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Panthers spoil senior night at South Central

Panthers spoil senior night at South Central
Panthers spoil senior night at South Central
Tyler Fessel drives to the basket for two points against the Rebels’ Dylan Patterson.
George Browning, Sports Writer, [email protected]

Corydon Central got behind early, fought back to take a double-digit lead and then had to hang on for dear life in a 56-53 win at South Central last Wednesday.

The host Rebels celebrated senior night, and those departing players gave the Panthers all they wanted.

“We knew they were going to come out hot and fired up,” said Corydon Central coach Joseph Hinton. “We know they are a volume shooting team and, once one or two shots go down, a lot of them are going to go down. They really wanted this win, and it showed by the way they played, but we wanted it, too. I told our kids it doesn’t matter if you get up 15 or down 15, we have to keep fighting. We were able to sustain their runs and fight back.”

Hinton’s forecast of a fired-up South Central team turned out to be true as the Rebels could do no wrong early.

Corydon Central led 10-6 in the first quarter, but a three by Ryan Steen pulled South Central to within one. Then, Jordan Huda drew a charge and scored a basket, giving the Rebels an 11-10 lead.

Dylan Patterson got in on the action when a steal led to a wide-open dunk, stretching the advantage to three, 13-10.

After a three by Cory-
don Central’s Jagger Holton, Patterson scored again and Austin Tyree and Lucas Stewart each drilled threes to put South Central on top 21-13 at the end of the first quarter. Stewart’s three was just past the half-court line as time expired.

The momentum continued on the side of the Rebels.

Patterson scored four more of his game-high 21 points off back-to-back steals, and Stewart got two after grabbing a defensive rebound and going the length of the floor for two points, extending the Rebels’ lead to 14, 27-13.

Corydon Central’s Bryce Weber hit two free throws to stem the tide, but South Central answered with a basket by Clay Thomas that kept the spread at 14.

The Panthers started the comeback when Anthony Martin got fouled going to the basket. He only hit one of two free throws, but his aggressive play seemed to light a fire under his teammates. Jacob Eve, who normally plays defense in the interior, was on top of Corydon Central’s zone defense. He stole the ball and dribbled the length of the floor for a two-handed slam.

Eve scored again after a defensive stop, and the Panthers were clawing back in the game down nine, 29-20.

Martin was fouled again and hit one of two free throws, and Tyler Fessel hit a two after grabbing an offensive rebound that trimmed the Rebels’ lead to six, 29-23.

Patterson scored to push the lead back to eight with two seconds remaining in the first half, but that left enough time for a long pass to Corydon Central’s Koleton Kaiser, who scored as time expired, making the score 31-25 at halftime.

“The outside shots weren’t falling,” Hinton said. “I told the guys we have to get the ball inside and attack their zone. We started getting quick ball reversal and attacking.”

The Panthers continued to crank up the defense, holding the Rebels to just four points in the third quarter while scoring 20 of their own.

The improved defense was in part due to Eve’s play at the top of Corydon Central’s 1-3-1 zone.

“Jacob was a monster out on top,” Hinton said. “We had never put him there before, and today he did a good job and got some steals and easy baskets for us.”

While Eve was the main clog at the top, Hinton credited everybody who played for their defensive contributions.

Offensively, Kaiser hit a three early in the third quarter, and another steal and dunk by Eve trimmed South Central’s lead to one, 31-30.

Baskets by Tyree and Patterson kept the Rebels in front by five, but the Panthers’ tide continued to come.

Fessel, who finished the game with 13 points and eight rebounds, hit a basket and Holton scored two after grabbing a defensive rebound.

A three by Martin not only erased all of the Rebels’ lead, it put Corydon Central on top by two, 37-35.

After a South Central turnover, Fessel sank a three and a once 14-point deficit was now a five-point advantage.

Holton scored again for the Panthers and Fessel hit another three, and Corydon Central was cruising, up 10, 45-35, at the end of the third quarter.

Yet, the Rebels weren’t ready to throw in the towel.

Stewart hit a three, and Caden Cunningham hit one of two free throws after grabbing two offensive rebounds and getting fouled going to the basket. That four-point swing cut Corydon Central’s lead to six, 45-39.

Holton scored five points off a three and a two, but they were answered with two free throws by Bryce Dixon and two more from Patterson.

The back and forth continued. Thomas hit another basket for South Central, and Tyree sank one of two free throws that cut the Panthers’ lead to five, 50-45.

After Tyree was fouled and hit one of two free throws for South Central, Fessel hit two free throws for Corydon Central with 1:40 remaining in the game, putting them up six, 52-46.

During the next 40 seconds, Patterson scored five points, including an old-fashioned three-point play with 1:02 remaining that cut the Panthers’ lead to one, 52-51.

Holton hit two free throws for Corydon Central to extend the lead back to three, 54-51.

South Central had a couple of looks at the basket, but a defensive rebound by Eve led to Fessel hitting one of two and stretching the lead to four, 55-51.

The Rebels cut it to two points when Patterson grabbed an offensive rebound and went up strong for two more points.

Trailing by two, 55-53, South Central was forced to foul, and Kaiser hit only one of two, which left the door open for possible overtime.

South Central in-bounded the ball with 2.2 seconds remaining. A half-court heave by Stewart hit the front of the iron and allowed the Panthers to get out of town with a win.

“We didn’t hit free throws tonight,” Hinton said. “We are typically a good free-throw shooting team. Hopefully, we will learn from the experience and knock those down in the future, because the misses allowed them to keep it close.”

The win improved Corydon Central’s record to 10-11. The Panthers will be back on the court tonight (Wednesday) when they play North Harrison in Class 3A Sectional 30 on the Panthers’ home court. The winner of that game will likely play Silver Creek on Friday in the sectional semi-final, provided the Dragons beat Charlestown last night.

South Central is now 8-14. The Rebels opened sectional play last night at Borden against Rock Creek.

Hinton said the Rebels are better than their 8-14 record indicates.

“They are a well-coached team,” Hinton said. “Coach (Greg) Robinson does a great job, and I have a lot of respect for him. He was a mentor of mine and he coached me and he does a wonderful job. His kids play really hard, and they hit a lot of shots against us. I was proud of the guys for handling the situation and coming out with a victory.”

Corydon Central               13   12   20   11 – 56

South Central                   21   10     4   18 – 53

Corydon Central (11-11) – Jagger Holton 14, Koleton Kaiser 14, Tyler Fessel 13, Jacob Eve 6, Anthony Martin 5, Bryce Weber 4.

South Central (8-15) – Dylan Patterson 21, Austin Tyree 9, Lucas Stewart 8, Ryan Steen 6, Clay Thomas 4, Bryce Dixon 2, Jordan Huda 2, Caden Cunningham 1.

3-point goals – Corydon Central 8 (Kaiser 3, Fessel 2, Holton 2, Martin 1); South Central 6 (Steen 2, Stewart 2, Tyree 2).