By CHRIS STONER
Rarely does a big game live up to the hype.
However, the marquee game in the state didn’t just live up to expectations — it blew them out of the water on Friday night at Corydon.
In one of the best games of the year, Clarksville nipped Corydon Central 79-76 in overtime behind Calvin McEwen’s 42 points.
It was a game that had everything a fan could want. The Generals (11-1, 4-0 MSC) shot 56 percent, the Panthers 59 percent. Corydon (10-2, 3-1), the fourth-ranked team in class 3A, placed five players in double figures, led by Bronson Kessinger’s 21. Clarksville’s McEwen, Andrew Jones, and DJ Coleman accounted for 71 points.
It’s safe to say that all spectators received their $5 worth and then some.
“It was back and forth like a good boxing match,” Generals head coach Jason Connell said. “It was a great game. We had trouble guarding the post. It’s hard to simulate their size when you don’t have that yourself. But our guard play is great.“
McEwen scored 31 of his 42 in the second half and Andrew Jones nailed three of his game leading four 3-pointers in the fourth period to help force overtime. Those two combined for 52 of Clarksville’s 79.
“I’ll take guards over size any day,” Connell said. “It was a fun game and our guards stepped up.”
McEwen did everything the the class 2A No. 2 Generals needed. The senior standout totaled 14 field goals and was 13 of 15 from the foul line, including 6 of 6 in overtime.
“I have faith in my ability to score the basketball and get to the rim and create for my teammates,” McEwen said. “No disrespect to [Corydon] because they’re a helluva team, but I was in a zone and it didn’t matter who was guarding me.”
Corydon led 28-20 with 2:00 to go in the first half before the Generals end the half on a 7-2 run to pull within 30-27 at intermission.
“We had an opportunity to open it up and just wasn’t able to do it,” Panthers head coach Jamie Kolkmeier said. “They made some plays and we missed some opportunities. When you play a game at this level and don’t take advantage of opportunities, it’s hard to win.”
The home team shot a scintillating 72 percent on 8 of 11 shooting in the fourth quarter, but the dynamic duo of McEwen and Jones found a way to force overtime. The senior guards scored 19 of the Generals’ 21 fourth quarter points.
“Calvin knows the game,” Connell said. “He’s a special kid. He’s the type of kid that you maybe see come through every 20 or 25 years. He’s that type of player and he played great tonight. Jones played big for us in the second half. He gives us that other threat. He’s a scorer.”
The win kept Clarksville undefeated in the Mid-Southern Conference and was its third straight win over Corydon. While Connell joked that the game may have been fun to watch but wasn’t that fun to coach, his star player had a blast for all 36 minutes on the court.
“Hell yeah, it was fun to be out there,” McEwen said with a grin. “It was a helluva game. In my opinion, there is no greater thing is this world than lacing them up and being in a competitive basketball game.”
The Generals are back in action tonight at winless Southwestern (0-13).
CLARKSVILLE 79, CORYDON CENTRAL 78 (OT)
Clarksville 12 15 20 21 10—79
Corydon Central 18 12 18 20 8—76
Clarksville (11-1, 4-0 MSC): Calvin McEwen 42, DJ Coleman 11, Marquise Parrish 6, Andrew Jones 18, Evan Guenthner 2.
Corydon Central (10-2, 3-1): Timothy Wiseman 10, Tommy Wiseman 19, Brayden Lander 16, Mitchell Frederick 10, Bronson Kessinger 21.
3-point field goals: Clarksville 7 (Jones 4, McEwen, Coleman 2), Corydon Central 4 (Ti. Wiseman, To. Wiseman).
Rebounds: Clarksville 22, Corydon Central 25.
Turnovers: Clarksville 8, Corydon Central 11.
Field goal shooting: Clarksville 28-56, Corydon Central 29-49.
3-point field goal shooting: Clarksville 7-18, Corydon Central 4-8.
Free throw shooting: Clarksville 16-19, Corydon Central 14-19.
Junior varsity: Corydon Central 39, Clarksville 30.