If ice stays off the roadways between Fayette and Delaware counties this afternoon, the Connersville Spartans will go for win number 13 tonight.
CHS (12-1) travels to Muncie to challenge Central’s Bearcats, who fell to 2-9 Friday night with a 66-63 loss to Richmond.
The Bearcats’ record is deceiving, according to Connersville head coach Kerry Brown, noting that Central has a 69.75 overall rating in the Sagarin poll, and a 74.06 strength-of-schedule rating which indicates Central plays the 84th toughest schedule in the state. Team-wise, the Bearcats are rated 84th in Class 4A and No. 149 in Indiana.
The Spartans’ Sagarin numbers are 81.92 overall, 68.51 strength-of-schedule (144th), No. 39 in 4A and No. 51 overall.
Christian Wells, a 6-5 junior forward, averages 13.2 points and 6.6 rebounds per game to lead Central, with senior Jamel Barnes averaging 12.7 points and 3.0 rebounds. Barnes is not expected to play.
Tyrek Vicks averages 9.1 points and 2.8 rebounds, 6-2 forward Trenton Hatfield averages 7.0 points, 4.9 rebounds and 4.1 assists, 6-2 Jajuan Wells averages 6.2 points and 6-0 guard Kolby Mallory averages 4.8 points and 2.2 steals. All are seniors.
Victor Young III, a 6-2 freshman, has been a pleasant surprise for coach Jeff Holloway’s team, averaging 3.5 points in 9 games. He started against Richmond and scored 12 points, sharing team-high scoring honors with Christian Wells.
“They had five guys score between 8 and 12 points and that isn’t a bad thing,” said Brown, who scouted the Bearcats-Red Devils game. “They’ve got length and athleticism and I’m sure they’ll press us, but (Louisville) Ballard pressed us and we were able to handle it so we have to handle their defensive pressure.”
The Spartans haven’t played since defeating Ballard, 78-67, a week ago in the Indiana-Kentucky Challenge Cup at New Castle Fieldhouse.
Senior forward Grant Smith dazzled the crowd with 17 points, 12 rebounds, 11 assists and 3 blocked shots, sophomore Noah Belt made 9-of-11 shots and scored a career-high 20 points, Beau Isaacs tallied 18 points (four 3-pointers), Garrett Silcott had 16 points and 6 assists, Dalton Huffman scored 6 points and Hunter Sullenbarger scored 1.
Smith — who was the subject of a feature story this week on Phenom Hoop Report — averages 17.4 points, 9.7 rebounds and 4.5 assists to lead the Big Red. Isaacs averages 12.2 points and 5.2 boards, Silcott averages 11.6 points, 4.1 assists and 3.6 rebounds, Belt increased his scoring average to 6.3 and senior Dalton Huffman averages 5.0 points and 2.5 caroms.
The game begins at 7:30 p.m. If you can’t make it to Muncie, 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.
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