The lengthy winning streak continues.
The experience of competing against the best opponents from another state was treasured by everyone in an Indiana uniform.
And that familiar noise generated from ‘Spartan Nation’ was loud and proud, with those things combining to make it a memorable night for Connersville’s Grant Smith and the rest of the 2017 IndyStar Indiana Boys All-Star team.
Smith had 6 points, one rebound and plenty of hustle as the Indiana stars defeated a talented and stubborn Kentucky squad, 94-89, Saturday night at Bankers Life Fieldhouse before a crowd of nearly 6,500 fans.
It is Indiana’s 17th consecutive win over Kentucky.
Mr. Basketball Kris Wilkes (North Central) scored 29 points to lead the winners, with 6-10 Jack Nunge (Castle) and Jalen Adaway (Logansport) scoring 12 apiece and Mack Smith (Warren Central) adding 10.
Kentucky was led by Mr. Basketball Taveion Hollingsworth, a 6-4 scoring machine who finished with 30 points on just 10-of-26 shooting, but whose aggressive offensive game resulted in him shooting 17 free throws — he made only 10.
Bombadier guard Jake Ohmer, who will join Hollingsworth at Western Kentucky this fall, added 20 points for Kentucky.
“I played all right. I attacked really well in transition and got my teammates involved,” said Smith, who played nearly 17 minutes but was hindered by foul trouble, picking up three by the 7:24 mark of the first half and finishing with four.
“We didn’t play as well as we could, but we executed all right and we got the win.”
Connersville head coach Kerry Brown, an assistant coach of the All-Stars, was relieved the Hoosier squad hung tough to get the victory.
“The most important thing is we won. We beat Kentucky and kept the streak alive, that’s what matters,” said Brown. “This is an excellent experience, competing against the best players from Kentucky. And it’s been non-stop. The kids — everyone involved — are doing something all the time. It’s a great experience and a busy time.”
Smith and Brown both acknowledged the fans from Connersville who made the trip to watch the sixth boys All-Star in CHS history and his teammates take on the best from the Bluegrass state.
“It’s a huge honor to wear an Indiana All-Star uniform and play in front of all the Indiana fans and all the Spartan Nation fans,” said Smith. “I can’t thank them enough for their support. They always show up and it means a lot.”
“This is the typical support from our fans for Grant and all of our (CHS) players,” noted Brown. “I thought we had the loudest crowd here, especially when they were introducing the players.”
The Indiana girls All-Stars saw a 7-game winning streak over Kentucky come to an end with a 75-67 loss.
Jaelyn Penn scored 20 points to pace the winners. Dana Evans (Gary West) led Indiana with 18 points, Miss Basketball Karissa McLaughlin (Homestead) tallied 12.
Today’s games, at the Convention Center in Frankfort, Ky., begin with the girls’ game at 2 p.m. with the boys action immediately following.
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