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Spartans gear up for visiting Bearcats

By GRADY TATE - gtate@newsexaminer.com

Following its game against New Castle last Saturday night, the Connersville High School boy basketball team will go in search of a little redemption this Saturday, when the team welcomes Muncie Central at Spartan Bowl.

The game will be part of a rare varsity doubleheader, with the Connersville girls opening things with a game against Guerin Catholic at 6 p.m., followed by the boys contest at approximately 7:30 p.m.

CHS is coming off a 48-37 loss to the second-ranked (3A) Trojans, and will be looking to change those fortunes quickly.

“We have great kids, boys that work very hard,” Connersville head coach Kerry Brown said, following the loss. “We might not have any Division I players, but the sum of our entire team is better than the parts. Tonight just wasn’t our night.”

Muncie Central comes into the game 3-7 (pending Friday night’s game against Richmond). Heading into that game with the Red Devils (results not available by press time), the team has wins over Yorktown, Jay County and Noblesville.

The Bearcats will bring with them a trio of double-digit scorers.

Tops among them is senior Christian Wells, who pours in 13.6 points per night, and has a 22-point effort against Guerin Catholic on his resume this season.

He is typically followed by teammates Victor Young (11.9) and Damarius Pegues (11.0).

On Connersville’s scoring column, Garrett Silcott sets the tone for CHS, the senior guard averaging 17.5 points per outing. Noah Belt is over the 10-point mark as well, putting 11.2 points on the board each night.

CHS’ calling card this season has been its defense, as the Spartans have held all 14 opponents they’ve faced below their average, in many cases by a considerable margin. As a result, Connersville is the second-best team in Class 4A with a defensive average of 40.21 points per game. Only Fort Wayne Carroll is better with a 39.44 average.

That could be a telling statistic in Saturday’s game, as Muncie Central averages 57 points per night on offense. Any number on their side of the scoreboard lower than that could be a big issue for the Bearcats, as the team surrenders an average of 62.2 points on defense.

 

Saturday’s game

MUNCIE CENTRAL (3-7) AT CONNERSVILLE (11-3)

Game time: 7:30 p.m. at Spartan Bowl

Coaches: Chandler Thompson, 3-7 in 1st year at Muncie Central. Kerry Brown, 134-79 in 9th year at Connersville, 216-177 in 17th year overall.

Sagarin ratings: Connersville, 83.64, 32nd overall, 22nd in Class 4A. Muncie Central, 69.92, 148th overall, 78th in Class 4A.

Last outing: Muncie Central defeated Noblesville, 55-43. Connersville lost to New Castle, 48-37.

vs. Common foes: Muncie Central 0-1, Connersville 1-0.

Opponents’ records: Muncie Central 74-44, Connersville 97-65.

Series last 30 years: Muncie Central, 6-5.

Last meeting: Connersville, 65-50, Jan. 14, 2017.

EASTERN INDIANA ATHLETIC CONFERENCE

Standings

EIAC All games Streak

Connersville 3-0 11-3 Lost 1

East Central 1-0 7-3 Won 2

Greensburg 2-1 10-3 Lost 2

Franklin County 2-2 4-7 Lost 5

Lawrenceburg 1-2 8-3 Won 6

South Dearborn 1-2 5-8 Lost 2

Rushville 1-3 2-10 Lost 6

Batesville 0-1 6-4 Won 2