The Connersville Spartans are well known for utilizing a patient and deliberate offensive game that often results in low-scoring contests. While many fans anticipated that CHS would need to slow down things against Louisville Ballard, that wasn’t the case.
Connersville got a career-high 20 points from sophomore Noah Belt, a triple-double from Grant Smith and four Spartans scored in double figures as CHS defeated Ballard, 78-67, in the nightcap of the Indiana-Kentucky Challenge Cup at New Castle Fieldhouse.
Connersville improves to 12-1, Ballard, the 6th-rated team in Kentucky, is 10-3.
Smith had 17 points, 12 rebounds, 11 assists and 3 blocked shots for the Spartans, Beau Isaacs canned four 3-pointers and scored 18 points, Garrett Silcott scored 16 points and passed for 6 assists, Dalton Huffman finshed with 6 points and Hunter Sullenbarger added a free throw.
Belt, who made all 7 of his 2-point shots and 2-of-4 3-pointers, also had 3 rebounds and 3 assists.
Vonnie Patterson led Ballard with 13 points, Tyron Duncan scored 12 points and Marshon Ford added 9.
Silcott and Belt made back-to-back 3-pointers to give CHS a 10-4 lead midway through the first quarter, which ended with Connersville leading, 16-14.
A 20-6 run by the Spartans pushed the lead to 36-20 late in the second quarter.
Isaacs made two of his treys during the run, and Belt, one of Connersville’s top 3-point threats, got behind the Bruins’ defenders for four baskets. CHS led 38-29 at halftime.
Head coach Kerry Brown’s team outscored Ballard, 18-15, in the third period to take a 56-44 advantage into the final 8 minutes.
Smith scored 8 points in the fourth quarter, and the Spartans made 10-of-14 free throws to keep Ballard at bay.
Smith and Cloverdale’s Cooper Neese were named co-MVPs of the Challenge Cup and Isaacs was named best shooter.
Next up for Connersville is a non-conference game at Muncie Central on Saturday, Jan. 14. The Bearcats, 2-8, lost to Noblesville, 43-40, Saturday night.
Connersville-Ballard box score
CHS: Noah Belt 20 p; 3 r, 3 a; Beau Isaacs 18 p, 4 a; 3 r, Grant Smith 17 p, 12 r, 11 a, 3 bk; Garrett Silcott 16 p, 6 a, 3 r; Dalton Huffman 6 p, 1 r; Braxton Revalee 2 r, 1 a, 1 st; Hunter Sullenbarger 1 p, 1 r; Dalton Lee 1 r; Wes Smith 1 r.
Ballard: Vonnie Patterson 13 p, 5 r; Tyron Duncan 12 p, 2 a; Marshon Ford 9 p, 5 r; Tyrese Duncan 7 p; Dorion Tisby 6 p; Kereion Douglas 5 p; Antonie Darby 3 p; Delonta Wimberly 4 p; Jamil Wilson 4 p; Alexander Holley 4 p.
(Game stats have been updated.)
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