Fresh off of the school’s first win over Richmond in seven years, the Connersville Spartans are back in action tonight against another potential sectional opponent.
“Greenfield-Central is a really good team and a veteran team,” said Connersville head coach Kerry Brown, who’s been battling the flu this week. “They play very hard and they play extremely physical. It will be a tough game.”
The Cougars also have size that CHS will have to deal with, including Tate Hall, a versatile 6-5 senior, who averages 12.4 points and 9.4 rebounds to lead the team, and 6-3 senior Blake Robertson, who averages 11 points and 3.4 rebounds.
Kirill Schoellman, a 6-2 senior, averages 11 points and 5-10 senior Chandler Bean checks in at 4.6 points and 3.6 assists an outing for second-year coach Michael Lewis’ squad.
“Hall is a tough matchup,” said Brown. “He’s 6-5 and he plays all over the court. They’ve got several players who are similar to each other so they do things that can cause a lot of problems.”
The teams have one common opponent. Connersville defeated Indianapolis Broad Ripple, 54-46, in the second game of the season; Broad Ripple beat Greenfield-Central, 57-45, on Dec. 16.
If the Spartans are still flying high after their overtime win over Richmond, no one will blame them. After opening a 10-point lead early, CHS saw the Red Devils rally to make it 23-all game at halftime.
The nip-and-tuck affair saw the Spartans outscore Richmond, 16-10, in the fourth quarter and overtime, with senior Tyler Billups scoring 8 of his game-high 23 points during that stretch.
Sophomore guard Garrett Silcott and junior forward Beau Isaacs made clutch free throws in the extra session, and junior forward Grant Smith, hindered by a hand injury, made a key play when he fired a long pass to Billups who scored in the final seconds to nail down the victory.
Isaacs finished with 9 points, Smith had 8 points and blocked 5 shots, Silcott tallied 7 points, freshman guard Noah Belt had 3 and junior Dalton Huffman had two points on a pair of free throws.
“It was a great game. We had some big rebounds and made some big plays,” Brown said. “We challenged the kids about being the tougher team on the court and they responded well.”
Grant Smith leads a balanced CHS scoring attack, averaging 14.2 points a game. Smith is still bothered by the hand injury sustained during the South Dearborn game but is bouncing back toward 100-percent, according to Brown.
Billups has increased his average to 14 a contest, Isaacs and Silcott average 9.1 apiece, Belt 3.5, Chandler Graves 2.2 and Huffman 2.1.
Brown said the team is improving each week, something the coaching staff expects to continue. “We have improved on both ends of the court. We’re setting better screens, making better passes. But we want to make sure we keep moving forward and keep getting better.
“This game will be a good test for us. If they win the physical battle, it will be a hard game for us to win. We have to play tough and we have to play well.”
If you can’t make it to tonight’s game, you can listen to the action on Kmix 106.9 with announcers Sam Harvey and Dave Pollard.
The Union County Patriots also are in action tonight. UC (2-3) hosts Batesville (0-6) in non-conference play.
Area / games of interest
Greenfield-Central at Connersville
Batesville at Union County
East Central at Jennings County
Lawrenceburg at Taylor (Ohio)
Fishers at Muncie Central
Morristown at Southwestern (Shelby)
Winchester at Delta
Waldron at Oldenburg Academy
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