Poor shooting. Somewhat sluggish play. Intensity that might be classified as missing in action. And a missing tooth — lost during the action.
The first three describe both the Connersville Spartans and Centerville Bulldogs basketball teams.
Connersville — point guard Garrett Silcott, actually — is the sole owner of any dental problems.
CHS overcame a less-than-stellar shooting performance and the loss of Silcott just 15 seconds into the fourth quarter to defeat Centerville, 45-32, Saturday afternoon at Spartan Bowl.
The Spartans’ 10th consecutive win gives the team an 18-1 record with a home conference game against East Central next Thursday.
“We did not play with the intensity and passion we needed to in the first half,” said CHS head coach Kerry Brown, who took full responsibility for the Spartans’ start.
“I didn’t have us prepared, we weren’t ready to play. But we played with intensity and passion in the second half and I thought that was the key. We just played harder in the second half which is a credit to the kids. And Garrett was playing with a lot of energy in the second half until he got hurt.”
Both teams played hustling defense in the opening 16 minutes, which somewhat contributed to easy shots failing to find their mark.
Centerville’s Justin Dupree got things started with a 3-pointer that eventually rolled its way in, and the Bulldogs led, 9-8, when a layin by Silcott at the 1:11 mark gave the hosts a lead they would never surrender.
CHS led, 18-15, at halftime, and used a layup and 3-pointer by Beau Isaacs to open the third stanza, a 3 by Smith, layups by Silcott and center Dalton Huffman — followed by a Smith one-hand jam after a steal and nice pass from Dalton Lee, and suddenly, it was 32-22. The quarter ended on an Issacs 3-bomb that made it 36-22.
Silcott was injured at the 7:45 mark of the final quarter in a head-to-mouth collision with Dupree. Bleeding badly and missing at least one tooth, the junior playmaker was taken to the lockerroom for treatment, and later to Fayette Regional Health System, according to Brown.
“It was a hard shot but he’s a tough kid. But he did get hit hard and from what I understand he lost at least one tooth and might have bitten through his lip badly.”
Despite Silcott’s absence, the Spartans stuck to the game plan and played hard, outscoring the Bulldogs, 9-8 in the final 8 minutes.
Sophomore Noah Belt and junior substitute Dalton Lee stepped up, with Belt scoring a basket, grabbing a pair of boards and hitting Huffman with a nice pass that resulted in an old-fashioned 3-point play, and Lee hustling his way to 4 rebounds, an assist and playing some physical defense.
“We got a lot of good minutes out of our bench tonight which is excellent,” noted Brown. “It’s not always points, it’s setting picks, rebounding, hustling …
“Dalton (Lee) played with great effort. He has some athletic ability, he’s got some quickness and I know he’s got some toughness, and we need that. Our bench did a good job.”
Smith finished with 13 points, 5 rebounds and 4 assists to lead Connersville.
Silcott had 11 points, 4 boards and 4 assists, Isaacs finished with 11 points and 5 caroms, Huffman scored 8 points and Belt totaled 2 points, 3 rebounds and 2 assists.
Senior guard Michael Stamper led Centerville (7-9) with 14 points, 6-5 Alex Brandon scored 10 and Dupree had 8.
“We’ll have to be ready for East Central,” Brown said. “They’ve got a good team, they’re playing well and they’re well coached. It’s a conference game so we have to be ready to play.”
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