Crawford County holds off Corydon
Wade Bell, Clarion News
The Crawford County Wolfpack had to hold off a furious charge by the Corydon Central Panthers in the first morning round of the Perry-Spencer Holiday Tournament on Dec. 27. The Wolfpack had the game as a runaway but the Panthers responded late and Crawford County had to fight to hold on to the win.
“I will say for three quarters we played about as well as we could play,” said Crawford County coach Jerry Hanger. “It’s a good thing because we were able to get up by at least 27 points and hang on for the win.”
“If we would have played as hard as we did in the second half in the first half, it could have been a little different for us,” said Corydon Central coach Joe Hinton. “We played a little better defensively the second half to force the issue. We’ve got to be in that state of emergency to start the game. We can’t be in that emergency and get down by 20.”
The first half was all Crawford County. The Wolfpack put in more than half of their field goals in the first two quarters, hitting 14 of 21 from the field. Corydon Central struggled, putting down 5 of 13 in the first quarter leading to a 22-12 deficit. In the second quarter, the Panthers connected on 2 of 14 shots. The Wolfpack outscored the Panthers 18-6 in the period, resulting in a 40-18 lead at halftime.
“Usually when you’re against a zone, you get a lot of wide open shots,” said Hinton. “It’s just whether or not you make them. We’ve got to work on that over time. We’ve got to become better shooters. Then, we’ve got to rebound and put it right back up. Sometimes we’re a little bit hesitant with that.”
Crawford County’s Preston Coleman had the hot hand during the first half, putting down 24 points, including four three-pointers, in the first two quarters.
“The first quarter, when I hit those threes, that’s when I was feeling it, and it just carried on the rest of the game,” said the Crawford County senior.
Crawford County’s lead went as high as 27, 50-23, when Wyatt Allinger scored in the paint. Corydon Central’s charge back came after that as the Panthers outscored the Wolfpack 7-2. Crawford County’s Colten Nickelson was called for goal tending and got a technical foul in the run.
Allinger scored the first two points of the fourth quarter for the Wolfpack. After that came the 10-0 Panther run. Coleman put in the next three points, but Corydon Central came back again, this time for a 10-2 run, closing the gap to eight. Corydon Central got as close as six, but the free-throw line saved the Wolfpack, who held on for the 72-64 win.
“We played well for three quarters, then we let them get back in the game,” said Hanger. “We were up 27, then we let it get down to six. A lot of it had to do with complacency. We quit playing defense. We got very lazy with our passes. We anticipated a lot of our passes. We thought somebody was going to be there … ”
“It seems like every game we get down and then make a comeback,” Hinton said. “I’m proud of them for the fight. They could have just laid over. They could have thought and said, ‘It’s all good. We don’t need to win this game.’ But, they fought back. I’m real proud of that. I guess I’m just upset that we’re looking to improve, and we need to be ready at the beginning.”
Coleman led the Wolfpack with 44 points, hitting five shots from behind the arc. Allinger followed with 17 for the Wolfpack, who hit 25 of 42 field goals (60%) and 19 of 28 free throws. Crawford County had 21 turnovers, most of those in the second half.
“I did not expect that coming into this morning,” Coleman said of his 44 points. “Since we had no morning practices or anything, this is the first time we’ve played basketball this early.”
“We play as Preston plays,” said Hanger. “If Preston plays pretty well, we’ll play pretty well because he’s so active, good or bad … When he’s good, we’re pretty good because he does so many things. He had 44 points. That was a good night. He’s very capable of doing that, and we’ve not seen that this year. He needed some kind of confidence boost to play like that every night. He shot the ball well. He attacked very well.”
Fessel led Corydon Central with 17, and Jagger Holton hit for 16. Anthony Martin had 11, and Bryce Weber finished with 10 for the Panthers, who hit 22 of 63 field goals (35%) and 10 of 18 free throws. Corydon Central finished with 19 turnovers.
“If we stay out of the holes, I think we’ll start winning ballgames,” Hinton said. “We’ve got the potential, but we’ve got to accent that scale. The game plan will change the next time we play them, obviously. We’ll probably pressure them a little bit more and make them make mistakes. In the halfcourt, we let them get what they wanted, and we can’t let that happen.”
“Corydon played hard,” Hanger said. “They never gave up. There was a four-minute stretch there where we gave them 15 straight points. Good teams can’t do that. Our senior leadership needed to step up and say, ‘Enough’s enough. We’re just going to take the game back over.’ Fortunately, we came away with a win.”
Crawford County 22 18 15 17 – 72
Corydon Central 12 6 15 31 – 64
Crawford County (3-5) – Coleman 44, Allinger 17, Nickelson 4, Talley 4, Harvey 3.
Corydon Central (2-5) – Fessel 17, Holton 16, Martin 11, Weber 10, Kaiser 4, Adams 3, Gentemann 3.
3-point goals – Crawford County 6 (Coleman 5, Harvey 1); Corydon Central 8 (Martin 3, Weber 2, Adams 1, Fessel 1, Holton 1).