CHS hangs on to defeat Greensburg in overtime; Spartans play Louisville Ballard Saturday night
The Connersville Spartans took sole possession of first place in the Eastern Indiana Athletic Conference Friday night, but the victory wasn’t easy.
CHS beat host Greensburg, 54-47, in overtime, after surrendering a 12-point, second-half lead, and allowing Pirates’ freshman Andrew Welage to rebound his own missed foul shot and score at the buzzer to force an extra session.
Connersville, now 11-1 overall and 3-0 in EIAC play, made 9-of-10 free throws in overtime to seal the win. Forward Beau Isaacs, who opened OT with a long 3-pointer, made all 4 of his free throw attempts down the stretch.
“It wasn’t pretty. It was a tough, hard-fought win,” head coach Kerry Brown told Kmix 106.9 radio. “The main thing was to come in here tonight and leave unbeaten in the conference, and we did that.”
Isaacs finished with 14 points and 8 rebounds. Forward Grant Smith led all scorers with 17 points, and grabbed 3 boards. Garrett Silcott had 12 points, 7 rebounds and 4 assists, Noah Belt scored 7 before fouling out, Hunter Sullenbarger added 3 and Braxton Revalee made 1-of-2 free throws.
Welage tallied 14 points to lead the Pirates (6-4, 2-1 EIAC).
“This was a good win on the road against a good, young team,” noted Brown.
The Spartans will have little time to rest after their 14th consecutive conference win. At 7 p.m. Saturday, Connersville will take on Louisville Ballard in the final game of the Indiana-Kentucky Challenge Cup at New Castle Fieldhouse.
Ballard, the 6th-rated team in Kentucky (Associated Press), played Louisville Male Friday night. (Results were not available at 10:20 p.m.) On Tuesday, the Bruins defeated Floyd Central (Indiana), 70-53.
Ballard’s quick and pesky defense resulted in 22 turnovers by the Highlanders, including 13 steals, so expect the Bruins to press CHS all over the court to try to prevent the Spartans from dictating the pace of the game. If necessary, Ballard also can play a patient game effectively.
Clivonte ‘Vonnie’ Patterson, a 6-3 swingman who’s considered Ballard’s best overall player, paced the Bruins with 25 points, 10 rebounds and 3 assists against Floyd Central. Marshon Ford added 12 points, 4 rebounds and 3 assists, Antoine Darby scored 10 points.
Nearly everyone on the roster contributes to the Bruins’ cause, including Kereion Douglas, Tyrese Duncan, Tyron Duncan, Delonta Wimberly, Dorion Tisby, Orlando Higginbottom and freshman Larelle Coleman.
However, Patterson is the player who makes things happen for head coach Chris Renner’s team, and he was nearly a one-man wrecking crew during the 8-team Wes Unseld Classic at Louisville’s Seneca High School in late December.
In Ballard’s 83-64 win over Paducah Tilghman in the quarterfinals, Patterson had 15 points and 13 rebounds. He finished with 16 points and 12 rebounds in a 76-68 victory over North Hardin in the semifinals, and he amassed 23 points, 11 rebounds, 4 assists and 4 steals in a 78-48 win over Calloway County in the title game. Also a 3-point threat, Patterson was selected as the tournament’s MVP.
When Patterson isn’t doing the most damage to opponents, Ford usually is. He had just 5 points and 3 steals in the championship game, but he totaled 16 points and 6 rebounds against Tilghman, and scored a game-high 20 points against North Hardin.
The Connersville-Ballard game is one of four in the Challenge Cup. The others include:
Bardstown (Ky.) (8-4) vs West Washington (8-2, 1A No. 19) — 1 p.m.
Franklin County (Ky.) (5-9) vs Cloverdale (8-5) — 3 p.m.
Louisville Waggener (Ky.) (7-5) vs Oak Hill (9-1, 2A No. 3) — 5 p.m.
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.
Connersville area / of interest
All games begin at 7:30 p.m. unless noted
Louisville Ballard (Ky.) (9-2) vs Connersville (11-1) (7 p.m., New Castle Fieldhouse)
Union County (3-7) at Franklin County (4-4)
McCutcheon (8-1, 4A No. 7) at Richmond
Shelbyville (5-5) at Greensburg
Muncie Central at Noblesville (4-6)
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