Spartans vs. Patriots … let the hoops season begin

Spartans vs. Patriots … let the hoops season begin

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The 2016-17 Connersville Spartans varsity basketball team. (Photo by Jeff Gabbard)

When a high school basketball team wins 21-of-27 games, earns a berth in regional competition, wins consecutive conference championships, returns three talented starters, a key substitute and a bench full of capable players eager to contribute, the goal is simple …

Just do it — again. 

chs-spartans-logoThat will be the case for the Connersville Spartans, who begin the 2016-17 season Wednesday night with the traditional Thanksgiving Eve clash against the Union County Patriots at Spartan Bowl. Tip-off is 7:30 p.m.

“We’ve had some good practices and we played pretty well Saturday against Knightstown,” said CHS head coach Kerry Brown. “We still have some things to work on and we’re working on them.”

The Spartans ‘won’ three of the four quarters against Knightstown in a controlled scrimmage. High-leaping senior forward Grant Smith, now 6-6, led the Spartans offensively. Smith topped CHS in scoring last year, averaging 11.8 points per contest. He also snatched 4.6 rebounds and dished 3 assists.

Along with Grant Smith, nine other players return for the Spartans, including rugged 6-4 , 222-pound senior Beau Isaacs (11.7 points, 5.7 rebounds last season), smooth 6-0 junior Garrett Silcott (8.7 p), who runs the Big Red from his point guard position and led CHS in assists last year (3.4), and 6-0 sophomore guard Noah Belt (2.7 p), a 3-point threat whom Brown says has earned a starting spot in the backcourt. Those four will start against Union County, along with 6-3 senior Dalton Huffman (1.6 p), who will man the middle and present a physical presence inside.

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Brown said Connersville will play a similar style to last season, with the possibility of utilizing a more up-tempo game at times.

“But we’ve got to be able to rebound to play quicker,” he said. “We have to continue to do the things we’ve done in the past. We have to rebound, play good defense and not turn the ball over.

“Those things don’t change whether you’re playing quicker or not. If we don’t guard people, don’t take great shots and make shots … those things aren’t negotiable. We have to do those things to be successful.”

The rest of the varsity roster includes 6-3 senior Hunter Sullenbarger, 6-3 senior Gavin Wickes, 6-0 junior Dalton Lee, 6-1 junior Wes Smith and 5-8 junior Braxton Revalee. Brown said all are capable of, and expected to contribute positive things as the season progresses. 

Two key players from last season are gone after receiving their diplomas. The Spartans will miss 6-2 forward Tyler Billups, who averaged 11.2 points, 3.3 rebounds and 1.5 assists, and 6-0 guard Chandler Graves, who averaged 2.8 points, 3.3 rebounds and an assist. Billups attends Manchester University and plays for the Spartans varsity hoops team. 

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

“It’s going to be difficult to replace them but we’ve got a lot of experience, we’ve got kids who play hard and who want to play and be successful,” noted Brown. “Some guys from last year’s bench are going to have to step up.”

One thing the coach definitely wants to see continue is the Spartans’ success at the free throw line. CHS made 388-of-488 free throws in 2015-16, an outstanding 79.5 percentage, and aggressive play on the offense resulted in the Spartans making more free throws than their opponents shot, a statistic Brown called “huge.”

Connersville defeated the Patriots last year, 49-33, and won four straight games before falling to Pendleton Heights, 45-35. Key players for coach Mark Detweiler’s UC crew include seniors Logan Sanford and Haidyn Lathery, and juniors Luke Haas and Preston Scott.

The Spartans and the CHS coaching staff want a similar — or better — start to the 2016-17 campaign. 

“It should be a good game Wednesday,” said Brown. “Union County has a good, solid team and they have high aspirations and high hopes for the season. And,” he added, “you know it will be a great atmosphere in the Bowl and it will be loud. The guys are ready to play.”

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Kmix 106.9 fm, Connersville

If you can’t make it to the game, you can listen to the action on Kmix 106.9 fm, featuring announcers Sam Harvey and Dave Pollard. Kmix 106.9 can be accessed via the iTunes media player.

 

2016-17 Connersville Spartans varsity roster 

No. 5 Hunter Sullenbarger Sr. 6’3 159 F

No. 12 Garrett Silcott Jr. 6’0 154 G

No. 22 Dalton Lee Jr. 6’0 161 G

No. 23 Wes Smith Jr. 6’1 179 F

No. 30 Noah Belt So. 6’0 173 G

No. 31 Braxton Revalee Jr. 5’8 152 G

No. 40 Grant Smith Sr. 6’6 177 F

No. 50 Dalton Huffman Sr. 6’3 222 C

No. 52 Beau Isaacs Sr. 6’4 222 F

No. 55 Gavin Wickes Sr. 6’3 246 C

 

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Photos by Doug Jordan, 265-1230

Coaching staff 

Head coach: Kerry Brown

Varsity assistant: JD Miller

Junior varsity: Chris Bottomley

Freshman: Tim Howard

Volunteer assitants: Kodi Smith, Zac Rea, Joe Daniels.

