The Connersville Spartans have won 4 straight games three times this season in carving out a 15-5 record. CHS will go for its 3rd-consecutive win tonight when it battles the host Dragons at New Palestine.
The Spartans were idle Friday, after beating East Central, 52-33, Thursday in an Eastern Indiana Athletic Conference game. New Palestine won it’s 5th game of the season Friday night, defeating Shelbyville, 74-72, to improve to 5-13.
Well known for its dominant football program that won the Class 4A state championship in 2014 and finished runner-up in Class 5A last season, the Dragons will bring a physical style of play to the court against CHS.
Sophomore Gavin Hausz is New Palestine’s primary scoring threat. The shooting guard averages just under 10 points a game and 2.7 rebounds. Hausz made 8-of-11 3-pointers and scored 26 points in a 67-62 loss to Perry Meridian on Jan. 30.
Junior Logan Duffy, also a 3-point threat, averages 7.7 points and 1.8 rebounds, junior Jalen Qualkinbush averages 8.8 points and 2.8 boards, senior guards Duke Blackwell and Caleb Vanderwal average 5.5 and 4.3 points, respectively, while combining for 6 assists.
Senior Johnathon McKay contributes 4.8 points and a team-leading 6.0 assists, senior Jaret Rightley (5.4 points, 4.0 rebounds) and junior Keegan Watson (3.6 points and 3.5 rebounds) provide an inside presence and freshman Matthew True has played in the last 3 games for 1st-year coach Trent Whitaker’s team, making a pair of 3-pointers in a 49-23 win over Yorktown on Jan. 29.
The Spartans know all about the 3-point shot. CHS is shooting just under 38 percent from behind the line (102-for-271), 45.7 percent in its last 2 games (16-of-35). Senior Tyler Billups has made 8 of his last 13 treys (61.5 percent), with junior Beau Isaacs knocking down 4 of 8.
Junior Grant Smith continues to lead head coach Kerry Brown’s squad in scoring, averaging 11.9 points a contest. Billups averages 11.8 points, Isaacs 11.2, Garrett Silcott 8.8, Chandler Graves 2.5, Noah Belt 3.1 and Dalton Huffman 1.6.
Isaacs leads the Spartans in rebounding at 6.3 a game with Grant Smith averaging 4.7. Silcott averages a team-high 3.6 assists; Smith nabs 1.5 steals and blocks 1.1 shots to lead those categories.
Connersville, seeking back-to-back EIAC championships, has two crucial conference games next weekend. CHS hosts Franklin County next Friday and plays at Lawrenceburg the following night.
• Grant Smith: 11.9 p, 4.7 r, 2.9 a, 1.5 st, 1.1 bks
• Tyler Billups: 11.8 p, 3.3 r, 1.5 a, 1.1 st
• Beau Isaacs: 11.2 p, 6.3 r, 0.9 a, 0.9 st
• Garrett Silcott: 8.8 p, 3.6 a, 2.6 r, 1.1 st
• Chandler Graves: 2.5 p, 3.2 r, 0.9 a, 0.9 st
• Noah Belt: 3.1 p, 0.6 r
• Dalton Huffman: 1.6 p, 1.2 r
• Wes Smith: 0.9 p, 0.5 r
• Dalton Lee: 0.5 p, 0.3 r
• Hunter Sullenbarger 0.0 p
• Braxton Revalee 0.0 p
• Gavin Wickes 0.0 p
Area / of interest
Connersville at New Palestine
East Central at Batesville (EIAC)
Rushville at Beech Grove (1:30 p.m.)
Lawrenceburg at Rising Sun
Switzerland County at Franklin County
South Dearborn at Milan
Mt. Vernon (Fortville) at Lawrence Central
Northeastern at Tri (TEC)
Hagerstown vs. Lapel (5:15 p.m., Bankers Life Fieldhouse)
South Ripley at Seymour
North Decatur at Knightstown
Indianapolis Arlington at Morristown
Indian Creek at Eastern Hancock (4 p.m.)
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