With their 4-game winning streak coming to an abrupt end last weekend, the Connersville Spartans are anxious to hit the court and put another W in the record book.
That chance comes Saturday afternoon when the Centerville Bulldogs challenge CHS in a non-conference game at Spartan Bowl (1:30). Connersville is 13-5 overall, Centerville is 3-11.
“It’s sort of a dangerous game and we’re not overlooking them,” said Brown, who scouted Centerville Wednesday night when the Bulldogs hosted Winchester. Centerville lost, 53-50, on a buzzer-beating 3-pointer by Kiante Enis — an All-State and heavily-recruited football player who earlier in the day signed a national letter of intent to attend and play the gridiron sport at Indiana University.
“They played well. They did everything but win the game,” Brown said about the Bulldogs, whose main weapons are 6-2 junior Matt Stamper (10.1 points, 3.9 rebounds a game), 6-3 sophomore Justin Dupree (10.0 points, 4.6 rebounds), 6-4 junior Alex Brandon (9.0 points, 4.8 rebounds) and 6-1 guard Ricky Torres (9.8 points, 3.0 rebounds).
Myles Cunningham, a 6-3 junior, (5.1 points), 6-0 freshman Dante Torres (5.9 points) and sophomores Michael Brewer and Kody Witham provide bench support for 1st-year coach Seve Beach’s squad.
“They remind me of Batesville, they’re long and athletic,” noted Brown. “They’ve got some guys that do a good job and they’ve got some quickness and athleticism. They just haven’t shot well in some games and they’ve had some turnover problems.”
If Centerville plays a zone defense against Connersville, it shouldn’t be a surprise. CHS shot just 9-for-30 against Mooresville’s zone in a 53-26 loss last Saturday. While the Spartans shot well in a 44-38 setback to Mt. Vernon (Fortville) Friday at the Bowl, the team hasn’t reached the 40-point plateau since defeating New Castle, 75-66, on Jan. 19.
Brown says the reduced number of points of late isn’t a concern. “As long as we execute our game plan it doesn’t matter if you score 40 points or 60,” he said. “We want to have great possessions and create great shots. That’s what we want but that wasn’t the case against Mooresville.
“Their defense was really solid and we only shot 30-percent. I thought it was a combination of things — their defense was excellent and us taking shots that were contested. We need to execute our offense better, get better looks and we need to make shots.”
Connersville averages 51.2 points a contest and shoots 46 percent from the floor. The Bulldogs average 46.0 points on 39-percent shooting. Defensively, CHS surrenders 44.7 points a game while Centerville gives up 54.1.
The coach said the Big Red has had good practice sessions this week, with a couple areas possibly getting some extra attention.
“We need to rebound better and we need to learn to play more physically. We need to be more physical and we’re working on that,” said Brown. “We played two good teams last weekend and hopefully we all got a good wake up call. It shows that we’ve got to play really well to win. Hopefully we’ll execute better than we did last week and make some shots.”
• Grant Smith: 12.1 p, 4.9 r, 3.0 a, 1.5 st, 1.1 bks
• Tyler Billups: 11.3 p, 3.2 r, 1.4 a, 1.1 st
• Beau Isaacs: 10.9 p, 6.2 r, 0.8 a, 0.9 st
• Garrett Silcott: 8.7 p, 3.3 a, 2.7 r, 1.0 st
• Noah Belt: 3.1 p, 0.6 r
• Chandler Graves: 2.4 p, 3.3 r, 0.8 a, 0.9 st
• Dalton Huffman: 1.8 p, 1.0 r
• Wes Smith: 1.1 p, 0.5 r
• Dalton Lee: 1.0 p, 0.5 r
• Hunter Sullenbarger: 0.0 p
• Braxton Revalee: 0.0 p
• Gavin Wickes: 0.0 p
Area / games of interest
Centerville at Connersville (1:30 p.m.)
Jac-Cen-Del at Greensburg (1:30 p.m.)
Shenandoah (No. 4 Class 2A) at Cambridge City Lincoln (1:30 p.m.)
Noblesville at Mt. Vernon (Fortville) (1:30 p.m.)
Shelbyville at Plainfield (1:30 p.m.)
Greenfield-Central at Greenwood (1:30 p.m.)
Batesville at New Castle (2:30 p.m.)
East Central at Columbus North (2:30 p.m.)
Mr. Pizza, Cambridge City
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