Bluejackets suffer second straight one-point loss in home game against Perry Central

Brendan Tolliver (23) shoots a floater over Jared Wagner (20)

By Noah Dalton

Back-to-back Patoka Lake Athletic Conference games for Mitchell High School have now resulted in back-to-back one point losses for the Bluejackets, after they were defeated Friday at The Hive, 54-53 by Perry Central.

The circumstances for this game were a bit different from last week’s matchup against West Washington, where Mitchell fell 58-57.

In that game, the Senators came out strong early, outscoring them by 23 in the first half. The Bluejackets then rallied, mounting a second-half comeback that put them within one with a few seconds left, before West Washington let the clock expire to close things out.

On Friday against the Commodores, the two teams remained close throughout with Mitchell maintaining small lead throughout most of the game, but Perry Central never letting that advantage extend above seven. It wasn’t until there was 1:30 left in the fourth, when the Commodores took the lead for the first time in the game, a lead they’d narrowly hold for the remainder of play.

Mitchell’s Ben Seitzinger backs down a Perry Central defender

In a game this close, every play matters. Bluejackets’ head coach Jackson Ryan said he felt his team failed to execute at a few key moments. He also said he felt as if they left too many points at the free-throw line, as the team shot just 44% from the stripe across 16 total attempts on the night.

“The biggest thing was free throws. I think seven of 16, whatever it was. So we’re gonna come in tomorrow and shoot some free throws in the morning. It’s tough to go back to one, singular thing. We missed a free-throw block out there at the end that they got a two on. A couple untimely empty possessions on our part throughout the second half,” Ryan said.

Closing out games has been a struggle throughout the season for Mitchell. The team has been able to generate leads in many of their matchups this year, but have struggled to hold on to them late in games, leading to narrow losses. To this point in the season, the Bluejackets have had eight games finish a single-digit margin. Of those eight, they have one just one, which was their third game of the season against Crawford County on Dec. 2.

“One thing that’s so tough is when do you attack when you have the lead and you have the ball? When the game tightens up, you know, when do you attack, how do you attack, what’s a good shot, what’s a bad shot? And that’s something we’ve struggled with all year. You look at those seven games that we’ve dropped within four points, I think we’ve had a lead and half of them, if not more than that. So something that we’ve got to work on,” said Ryan.

Mitchell’s Kale England rises for a jumper against Perry Central

Mitchell’s lead was generated early on largely thanks to their strong play on the defensive end, where they held Perry Central to just eight first quarter points, forcing six turnovers in the period to go up by six when it was over.

Though the Commodores were able to up their scoring output and limit their turnovers beyond that point, the Bluejackets were able to fend them off. Carrying a two-point lead into the half.

Mitchell’s first-half scoring was balanced, with Brendan Tolliver and Dawson Irwin both scoring eight, Kale England scoring six and Austin Mosier scoring five.

Perry Central began to really apply pressure in the third as Travis Kellams caught fire, hitting three straight threes in the quarter. They tied the game with two minutes left in the third, but a basket from Mitchell’s Bryson Shoults with 40 seconds left kept them in the driver’s seat heading into the fourth. The Bluejackets were aided by a seven point third quarter from Irwin, who shot a perfect 3/3 from the field in the period.

Another Kellams triple in the fourth, as well as a couple of baskets from Cohen Edwards saw the Commodores continue to chip away at Mitchell’s lead, but Irwin and Tolliver continued to find points, keeping Mitchell ahead, until a three from Chase Huber, his first and only points on the night, gave them a two-point lead with a minute and a half to go.

An offensive rebound and basket from Jared Wagner and some clutch free throws from Kellams were enough to do it after that for Perry Central, who survived by the end despite Mosier finding Tolliver, who had been shooting well all night at 64% from the field, in transition with just a few seconds left for a wide-open look at the buzzer to potentially win the game.

Mitchell’s Austin Mosier attempts a layup in over Jared Wagner from Perry Central

“I gotta give credit to Austin Moser. You know, clocks winding down, he could have just taken a dribble and force something up but instead he makes the right read and gets it to Brendan Tolliver. And Brendan’s having a heck of a game, wide-open jump shot for the win. I’ll take that. So, we had our opportunities, but I can’t fault our kids effort. They executed and they played hard. We’ve just got to step up and make a player or two at the end,” Ryan said.

