By CHRIS STONER
Sometimes a team just has your number.
Despite owning a six-point second-half lead, Class 3A sectional host Charlestown fell to Corydon Central for the eighth straight time on Wednesday, 50-43.
The defeat marked the third consecutive year that the Panthers have ended Charlestown’s season.
“I thought we controlled the tempo pretty well,” Pirates head coach Sean Smith said. “We spread ’em out, which is what we wanted to do. To [Corydon’s] credit, they stepped up and made some shot and made the plays they needed to make.”
The tournament host led from the start until a Brayden Lander triple gave Corydon (17-5) its first lead of the game at 32-31 with 3:53 left in the third frame.
The Pirates (11-10) shot just 25 percent (6 of 24) from the field in the second half, including a horrid 3-of-14 in the fourth quarter.
“ We were up six and took a couple of quick shots and got a little out of our game plan,” Smith said. “We needed to be patient and selective with that lead. Once they got that lead we had to get away from our game plan a little bit and that made it tough on us.”
The first half was all about Charlestown’s long-range shooting and the dominant play of Chris Braun. The 6-foot-4 inch senior poured in 14 first half points and the Pirates totaled five triples for a 29-25 halftime advantage.
“ We knew we’d have a hard time guarding [Bronson] Kessinger in the post, but we also felt like they’d have a hard time guarding our guys on the perimeter,” Smith said. “At half, we just talked about keeping doing what we were doing. We really wanted to push the lead to eight or 10.”
The most interesting statistic in the first half was a zero — that’s how many point Charlestown’s Aarron Daniel in first 16 minutes, yet his team was leading the favored Panthers.
“Aaron doesn’t care who scores,” Smith said. “He’s an ultimate team player. He’s a winner.”
Charlestown had trouble stopping Corydon’s 6-7 inch sophomore Bronson Kessinger all night. The Panthers’ leading scorer on the season pumped in 21, inculding seven in the decisive fourth period. Over half of Kessinger’s points came on dunks and put backs.
“ He’s hard to stop down low,” Smith said of Corydon’s big man. “He’s 6-7 and when he gets it in the right position, he’s hard to handle.”
Braun and Daniel combined for all 14 of the Pirates’ second-half points. Corydon shot 48 percent overall and won their fourth straight game, despite a poor 5-of-12 performance at the foul line.
“We had some good looks that didn’t go in and then we had some quick shots that we probably shouldn’t have taken,” Smith said. “You’ve got to give them some credit with their defense. They played well and forced us into some things we didn’t want to do. They’re a great team. They’ve won 17 games for a reason.”
Corydon will play arch rival North Harrison (14-7) in the second game Friday night at Charlestown. The Cougars beat Scottsburg 76-48 to advance to the semifinals.
Class 3A No. 4 Brownstown will face winless Salem in the other semifinal.