After Friday night’s 88-85, four overtime win over host Mt. Vernon (Fortville), it’s likely that many Connersville Spartans basketball fans are concerned about how much fuel CHS will have in the tank when it goes against Indianapolis Manual today at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
Whatever the concern level is won’t have a bearing on the outcome, and the Spartans — weary or not — will try to improve to 17-1 when they do battle with Manual (13-2, 3A No. 10) in ‘The Really Big Basketball Show 2017’ at The Fieldhouse.
The game is scheduled to begin at 5:30 p.m. It is one of four matchups in the event sponsored by Compton Strategies LLC.
The Spartans’ fantasy-like victory Friday was the result of the gritty, never-give-up attitude displayed all season by head coach Kerry Brown’s squad.
Leading by as much as 13 (40-27) but struggling in the waning minutes and trailing by 3, CHS got big plays and canned pressure-packed free throws to defeat a possible sectional opponent on its home court.
Grant Smith scored 27 points to lead Connersville, Noah Belt scored 23, Beau Issacs tallied 18, Garrett Silcott notched 16, Dalton Huffman and Hunter Sullenbarger both scored 2.
Michael Ertel scored a game-high 31 points for the Marauders.
“What a game,” Brown told Kmix 106.9 fm radio afterward. “Once again our kids showed some real character. It was huge to get off to a great start. We couldn’t put them away at the end but we made enough plays to get the win. It’s good to be on the winning side.”
CHS will play a tall Manual team that will try to run and utilize its speed all game, a tactic that’s helped the Redskins average over 83 points an outing — the highest scoring average in the state. Manual defeated 2A No. 9 Indianapolis Howe, 69-63, Friday night.
“They’re long, they’re athletic and they have a roster full of talent,” said Brown. “Manual might be the tallest team we’ve faced so we have to play hard and we have to play well.”
The Spartans have gone against several players this season who have outstanding individual talent. Manual senior Courvoisier McCauley might be the best scorer the team has faced.
The 6-5, 205-pound wingman averages 29.9 points an outing, shooting over 50-percent, and grabs 5 rebounds a game. He also shoots over 50-percent from 3-point land.
Other Manual players CHS must be concerned with include 6-6 senior Cameron Sembly (13.5 points, 5.9 rebounds), 6-8 sophomore Jalen Johnson (12.0 points, 6.9 rebounds), 6-7 senior Jaron Glenn (8.0 points) and T.J. Waldon (12.5 points).
Manual lost to Cathedral in the championship game of the Indianapolis City Tourney, 91-67, last Monday. It was the first loss for the Redskins since Dec. 9. Manual opened the season with a win over Urbana (Ill.), lost to Class 4A Fishers, 78-68, and then ran off 12-straight victories before falling to Cathedral.
Smith averages 18.0 points a game to lead CHS. Isaacs averages 12.2, Silcott 11.9 and Belt 8.0.
The Spartans have the 21st best defensive average in the state, giving up just 46.7 points a contest. CHS scores 60.1 points a game.
Sagarin ratings: CHS: 83.34 overall, 69.68 strength-of-schedule (135th), No. 33 4A, No. 40 all schools.
Indianapolis Manual: 84.55 overall, 71.11 strength-of-schedule (125th), No. 4 3A, No. 32 all schools.
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.
‘The Really Big Basketball Show 2017’ at Bankers Life Fieldhouse
Connersville (16-1) vs Indianapolis Manual (13-2, 3A No. 10) (5:30 p.m.)
Pendleton Heights (13-3, 4A No. 18) vs Indianapolis Pike (13-4, 4A No. 10) (2:30 p.m.)
Mt. Vernon (Fortville) (7-6) vs Delta (12-4) (4 p.m.)
McCutcheon (14-2, 4A No. 7) vs Danville (11-5) (7 p.m.)
Connersville area / games of interest
East Central at North Decatur
Franklin County at Oxford Talawanda
Cambridge City Lincoln at Daleville
Jac-Cen-Del at Union County
Batesville at Hauser
Richmond at Winchester
Greenfield-Central at Bedford North Lawrence
Shenandoah at Centerville
Northeastern at Liberty Christian (at Anderson University)
Tri at Southwestern (Shelby)
Union City at Blue River
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