When Connersville and Richmond met on the hardwood a year ago, the Spartans defeated the Red Devils, 52-47, in overtime. The victory was CHS’ first against their rivals from Wayne County since Dec. 12, 2008.
If all goes as planned for head coach Kerry Brown and the Spartans, a second-consecutive win is just hours away.
Connersville (5-0) and Richmond (1-5) will go at it Saturday night at Tiernan Center, with tip-off scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Richmond lost to Indianapolis Tech, 56-54, Friday night.
Offensively, the Red Devils will try to push the ball up the court as quickly as possible, and won’t waste any time launching the orange toward the rim when within range — a distance that extends many feet from the basket.
“They like to run and they shoot a lot of 3s, and they can make them,” said Brown. “We have to do a good job defensively against them. We have to keep them in front of us because they’ve got quickness and they can shoot the ball.”
Richmond always seems to have a multi-talented guard on its roster and this season is no exception. Christian Harvey, a 5-11 junior, does a little bit of everything for head coach Rick Wedlow’s team, averaging 24 points, 4.6 assists and 4.2 steals an outing. Harvey erupted for 39 points against Class 4A No. 1 Indianapolis North Central on Dec. 2, but the Red Devils were blitzed, 105-51.
RHS also gets good production from 5-11 senior Trey Griffin, who averages 11.6 points and 2 rebounds, senior guard Tyler Hampton who scores 9.6 points a game, 6-3 senior A.J. Ferguson (3.2 points, 7 rebounds), 6-5, 245-pound junior Kei’Shaun Clemons (3.4 points, 4.8 rebounds) and freshman guard Richie Wedlow (4.6 points).
“Harvey can light it up from deep and Hampton can really shoot it, too,” Brown said. “Harvey is more of a scoring point guard but he’s really dangerous with the ball because he will get it to his teammates. We have to be concerned with containing them and we have to rebound.”
Brown noted that Richmond has lost to some “really good” teams, and he called the Red Devils’ 43-42 win over Jay County on Nov. 26 a good win against a solid team. Griffin had 17 points in the victory, Hampton scored 14 and Harvey passed for 10 assists.
The Spartans are coming off a 40-24 win over South Dearborn, the team’s 16th consecutive victory in Eastern Indiana Athletic Conference play.
Grant Smith finished with 16 points and a season-high 14 rebounds for Connersville. Beau Isaacs had 14 points and 7 rebounds and Noah Belt made a pair of 3-pointers and scored 7 points.
Garrett Silcott, who was ill with a virus, played reduced minutes and was ineffective but is expected to be 100-percent by game time Saturday, according to the coach.
Smith leads the Big Red in scoring (16.2) and rebounding (8.2), Silcott averages 10.6 points and 5.2 assists and Isaacs checks in at 8.8 points and 6.6 caroms.
Noah Belt scores 4.2 points a game and Dalton Huffman averages 3.8 points and 2.2 rebounds.
No one knows if last year’s win will have a carryover effect for CHS, but the desire to make it back-to-back victories in the decades-old series is strong.
“It’s a good rivalry — it might not be as much of a rivalry game to Richmond because they won so many games (7 straight, 9-of-11) — but they’re hungry for a win and a win over us would give them some notoriety,” said Brown.
“And beating them would be a good win for us. It’s always a tough game when we play Richmond so we have to play hard.”
If you can’t make it to Richmond, 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.
CHS will be back in action on Tuesday with a road game at Greenfield-Central (2-3).
Connersville statistics (5-0)
Grant Smith: 16.2 p, 8.2 r, 2 a, 2 bks, 1.4 st
Garrett Silcott: 10.6 p, 5.2 a, 2.4 r, 1.8 st
Beau Isaacs: 8.8 p, 6.6 r, 0.8 st, 0.4 a
Noah Belt: 4.2 p, 1.4 r, 0.4 a, 0.4 st, 0.2 bks
Dalton Huffman: 3.8 p, 2.2 r, 0.6 st, 0.4 bks, 0.4 a
Hunter Sullenbarger: 2.2 p, 1.6 r, 0.4 a
Gavin Wickes: 1.7 p, 0.3 r (3 gms)
Dalton Lee: 1.6 p, 1.6 r, 0.4 a, 0.2 st
Wes Smith: 1 p, 1 r, 0.3 st (4 gms)
Braxton Revalee: 0.4 p, 1 r, 1 a, 0.4 st
Rushville (1-4) at Lawrenceburg (2-1) •
Winchester (3-1) at Union County (2-2) (8 p.m.) ‡
New Castle (6-0) at New Palestine (1-4)
Greensburg (3-2) at Jennings County (2-1)
Greenfield-Central (2-3) at Yorktown (1-4)
Mt. Vernon (Fortville) (2-4) at Shelbyville (2-3)
Northeastern (4-0, 2A No. 2) at Shenandoah (5-1, 2A No. 9)
Hagerstown (4-0, 2A No. 19) at Centerville (3-2) ‡
Muncie Central (1-3) at Anderson (0-5)
(• = Eastern Indiana Athletic Conference)
(‡ = Tri-Eastern Conference)
(All games begin at 7:30 p.m. unless noted)
Connersville (5-0) at Richmond (1-4)
Franklin County (3-1, 1-0 EIAC) at Greensburg (3-2, 1-0 EIAC) •
East Central (4-1) at Batesville (3-2)
Rushville (1-4) at Pendleton Heights (4-2)
Cambridge City Lincoln (5-1) at Eastern Hancock (2-3)
Franklin (4-0) at Shelbyville (8 p.m.)
Delta (5-1) at Muncie Central
Mississinewa (3-2) at Mt. Vernon (Fortville)
Hagerstown at Monroe Central
Northeastern vs Seton Catholic (3-2) (8:30 p.m., Earlham College)
Tri at Union City ‡
National Trail (Ohio) at Centerville
Tuesday, Dec. 20
Connersville at Greenfield-Central
Union County at Batesville
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