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By LARRY GOFFINET
TELL CITY—Derek Thomas and Tanner Cassidy combined for 42 points and 14 rebounds as Perry Central beat Corydon 61-57 in the first round of the PSC Holiday Classic boys basketball tourney Thursday.
The Commodores also played a strong defensive game, even though Corydon hit 60.0 percent from the field and 6-foot-7 sophomore all-state candidate Bronson Kessinger scored 23 points on 10 of 13 field-goal shooting.
“For the most part I thought we did a real nice job on him,” said Perry Central Coach Matt Carter. “We ran an extra defender at him at times and doubled him some.”
The Commodores pretty much shut down the Panthers’ perimeter game.
Kessinger hit two 15-foot shots and Brayden Lander hit a 16-footer. But the Panthers did not even attempt a three-pointer until the final four minutes and finished just 1 for 3 from that range.
The Commodores also made 11 steals—including four by Abe Schwartz and three by Thomas—with their quickness and tight defense on the perimeter.
“One advantage we had was we could pressure their guards and try to keep them from seeing inside,” said Perry Central Coach Matt Carter. “Sometimes your best post defense is harassing their guards.”
The Commodores also outrebounded the taller Panthers 24-22, with Thomas and Cassidy each grabbing seven.
“For four quarters we played really well on both ends of the floor, I thought,” said Carter. “We were just real consistent.”
Still they led only 58-57 after Kessinger made an inside basket and free throw with 41 seconds left.
The Commodores called three timeouts in the next 25 seconds to keep from turning the ball over. Then Cassidy hit two free throws.
After a Corydon charging foul, Schwartz hit 1 of 2 free throws to seal the outcome.
After struggling at the free-throw line early in the season, the Commodores hit 13 of 17 in this game and Corydon hit just 8 of 16.
Perry Central hit 47.7 percent from the field. Thomas scored 22 points on 8 of 11 field-goal shooting, including 3 of 3 from three-point range, and 3 of 3 free throws.
Cassidy added 20 points on 6 of 13 from the field, including 3 of 4 three-point shots, and 5 of 6 at the line.
Thomas and Cassidy each scored seven points, including a three-pointer, in the first 51⁄2 minutes of the third quarter as the Commodores increased a two-point halftime lead to nine points.
Perry Central improved to 5-1 while Corydon fell to 4-2.