 

Junior varsity roster

No. 10 Dalton Ailes Jr. 5’6 140 G

No. 12 Clay Garrison Fr. 5’8 142 G

No. 14 Grant Davison So. 5’11 144 G

No. 20 Garrett Wickes Fr. 5’10 142 G

No. 22 Dylan Logan So. 5’10 140 G

No. 23 Brett Gray So. 5’10 161 G

No. 24 Jugman Dhami So. 5’11 171

No. 30 Tyler Combs Jr. 5’11 158 F

No. 32 Ethan Smith Fr. 6’0 170 F

No. 44 Drew Sherck Jr. 6’3 211 C

No. 54 Griffin Crowe So. 6’0 266 C

Athletic trainer: Audree Shaw.
Student managers: Katie Keegan, Cade Kelley.
Video: Rockey Young.

Varsity cheerleaders: McKenna Fox, Brooke Townsend, Madi Hamilton, Lauryn Truesdale, Chloe Eggers, Nick Wethington, Cheyenne Harmeyer, Katelyn Burris, Tia Horning, Brenna Friend, Jordyn Lingg, Kenzy Lynch, Sydney Moore, Ellie Martin, Katie Studebaker.

JV cheerleaders: Kira Lockhart, Grace Branson, Ali Sargent, Alexa Weber, Carly Payne, Kristen Schuler, Kylie Cummings, Hollie Slagle, Morgan Hauger, Allyson Venable, Hunter Lovett, Alyssa Bunch, Alyssa Mitchell. 

Cheer coaches: Jenny Mitchell, Ashleigh Mitchell.

Director of athletics: Brent Duncan.
Assistant athletic director: Shane Russell.
Athletic secretary: Bethann Pearson. 

 

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2016-17 CHS basketball schedule
(all games begin at 7:30 p.m. unless noted)

Nov. 23 — Union County (2A)

Dec. 2 — at Rushville (3A) •

Dec. 3 — at Shelbyville (4A) •

Dec. 10 — Pendleton Heights (4A)

Dec. 14 — South Dearborn (3A) •

Dec. 17 — at Richmond (4A)

Dec. 20 — at Greenfield-Central (4A)

Dec. 27 — Bob Wettig Tournament (Dec. 27-29, at Richmond)

Jan. 6 — at Greensburg (3A) •

Jan. 7 — Louisville Ballard (Ky.) (at New Castle Fieldhouse, 7 p.m.)

Jan. 14 — at Muncie Central (4A)

Jan. 17 — New Castle (4A)

Jan. 21 — Batesville (3A) •

Jan. 27 — at Mt. Vernon (Fortville) (4A)

Jan. 28 — at Indianapolis Manual (3A)

Feb. 4 — Centerville (2A) 1:30 p.m.

Feb. 9 — East Central (4A) •

Feb. 11 — New Palestine (3A)

Feb. 17 — at Franklin County (3A) •

Feb. 18 — Lawrenceburg (3A) •

Feb. 21 — at Northeastern (2A)

• Eastern Indiana Athletic Conference game

 

CHS final stats (2015-16, 21-6)

• Grant Smith: 11.8 p, 4.6 r, 3.0 a, 1.4 st, 0.9 bks

• Beau Isaacs: 11.7 p, 5.7 r, 1.1 a, 0.8 st

• Tyler Billups: 11.2 p, 3.3 r, 1.5 a, 1.2 st *

• Garrett Silcott: 8.7 p, 3.4 a, 2.6 r, 1.2 st

• Chandler Graves: 2.8 p, 3.3 r, 0.9 a, 0.9 st *

• Noah Belt: 2.7 p, 0.6 r

• Dalton Huffman: 1.6 p, 1.0 r

• Wes Smith: 0.8 p, 0.4 r

• Dalton Lee: 0.6 p, 0.3 r

• Gavin Wickes 0.4 p, 0.2 r

• Braxton Revalee 0.1 p

• Hunter Sullenbarger 0.0 p, 0.1 a

* = graduated 

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Mr. Pizza, Cambridge City

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Mr. Pizza, 239 W Main St., Cambridge City, 478-4721

Please Support Locally-Owned Businesses in Connersville!

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