It’s impossible to know if tonight’s Connersville-Pendleton Heights boys varsity basketball game will feature the tension and excitement seen in the Spartans’ win over Shelbyville a week ago — particularly the nerve-wracking fourth quarter — but the teams are prepared for whatever develops.
No. 19 CHS, 4-0 after wins over Eastern Indiana Athletic Conference rival Rushville, 46-36, and Shelbyville, 35-34 — thanks to a running floater by senior guard Garrett Silcott that banked high off the glass and parted the net just before the buzzer — will try to knock off the host Arabians, a potential Sectional 9 opponent.
On Friday night, PH (2-3) defeated previously unbeaten Mt. Vernon (Fortville), 63-59, in a Hoosier Heritage Conference game.
A week ago, the Arabians were blitzed by 4A No. 17 Carmel, 59-28, in a non-conference road contest.
Player suspensions reportedly have contributed to a slow start by Pendleton Heights, a veteran team CHS head coach Kerry Brown said likely was the favorite to win the Sectional 9 title.
“They’re a perimeter-oriented team and they’ll do the things they’ve done in the past and run similar sets,” said Brown. “They have a lot of talent and good shooters and scorers. They haven’t jelled yet because they had some turmoil but Pendleton Heights is a very good team.”
Trent Miller, a 6-3 senior, averages just under 15 points a game, shoots over 40-percent from 3-point territory and nabs 3 rebounds an outing for coach Kevin Bates’ squad.
Senior guard Justin Shupe averages 14 points, 3.3 rebounds and 2.8 assists. Shupe was the lone Arabian who scored in double figures against Carmel, tallying 12 points.
Forward Eli Pancol, a 6-4 junior, averages 9 points, 6.8 boards and 2 steals, and 6-4 sophomore Tristan Ross averages 3 points and 3 rebounds. Damieon Warrum, a 6-6 junior who did not play in the Arabians’ first four games, is expected to play against CHS. PH no longer has the services of sharpshooting guard Karstan Windlan, who transferred to Carmel High School.
“They’ve got a lot of weapons. Miller is their best player, their best shooter and best scorer,” Brown said. “Shupe is a really good player, Pancol has incredible athleticism and rebounds well and Ross can play and has size.”
Brown and his coaching staff hope the Spartans are still riding on a wave of enthusiasm, and remain fired up enough to execute the game plan and make it 20 consecutive regular season victories.
“That was a great performance Saturday night. We did some good things in the fourth quarter but we need to execute better and we have to continue working hard to get better and we are getting better,” Brown said.
Silcott made 8-of-13 shots in the win over Shelbyville, finishing with a game-high 19 points and 3 rebounds.
Jacob Brown had 5 points and 4 rebounds for the Big Red, Wes Smith had 3 points and 3 boards, Braxton Revalee scored 3 points and snagged 2 caroms, Dalton Lee made a pair of free throws and pulled down 3 rebounds, Noah Belt finished with 2 points, 2 assists and 1 rebound and Clay Garrison had 1 point, 1 assist and a steal.
The Spartans made 9-of-18 2-point shots, 2-of-7 3-pointers and 11-of-14 foul shots against the Golden Bears.
On the season, CHS has made 61 shots in 123 attempts (49.6 percent) — 49-for-84 on 2-pointers (58.2 percent) and 12-of-39 treys (30.7 percent). From the charity stripe, Connersville is 51-of-71 (71.8 percent).
“We’ve dominated our opponents from the free throw line which is important and we’ve played well most of the time, but Garrett needs some help scoring, that’s for sure,” Brown said.
“We need some other guys to step up, make some shots and help out and we’re working toward that. This game will be a good test for us — a major test for us.”
Notes: Prior to last year’s CHS-Pendleton Heights game at Spartan Bowl, five members of Connersville’s 1972 state championship team and former head coach Myron Dickerson were honored. The players appearing were ’72 Mr. Basketball Phillip Cox, who sang the National Anthem before the game, Gerald Thomas, Jim Free, Larry Miller and Jeff Jones. … CHS held on to defeat the Arabians, 41-39 when a contested 3-pointer by 6-4 senior Mark Albers bounced off the rim at the buzzer. … Silcott led the Spartans with 24 points and 5 assists. … Albers, like 2017 CHS graduate and Indiana All-Star Grant Smith, is playing basketball collegiately. A forward at NAIA Division II Marian University (Indianapolis), Albers averages 11 points and 5.1 rebounds. Smith averages 9.5 points, 4.1 rebounds and 3 assists for Indiana Wesleyan, the 4th-ranked team in NAIA Division II. … Indiana Wesleyan (10-2) beat Marian (8-4), 89-71, on Dec. 5. Smith had 8 points and 6 assists in 27 minutes of play. Albers played 23 minutes before fouling out, recording 8 points and 4 rebounds.
If you can’t make it to tonight’s 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.
(Photos by Doug Jordan)
(Stats via Maxpreps)
Connersville statistics (4-0)
Garrett Silcott: 72 pts / 18 ppg, 3.8 r, 2.3 st, 1 a
Noah Belt: 34 pts / 8.5 ppg, 2.3 r, 1.3 a, 0.8 st
Wes Smith: 22 pts / 5.5 ppg, 3 r, 0.3 a, 0.3 st
Dalton Lee: 21 pts / 5.3 ppg, 2 a, 1.8 r, 0.8 st
Jacob Brown: 15 pts / 3.8 ppg, 4.3 r, 0.8 st, 0.5 bk, 0.3 a
Braxton Revalee: 6 pts / 1.5 ppg, 1.8 r, 1.8 a, 1.3 st
Drew Sherck: 6 pts / 1.5 ppg, 1 r
Tyler Combs: 3 pts / 1 ppg, 0.7 r, 0.7 a (3 games)
Garrett Wickes: 3 pts / 1.5 ppg (2 games)
Dylan Logan: 2 pts / 1 ppg, 0.5 r (2 games)
Clay Garrison: 1 pt / 0.5 ppg, 1 st, 0.5 r, 0.5 a (2 games)
Dalton Ailes: 0 pts / 0 ppg (2 games)
Ethan Smith: —
Connersville area / of interest
Connersville (4-0, 4A No.19) at Pendleton Heights (2-3)
Batesville (1-2) at Plainfield (2-1)
Blue River (0-5) at Rushville (0-4)
South Dearborn (2-2) at Franklin County (3-1)
Mooresville (1-2) at New Castle (4-0, 3A No. 20)
Yorktown (2-2) at Shelbyville (3-2)
Switzerland County (0-3) at East Central (0-1) (6 p.m.)
Knightstown (2-3) at Indiana Math & Science (1-3)
Tri-Village (Ohio) (1-1) at Northeastern (2-2)
Union (Modoc) (0-3) at Tri (1-3) (6 p.m.)
Milan (4-0, 2A No. 20) at Waldron (2-4)
Mr. Pizza, Cambridge City