Spartans, Cougars ready for sectional showdown

Spartans, Cougars ready for sectional showdown

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Noah’s Battery, 320 E. 30th St., 692-0488

The Connersville Spartans will seek their 20th win of the season tonight, a victory that would put them in the championship game of the Class 4A Sectional 9 tournament at the New Castle Fieldhouse.

chs state championship bowl floor logo 2The Spartans’ opponent, Greenfield-Central, reached the 20-win mark Tuesday night, beating Richmond, 51-42, in the opening game of the 106th-annual IHSAA boys tourney.

Something has to give when the Spartans (19-5) and Cougars (20-4) go at it in the 1st game of the semifinals (6 p.m.), a game the players and coaches are looking forward to with much eagerness.

“It’s going to be a good game and it’s going to take a really good effort for us to win,” said CHS head coach Kerry Brown. “They’re a veteran team and they’re all good players but we have a lot of good players, too. We’ll have to play well to win and we’re looking forward to the challenge.”

In Game 2, Mt. Vernon (Fortville) (18-4) will battle New Castle (16-7), which defeated Pendleton Heights, 84-69, Tuesday.

beau issacs jumper vs northeastern doug j
Beau Isaacs

It will be the 2nd meeting of the season for the Spartans and Cougars. On Dec. 22, Connersville defeated Greenfield-Central, 47-40, in overtime at Spartan Bowl.

The Cougars jumped out to a 10-4 lead after one quarter but CHS bounced back, taking an 18-16 advantage at the half, and outscoring GC 15-9 in the 3rd period to take a 33-25 lead into the final 8 minutes.

Beau Isaacs topped the Spartans with 13 points, Garrett Silcott had 10 points and 5 assists and Grant Smith finished with 9 points and 5 rebounds. Tyler Billups scored 6 points and Chandler Graves, who took just one shot and did not score, corralled 4 rebounds and dished a pair of assists. Noah Belt scored 3 points.

The Spartans got a big lift from 6-3 junior Dalton Huffman, who came off the bench to score 6 points, grab 4 boards and earn CHS Player-of-the-Game honors on the popular MaxPreps website.

“We need all of our guys to play well again. We need a total team effort and that’s what we’ll have,” noted Brown.

grant smith free throw doug j
Grant Smith

Greenfield-Central’s win over Richmond was the team’s 11 straight victory. The senior-laden Cougars are led by versatile 6-5 swingman Tate Hall, who averages 18.3 points, 7.9 rebounds and 2.2 assists per contest. Hall, a University of Indianapolis recruit, had 21 points and 7 rebounds in the loss to the Spartans.

Blake Robertson, a 6-3 forward who has committed to Hanover College, averages 11.0 points and shoots 38 percent from 3-point territory.

Point guard Chandler Bean averages 5.3 points and 5.0 assists and runs the offense for the Cougars, with 6-2 guard Kirill Schoellman averaging 8.5 points and 3.3 rebounds for coach Michael Lewis’ team.

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In the win over Richmond, Bean led GC with 16 points and 5 assists. Hall scored 15 points and Robertson added 10.

“Hall is a load, he’s a really tough matchup but they have a lot of talent, just as we do,” Brown said. “And Bean, when he plays well they play well. They sort of mirror us, they do a lot of similar things that we do on the court.”

tyler billups layup doug j
Tyler Billups

Connersville’s ‘Triplets’ — Smith, Isaacs and Billups — continue to frustrate the Spartans’ opponents, averaging 11.9, 11.6 and 11.4 points, respectively. Isaacs averages a team-leading 5.9 rebounds, Smith averages 4.7 and Billups grabs 3.5. Smith records 3.0 assists an outing.

Silcott makes things go from the point guard position, scoring 8.7 points and dishing 3.5 assists a game. Graves averages 2.7 points, 3.2 rebounds and an assist.

Connersville hasn’t played since Feb. 23, when the team made 30-of-32 free throws in a 69-56 win over Class 2A No. 3 Northeastern at the Bowl. Brown doesn’t think the 10-day layoff will adversely affect CHS.

“They’re ready to play, we’ll be ready to go,” said the coach. “We need to be strong, attack the basket, get to the line and make our foul shots. We’re an unselfish team so we’ll make the extra pass and do what we need to do to win this game.”

(All photos courtesy of Doug Jordan Photography)

garrett silcott jumper doug j
Garrett Silcott

CHS stats:

• Grant Smith: 11.9 p, 4.7 r, 3.0 a, 1.4 st, 0.9 blk

• Beau Isaacs: 11.6 p, 5.9 r, 1.1 a, 0.8 st

• Tyler Billups: 11.4 p, 3.5 r, 1.4 a, 1.1 st

• Garrett Silcott: 8.7 p, 3.5 a, 2.6 r, 1.3 st

• Chandler Graves: 2.7 p, 3.2 r, 0.9 a, 0.9 st

• Noah Belt: 2.9 p, 0.6 r

• Dalton Huffman: 1.6 p, 1.1 r

• Wes Smith: 0.9 p, 0.4 r

• Dalton Lee: 0.7 p, 0.3 r

• Gavin Wickes 0.5 p, 0.3 r

• Braxton Revalee 0.1 p, 0.1 r

• Hunter Sullenbarger 0.0 p, 0.2 a


chandler graves box out vs northeastern doug j
Chandler Graves

Area sectionals
Tonight’s games

Class 4A Sectional 9 at New Castle

Connersville (19-5) vs Greenfield-Central (20-4)
Mt. Vernon (18-4) vs New Castle (16-7).
Championship game: Saturday, 7:30 p.m.

Class 4A Sectional 14 at East Central

Bloomington South (19-4) vs Bloomington North (8-14)
Shelbyville (8-14) vs Columbus North (10-13)
Championship game: Saturday, 7:30 p.m.

Class 3A Sectional 29 at Greensburg

Greensburg (14-7) vs Batesville (6-17)
Madison (11-12) vs Franklin County (13-10)
Championship game: Saturday, 7:30 p.m.

Class 2A Sectional 41 at Hagerstown

Centerville (6-14) vs Hagerstown (16-8)
Union County (15-8) vs Northeastern (20-4)
Championship game: Saturday, 7:30 p.m.

Class A Sectional 60 at South Decatur

Southwestern (Shelby) (12-10) vs Oldenburg Academy (15-9)
Jac-Cen-Del (18-6) vs Hauser (15-8)
Championship game: Saturday, 7:30 p.m.

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Photos by Doug Jordan, 265-1230

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The Pizza Place, 105 E. 16th St.

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