Panthers hang with Creek for a while then falter late
George Browning, Sports Writer, [email protected]
Corydon Central coach Joseph Hinton isn’t in to moral victories, but he was happy with his team’s effort despite an 83-61 loss to visiting Silver Creek on Friday night.
“I thought we hung with the best team in the state for 2-1/2 quarters,” Hinton said. “I thought we continued to fight in the fourth quarter. A couple of calls here or there and a missed basket or two and all of a sudden it would have been a real good game. I thought we gave it our all and we played tough against them. They are a talented team, and we gave it a good shot.”
The Panthers did more than hang close early; they led for nearly all of the first quarter, thanks primarily to the play of Jagger Holton, who scored nine points in the opening quarter. Corydon Central led 18-15 heading into the second period.
The break between quarters must have been a wake-up call for the Dragons, who opened the second period with an 11-0 run that turned the three-point deficit into an eight-point, 26-18, lead.
Corydon Central ended the run off a three-point basket by Koleton Kaiser that sparked a back-and-forth offensive flurry, until he hit another three that was followed by a two from Tucker Gentemann, that pulled the Panthers to within four, 32-28.
Trey Kaufman, who had coaches from the University of North Carolina in attendance watching him, hit a three for Silver Creek, and Kooper Jacobi hit two free throws that extended the advantage back to nine, 37-28.
Tyler Fessel scored five points down the stretch and Alton Adams added a three-point basket to end the second quarter. Those points were answered by two more from Kaufman, who ended the night with 39 points, and two free throws from Branden Northern, giving Silver Creek a 41-36 advantage at the half.
Turnovers on four consecutive possessions to open the second half doomed Corydon Central, because they helped spark an 11-2 run by the Dragons, putting them on top 51-38 with a little more than four minutes remaining in the first half.
After four quick points to start the third by Silver Creek, Corydon Central’s Jacob Eve hit a basket, trimming the deficit to six points, 44-38. On the ensuing possession, the Dragons drew Kaiser’s third foul, sending him to the bench and they took advantage. Silver Creek went on a 7-0 run before a three by the Panthers’ Anthony Martin ended it.
After Martin’s three, Kaufman went back on the scoring attack, outscoring the Panthers by himself 8-2 down the stretch in the third quarter, including knocking down 4-of-4 free throws.
The Panthers tried to stay close. Threes by Martin and Fessel cut the lead to 13, 62-49. Like they had through the entire game, the Dragons responded with another run, this time 9-2 that allowed them to put the rest of the game on cruise control.
In the end, Silver Creek’s big three — Kaufman, Jacobi and Northern — were too much. Jacobi had 27 to go along with Kaufman’s 39, and Northern added 10.
If it’s possible for a player to have a quiet 39 points, Hinton felt like Kaufman’s were.
“It didn’t feel like he had 39 points,” Hinton said. “I thought we did a good job on him all night. I thought we clamped him. I thought he hit some tough shots and hit his free throws. He had a good night, but it didn’t feel like he had that many.”
Fessel scored 17 points to lead Corydon Central, and Martin added 14.
After his quick start, the Dragons held Holton to just two points after the first quarter, for a total of 11 points.
Hinton thought the stretch of turnovers to start the second half really put the Panthers at a disadvantage, but he said they fought hard, even after getting down.
“We got scatter-brained for a minute and forgot what we were doing,” Hinton said. “We just weren’t focused like we needed to be. I am proud of the guys. We missed some layups and missed some shots, but it’s the game of basketball. It’s not going to be perfect. I thought the kids played super hard, and we did what we had to do to put ourselves in a chance to win the ballgame.”
The Panthers could get another shot at the Dragons next week. Corydon Central will play North Harrison on Wednesday, March 4, and the winner of that game will likely play Silver Creek in the Class 3A Sectional 30 semi-finals.
A re-match wouldn’t be something Hinton or the Panthers would shy away from.
“A couple of adjustments here or there, putting a couple of Band-Aids on a few areas and we might have a shot at sectional,” he said. “The key will be just putting the same product on the floor that we did early in this game.”
Before they get to sectional, the Panthers have two more games in the regular season. They traveled to South Central last night (Tuesday) to battle the Rebels and will host Bedford North Lawrence on Friday.
Silver Creek 15 26 18 24 – 83
Corydon Central 18 18 7 18 – 61
Silver Creek (21-2, 9-0) – Trey Kaufman 39, Kooper Jacobi 27, Branden Northern 11, Trey Schoen 4, Nolan Gilbert 2.
Corydon Central (10-11, 4-5) – Tyler Fessel 17, Anthony Martin 14, Jagger Holton 11, Koleton Kaiser 10, Jacob Eve 4, Alton Adams 3, Tucker Gentemann 2.
3-point goals – Silver Creek 3 (Jacobi 2, Kaufman 1); Corydon Central 10 (Martin 4, Fessel 2, Kaiser 2, Adams 1, Holton 1).