will carry a 21-3 record into its Southridge Regional matchup with Evansville Memorial (16-9). The Dragons have now won sectionals in five of the last six seasons and are seeking their first regional title since 2000.
Corydon Central finished the season 12-14 and will graduate five seniors, including its two leading scorers, Wiseman (20.4 ppg) and Nalley (19.4 ppg).
‘I thought we got better as the year went along,’ Kolkmeier said. ‘We had a good, little stretch here. We had a chance for a good win at Bedford, and we let one get away. We were better the second half of the year after losing so many one-point games at the beginning of the year.
‘Those guys have given us some momentum,’ he said, ‘and the younger guys need to work and try to keep this going in the right direction.’
Silver Creek 25 15 21 21 – 82
Corydon Central 7 15 14 15 – 51
Silver Creek (21-3) – Jack Hawkins 20, Kooper Jacobi 18, Zane Gross 15, Trey Kaufman 11, Ty Kessinger 8, Joshua Landers 5, Jackson Jacobi 3, Isaac Hinton 2.
Corydon Central (12-14) – Bradley Nalley 22, Joey Wiseman 14, Jagger Holton 6, Koleton Kaiser 5, Jacob Eve 2, Tucker Gentemann 2.
3-point goals ‘ Silver Creek 11 (K. Jacobi 3, Gross 2, Hawkins 2, Kessinger 2, J. Jacobi, Landers); Corydon Central 5 (Wiseman 3, Kaiser, Nalley).