After breezing past Union County in their season opener, the Connersville Spartans will head west twice this weekend to battle a pair of familiar opponents.
CHS, rated No. 22 in this week’s Associated Press poll (tied with Pendleton Heights), travels to Rushville tonight for an Eastern Indiana Athletic Conference game against the Lions (0-1), and will square off against No. 20 Shelbyville Saturday night in a non-conference game at William L. Garrett Gymnasium. The Golden Bears (2-0) play at Columbus North (2-0) tonight.
“It’s a conference game and it’s on the road. We want to get off to a good start in the conference which is very important so we need to play well and win this game,” Connersville head coach Kerry Brown said about Rushville.
The Spartans shot 20-of-41 from the floor against Union County, and 11-of-24 from behind the 3-point line in a 63-29 victory. Senior forward Grant Smith scored 27 points, grabbed 6 rebounds and passed for 3 assists to lead Connersville.
Junior guard Garrett Silcott finished with 8 points, 9 assists and zero turnovers and senior Hunter Sullenbarger scored 6 points off the bench. Nine players dented the scoring column for the Big Red.
“I was happy that everyone played and contributed. We need that,” said Brown. “Grant and Garrett played excellent games — Garrett’s numbers were remarkable. But we need balance this year, a balanced attack, and that’s what we’ll continue to do to be successful.”
Rushville lost its season opener to Shelbyville, falling 61-43 at Memorial Gym. The Golden Bears’ full-court press hurt the Lions badly, allowing Shelbyville to break open a game it led just 24-20 at halftime.
Guard Nick Sprinkle, a 5-10 senior, scored 10 points to top Rushville, 6-3 senior forward Sean Taylor tallied 8 points and 5-11 junior guard Austyn Farley added 6.
“Rushville graduated a lot of talent but they’re still a very capable and dangerous team. We have to be ready to play,” noted Brown.
Last year, CHS defeated the Lions, 56-48 in overtime.
Against Rushville, Shelbyville was led by senior Cooper Lewis, who scored 24 points, making six 3-pointers.
Sophomore Zach Kuhn finished with 16 points and 9 rebounds for the Golden Bears, senior John Lux had 10 points and 7 boards.
A night after dispatching the Lions, Shelbyville (2-0) shot nearly 50 percent from the floor in a 70-52 win over Triton Central, with 6-4 junior Brock Blackwell canning 6-of-7 3-point tries and scoring a career-high 26 points to lead the way.
Kuhn added 13 points and junior Sam Lewis had 10 for the winners, who made 19-of-27 shots in the second half — 10-of-11 in the final 8 minutes.
The Golden Bears play at Columbus North (2-0) tonight.
“Shelbyville is young but they played varsity ball last year as freshmen, sophomores and juniors so they do have game experience and they are talented,” said Brown. “We’ll have to be ready Saturday night and we’ll have to play well and do the things we need to do.”
Brown’s team blitzed the Golden Bears last season, 83-50, with CHS making 48-of-55 free throws, a state record for free throws made in a game. The Spartans made 40-of-44 freebies in the 2nd half, 19-of-20 in the 4th quarter.
If you can’t make it to the games, 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.
Connersville statistics (1-0)
Grant Smith: 27.0 p, 6.0 r, 3.0 a, 1.0 st, 1.0 bks.
Garrett Silcott: 8.0 p, 9.0 a, 3.0 st, 1.0 r.
Hunter Sullenbarger: 6.0 p, 5.0 r, 1.0 a.
Noah Belt: 5.0 p, 2.0 r, 1.0 st.
Dalton Huffman: 4.0 p, 3.0 r.
Dalton Lee: 4.0 p, 2.0 r, 1.0 a.
Gavin Wickes: 4.0 p, 1.0 r.
Beau Isaacs: 3.0 p, 6.0 r.
Wes Smith: 2.0 p, 3.0 r, 1.0 st.
Braxton Revalee: 0.0 p, 2.0 r, 2.0 a, 2 st.
Area / games of interest
Connersville (1-0, 4A No. 22) at Rushville (0-1) •
Richmond (1-1) at Indianapolis North Central (1-0, 4A No. 3)
Hamilton Heights (1-1) at New Castle (2-0)
Milan (0-0) at East Central (0-0)
South Dearborn (1-1) at Jac-Cen-Del (0-2)
Covenant Christian (0-2) at Mt. Vernon (Fortville) (0-2)
Indianapolis Marshall (0-1) at Greenfield-Central (0-1)
Pendleton Heights (2-0, 4A No. 22) at Lapel (2-0, 2A No. 1)
Union (Modoc) (0-1) at Cambridge City Lincoln (3-0)
Union County (1-1) at Knightstown (0-2)
Centerville (2-0) at Northeastern (2-0, 2A No. 3) ‡
Blue River 0-2) at Tri (1-1)
Union City (0-3) at Randolph Southern (1-2)
Shenandoah (2-0, 2A No. 7) at New Palestine (0-1)
• = Eastern Indiana Athletic Conference
‡ = Tri-Eastern Conference
(all games 7:30 p.m. unless noted)
Connersville (1-0) at Shelbyville (2-0)
Richmond (1-1) at East Central (0-0)
Rushville (0-1) at New Palestine (0-1)
Centerville (2-0) at Franklin County (1-0)
Batesville (1-0) at Greensburg (2-0)
New Castle (2-0) at Anderson (0-2)
Milan (0-0) at Lawrenceburg (0-0)
Knightstown (0-2) at Hagerstown (2-0)
Carmel (1-0, 4A No. 6) at Pendleton Heights (2-0)
Delta (2-0) at Bluffton (1-0)
Greenfield-Central (0-1) at Perry Meridian (1-2)
Mt. Vernon (Fortville) (0-2) at Decatur Central (0-1)
Please Patronize Locally-Owned Businesses In Connersville and Cambridge City!
Mr. Pizza, Cambridge City