The Connersville Spartans will try to make it 10 straight wins Saturday afternoon when they host Centerville in non-conference action at Spartan Bowl (1:30 p.m.).
After impressive victories over Class 4A Mt. Vernon (Fortville) and Class 3A No. 11 Indianapolis Manual, the Spartans (17-1) are rated 18th in the Associated Press 4A poll. CHS received 6 votes to crack the top 20.
Centerville is 7-8 after beating Winchester, 60-52, on Wednesday in Tri-Eastern Conference play, a win that ended a 3-game losing streak for the Class 2A Bulldogs.
Head coach Kerry Brown’s quintet beat host Mt. Vernon, 88-85, in four overtimes, and topped Manual, 68-54, at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
Senior Grant Smith’s 47-point, 25-rebound and 11-assist performance in the wins led the way — and helped the 6-6 wingman win the Prep Hoops’ website’s Indiana boys high school ‘Player of the Week’ honors.
Two-point field goal attempts and clutch free throw shooting were keys in the Spartans’ pair of victories.
CHS made 23-of-42 shots against Mt. Vernon (15-of-22 two-pointers, 68 percent), followed by a 23-of-44 effort against Manual (18-of-30 two-point shots, 60 percent).
Connersville needed every point possible against Mt. Vernon. Smith and sophomore Noah Belt delivered from the charity stripe — especially in the clutch. In the end, both made 13 foul shots: Smith missed only two, Belt missed just one.
Despite a sub-.500 record, the Bulldogs have experience and talent, with junior forward Justin Dupree and senior forward Michael Stamper the primary weapons for head coach Seve Beach.
The 6-2 Dupree averages 10.9 points and 6.5 rebounds while Stamper averages a team-high 12.0 points and 3.3 rebounds.
Alex Brandon, a 6-5 senior, averages 8.2 points and 5.7 rebounds, 6-2 junior Michael Brewer averages 8.3 points, 4.3 rebounds and 2.6 assists and Kody Witham, a 6-0 junior guard, averages 6.3 points.
In the Bulldogs’ win over Winchester, Stamper scored a game-high 18 points, Brewer scored 15, Witham had 10 and Dupree scored 8.
Last year, CHS made 12 3-pointers in beating Centerville, 57-39, at the Bowl. Beau Isaacs tallied 13 points for the Big Red, Smith added 11 and Garrett Silcott scored 10. Dupree scored 16 points for Centerville.
The Spartans average 60.6 points a game and give up 47.1.
Centerville scores 50.6 an outing and gives up 48.9.
Sagarin ratings: CHS: 84.66 overall, 71.83 strength-of-schedule (118th), No. 27 4A, No. 29 all schools.
Centerville: 62.40 overall, 62.15 strength-of-schedule (222nd), No. 49 2A, No. 240 all schools.
The junior varsity contest begins at noon.
Notes: The Connersville Spartans 1972 state championship picture scrapbook is available for purchase at the main ticket window in the Bowl. The cost is $5 and all proceeds go to the CHS Athletic Department. The scrapbook also will be available at the Bowl for the Spartans’ final three home games.
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 statistics (17-1)
Grant Smith: 17.9 p, 10.2 r, 5.1 a, 1.8 st, 1.3 bks
Beau Isaacs: 12.2 p, 5.3 r, 1.3 a, 0.6 st
Garrett Silcott: 12.1 p, 4.2 a, 3.3 r, 1.3 st
Dalton Huffman: 5.2 p, 2.4 r, 0.6 st, 0.3 a
Noah Belt: 7.5 p, 1.9 r, 1.1 a, 0.4 st
Hunter Sullenbarger: 2.3 p, 1.1 r, 0.6 a
Braxton Revalee: 0.8 p, 0.8 r, 0.5 a
Dalton Lee: 1.2 p, 0.9 r, 0.4 a (17 gms)
Wes Smith: 1 p, 0.8 r, 0.4 a (13 gms)
Gavin Wickes: 1.5 p, 0.3 r (11 gms)
(All games begin at 1:30 p.m. unless noted.)
Centerville (7-8) at Connersville (17-1)
Greensburg (11-6) at Jac-Cen-Del (2-15)
Mt. Vernon (Fortville) (9-6) at Noblesville (8-9)
Greenwood (9-9) at Greenfield-Central (8-9)
Plainfield (11-5) at Shelbyville (10-6)
New Castle (11-3) at Batesville (9-7) (2:30 p.m.)
Columbus North (11-6) at East Central (12-5) (2:30 p.m.)
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