Corydon starts strong but can’t hold off BNL
George Browning, Sports Writer, [email protected]
Like it has most of the season the Corydon Central boys’ basketball team went toe to toe against a talented opponent but came out on the short end of a 72-62 game last Friday against visiting Bedford North Lawrence.
“We had a lot of missed opportunities,” said Corydon Central coach Joseph Hinton. “We made too many mistakes and, against good teams, you can’t do that.”
One of the areas Hinton pointed to was his team’s missed free throws. Corydon Central hit 22 of 31 from the free-throw line.
“We missed nine free throws, and I know you can’t be perfect from the line, but we lose by 10, and you have to wonder what would’ve happened if we would have hit at least four or five of those to keep the game a lot closer,” he said. “Hitting those would have put more pressure on BNL. A couple of those were bonus opportunities, as well. One point here or there makes a huge difference in a game like this.”
On a night filled with the emotion of senior night, Corydon Central rode that wave to an early lead against the visiting Stars.
Tyler Fessel and Koleton Kaiser both drained threes in the first quarter and combined to hit five free throws that put the Panthers on top 11-2 with 4:44 remaining in the first quarter.
What looked like it might be a blowout in the making got a little closer when Kooper Staley drilled threes on back-to-back possessions for BNL.
After another missed opportunity to score for the Panthers, Bedford scored two more off two free throws by Coleton Leach, trimming the deficit to one, 11-10.
Another basket by Fessel was answered with two more by Leach, giving Corydon Central a one-point lead, 13-12, heading into the second quarter.
Anthony Martin came off the bench and got the scoring started for the Panthers in the second quarter with a basket that put his team on top 15-12.
Bedford got the two right back, thanks to a basket by Jackson Miracle, and then took the lead after a defensive stop led to an old-fashioned three-point play by Brayton Bailey.
That play sparked a series of back-and-forth action.
Martin hit a three with 5:35 remaining in the first half that turned a one-point deficit back into a two-point lead for the Panthers.
Two free throws by Jagger Holton and another basket by Bailey helped the two teams trade the lead.
Fessel went to the line for Corydon Central and sank two free throws that gave the Panthers a one-point advantage, 22-21, and, after a defensive stop, they got three more points when Martin converted an old-fashioned three.
Martin’s three put Corydon Central up 25-21 with 1:33 remaining in the first half.
Bedford ended the half on a 5-2 run, thanks to a basket by Zach Sasser and Staley’s third three of the first half.
The Panthers’ two points came off a basket by Fessel.
Corydon Central led by one, 27-26, at halftime.
The Panthers built on the one-point lead in the early minutes of the third quarter. A basket by Tucker Gentemann and two free throws from Jacob Eve gave Corydon Central a five-point lead, 31-26.
Staley hit his fourth three to end the run, and a series of turnovers and missed opportunities opened the door for a BNL spurt that put the Stars in control of the game.
A three by Leach and two shots from behind the arc by Ben Cosner put the visitors on top, 38-31.
Corydon Central showed a little life when Fessel hit three more of his team-high 20 points.
The break in BNL momentum was only temporary, as the Stars outscored the Panthers 7-0 to end the third quarter, giving them an 11-point lead, 45-34, heading into the fourth quarter.
That lead would prove to be enough.
Corydon Central stayed within arms’ reach of the Stars but couldn’t come up with enough stops to get back in the game. The closest the Panthers were able to get was seven, 67-60, after Holton scored a basket off an offensive rebound with 35.6 seconds remaining.
Hinton said while he would have liked to have won the game, there is no shame in losing to a Bedford team that played New Albany close and beat Jeffersonville during the regular season.
“It was a good game to prepare us for sectionals,” Hinton said. “I am proud of the guys for the way they fought and especially the seniors, who have worked their butts off for four years. They are good kids, and I was glad they were able to put up a fight tonight.”
The loss ended Hinton’s first regular season as varsity head coach with an 11-12 record.
Everything resets now that tournament play gets underway. The Panthers will host the Class 3A Sectional 30 and open play tonight (Wednesday) against county-rival North Harrison.
The battle of the Cats, tournament edition, will be the second game as two other rivals, Charlestown and Silver Creek, will square off at 6 p.m.
Bedford N.L. 12 14 19 27 – 72
Corydon Central 13 14 7 28 – 62
Bedford North Lawrence (15-9) – Kooper Staley 23, Brayton Bailey 14, Coleton Leach 14, Ben Cosner 8, Jackson Miracle 7, Zach Sasser 6.
Corydon Central (11-12) – Tyler Fessel 20, Anthony Martin 15, Jagger Holton 7, Koleton Kaiser 6, Jacob Eve 4, Tucker Gentemann 4, Alton Adams 3, Bryce Weber 3.
3-point goals – Bedford N.L. 11 (Staley 7, Cosner 2, Leach 2); Corydon 8 (Fessel 3, Martin 2, Adams 1, Kaiser 1, Weber 1).