Tolliver scored a season-high 17 points on the night, many of which came when his team needed them the most. Tolliver scored seven in the fourth quarter, scoring his team’s final five points of the game in the last minute. Ryan spoke highly of Tolliver’s efforts after the game.

“Brendan Tolliver, in my now three years that I have been here, it’s the best game I’ve seen him play. Night in and night out, he’s gonna have to guard the other team’s best player on the perimeter, so that wears on you. So, anything we get offensively is a bonus and he had 17 points and I didn’t feel like he pushed a single shot,” Ryan said.

“I didn’t feel like he shot a single bad shot and I just thought he played his game and he played hard and he’s just such a great athlete. And this was a matchup that he could really use that to his advantage and credit to him he stepped up and did that and I was really proud of him. That was one thing we talked about in locker room; that is a senior player stepping up in a conference game, playing like his season depends on it. And, I just couldn’t be more proud of Brendan Tolliver tonight,” he continued.

Mitchell also got 17 points from Irwin, who had began the season in the team’s starting lineup, but had recently shifted to coming off the bench.

Mitchell’s Dawson Irwin shoots a three against Perry Central

Gavin Robinson, who had been starting in games in place of Irwin missed Friday’s matchup with an injury, giving Irwin a second chance at the starting lineup. That opportunity was one he did not let go to waste, as he finished the game shooting 77% from the floor and 60% from deep en route to his 17 points.

“I believe around coming out of Christmas break, against South Central we moved him from the starting lineup to the bench and that’s tough, especially when you’ve been starting all year. You know the BNL game’s tough on him, but credit to him he’s still trying to get better. He comes in every day, works hard and because of that, with Gavin Robinson being out tonight, we gave him the opportunity and gotta give the kid credit because he stepped up in a big way and took full advantage of it,” said Ryan.

Next, the Bluejackets (3-14) will battle 4A Bloomington South (12-5). A strong team, Ryan anticipates a tough matchup ahead for the Bluejackets, one he hopes can serve as good experience for them moving forward.

“That’s why we scheduled the game. We want to give our kids the opportunity to play with the big boys and see what that’s like. You know, we are trying to build a program to where we are competing with these schools and the only way to get there is to see that to see that length, to see that athleticism, to see that size. It was gonna be a challenge for us. I mean, it’s gonna be a huge challenge for us but at the end of the day, as long as we keep progressing and keep getting better and do what we need to do, that’s what we’re worried about,” he said.



  • Austin Mosier – 7 points, 2/8 shooting, 2/2 FT, 4 rebounds
  • Ben Seitzinger – 2 points, 1/3 shooting, 0/6 shooting, 4 rebounds
  • Kale England – 8 points, 3/3 shooting, 2/2 FT, 2 rebounds
  • Brendan Tolliver – 17 points, 7/11 shooting, 3/7 FT, 5 rebounds
  • Dawson Irwin – 17 points, 7/9 shooting, 0/0 FT, 1 rebounds
  • Aiden Pridemore – 0 points, 0/2 shooting, 0/0 FT, 1 rebound
  • Bryson Shoults – 2 points, 1/1 shooting, 0/0 FT, 2 rebounds

Perry Central

  • Carter James – 0 points, 0/1 shooting, 0/0 FT, 1 rebound
  • Lucas Mitchell – 11 points, 4/6 shooting, 1/2 FT, 4 rebounds
  • Jared Wagner – 6 points, 2/4 shooting, 2/2 FT, 3 rebounds
  • Chase Hubert – 3 points, 1/1 shooting, 0/0 FT, 1 rebound
  • Caleb Hubert – 0 points, 0/1 shooting, 0/0 FT, 1 rebound
  • Travis Kellams – 17 points, 5/9 shooting, 2/4 FT, 1 rebound
  • Corbin Haughee – 0 points, 0/3 shooting, 0/0 FT, 0 rebounds
  • Caden James – 6 points, 2/6 shooting, 2/3 FT, 1 rebound
  • Cohen Edwards – 11 points, 5/7 shooting, 1/2 FT, 4 rebounds
  • Wick Craney – 0 points, 0/1 shooting, 0/0 FT, 1 rebound