PSC Tourney First Round - Panthers gun down Commodores
Wade Bell, Sports Writer
The Corydon Central Panthers began their Perry-Spencer Holiday Classic run last Tuesday morning with a dominating 64-38 win over the Perry Central Commodores. The Panthers put eight players in the scoring column, while the Commodores struggled to get the ball in the basket.
“Our guys did a great job this morning taking the run as they go and being able to go through that and take what the other team throws at us,” said Panthers’ coach Joseph Hinton. “We were able to withstand that and do what we needed to do to get the job done. That’s something we’ve struggled with in years past, with those runs and letting teams come back or letting the game get out of hand. I thought our guys really controlled it and made sure we kept the lead.”
The Commodores got the first two points of the game when Camerin Etienne scored in the paint, but that would be the only time Perry would see themselves in the lead. Austin Vaughn immediately countered with a pair of baskets in the paint, putting Corydon Central out in front. Perry Central was finding some success in two-point land, but the Panthers were countering with three-balls, Nolan Ables and Anthony Martin hitting from behind the arc. That launched Corydon Central into a 10-2 run for a 14-6 advantage. Etienne drilled a three, but Vaughn countered in the paint as Corydon Central led by seven at the end of the first eight minutes.
Perry Central fought to get back in the game in the second quarter and ran off a 6-0 burst to close back within three, 18-15, forcing Hinton to call timeout. Following the break, the Panthers went on a 15-0 rage to lead 33-15. Andy Bishop sank a Perry Central three to end the run, but the Panthers took a 33-18 lead to the locker room at the break.
“Lately our guys have been extremely tough,” Hinton said. “We’ve had some tough practices. I’ve been really hard on them, and they’ve really responded. We’ve done a lot of dive drills and a lot of charge drills and a lot of rebounding, and our guys are really responding to that. We’re starting to get tougher throughout the season mentally and physically.”
Corydon Central pushed its lead into the 20s in the third quarter. The Commodores tried to get back in the game, but the Panthers proved to be too strong and they went on to the semi-finals with the 64-38 win.
“I just thought we got a little complacent there when we got the big lead, which can happen,” Hinton said. “I thought we had to ring it back in there. Our guys that came in did a good job of keeping that lead and making sure they never came back. I just thought we could execute a little bit better going forward.”
Corydon Central put four players in double figures with Martin leading the way with 19. Owen Shireman tallied 12 points, while Vaughn was right behind with 11. Tyler Fessel had 10 for the Panthers, who connected on 26 of 49 field goals (53%) and 5 of 6 free throws. Corydon Central had 20 turnovers for the game.
“We did a good job looking at the opposite block on the layup,” Hinton said. “That’s finding (Martin) on the reversal passes. Our guys moved extremely well today. We actually set some screens and moved the basketball. It wasn’t perfect by any means, but it was definitely a few steps forward from where we were at. Our guys really cut well. They moved the ball extremely well together in this game, and I saw a lot of positives out of that.”
Cole Hess led the Commodores with 10 points. Perry Central was 11 of 43 from the field (26%) and put in 10 of 18 free throws. The Commodores had 17 turnovers.
Hinton said he wasn’t worried about the winner of the Tell City-Crawford County first-round game. It was about taking care of the Panthers’ business.
“We’ve got to take care of us,” he said. “ … They’re well-coached ball teams. We’ve got to be worried about that, but we’ve got to be worried about ourselves more. If we move the ball, if we share the ball, if we cut down the turnovers, then we should be able to take care of business.”