Boys BB: County tournament preview
December 27, 2012By Andrew Smith of Hancock County Sports
Hancock County boys basketball tournament
SEMIFINALS (11:30 a.m., Dec. 29)
Greenfield-Central (0-6) at Eastern Hancock (2-5)
New Palestine (6-2) at Mt. Vernon (6-0)
CHAMPIONSHIP/CONSOLATION (7:45 p.m. Dec. 29)
Championship: Greenfield-Central Cougar Gym
Consolation: Greenfield-Central fieldhouse
Webcasts of both semifinals & championship game: www.ihigh.com/hancockcountysports
Head coach: Josh Johnson (4th year at G-C, 17-52; 11th overall, 81-137)
Results this year: L Beech Grove 43-58; L Whiteland 60-71; L New Castle 41-55; L Perry Meridian 38-51; L New Palestine 40-68; L Yorktown 44-45.
Pts for/against: 44.3/58.0
Sagarin rating: 59.45 (94th 4A/239 overall).
County championships: 2003-04.
Last year in the county tourney: 4th
All-time county tourney record: 7-11
Projected starters: G-Zach Batton; G-Jordan Keener; F-Derek Conley; F-Cole Oleksy; C-Grant Wolfe.
Top scorers: Derek Conley (13.2); Jordan Keener (12.0)
Top rebounders: Grant Wolfe (3.3), Jordan Keener (3.3)
Best result so far: A 45-44 loss to Yorktown on Dec. 14
Outlook: The Cougars are 0-6, but don’t be fooled by their record. They’re much-improved from last year’s 3-18 squad. A big reason why is the emergence of Jordan Keener as a double-figure scorer and the return of Derek Conley. Between those two – who average 25.2 ppg (the team averages 44.3) – the Cougars get a lot of their scoring. But a lot of other players – among them Wolfe, Oleksy, Tyler Batton and Mason Irbe – all contribute and fill vital roles for the Cougars. Interestingly G-C has appeared in the county final five times. They won the initial title in 2003-04, and three of the four runner-up finishes have come in OT games.
EASTERN HANCOCK (2-5)
Head coach: Aaron Spaulding (14th year at EH, 151-144)
Results this year: L Centerville 37-45; L Indian Creek 56-60; W Southwestern (S) 57-46; L Northeastern 54-59; W Knightstown 54-37; L Cambridge City Lincoln 55-60; L North Decatur 52-62
Pts for/against: 52.1/52.7
Sagarin rating: 53.03 (65th 2A, 306th overall)
County championships: none
Last year in the county tourney: 3rd
All-time county tourney record: 6-12
Projected starters: G-Victor Vincz; G-Isaiah McCormick; G-Shane McCormick; F-Garrett Lee; F-Cody Wallace
Top scorers: Victor Vincz (16.7), Cody Wallace (11.6), Garrett Hancock (9.3).
Top rebounders: Cody Wallace (7.3), Victor Vincz (5.7), Spencer Gilbert (5.0)
Best result so far: A 54-37 win over Knightstown on Dec. 14
Outlook: The Royals’ record is a bit deceiving, as they’ve been in a ton of close games – even the losses to Centerville and North Decatur were closer than the final score might indicate due to fouling at the end of the game. EH also has been shorthanded for much of the year, as leading returning scorer Vincz made his debut Dec. 14 against Knightstown, and Shane McCormick has also only played two games. The Royals are a typical EH team, with a solid mix of experience (four senior starters) and youth (a lot of the bench players, many of whom were key parts of the Royals’ sectional runner-up football team). They’ll shoot a lot of 3-pointers – averaging about 15 attempts from 3 a game – and try to use the inside game effectively with Wallace as a counterbalance. EH has had some excellent teams, but hasn’t appeared in a county final since the first year of the tourney in 2003-04. The Royals have finished third five times in the last eight years.
Sagarin says: G-C is about a 3-point favorite according to the Sagarin predictor ranking.
NEW PALESTINE (6-2)
Head coach: Adam Barton (8th year, 88-76)
Results this year: W Jennings County 58-55, W New Castle 59-50, L Center Grove 89-95 OT; W Rushville 73-47; W Greenfield-Central 68-40; L Westfield 61-65 OT; W Franklin Central 59-55; W Beech Grove 69-65
Pts for/against: 67.0/59.0
Sagarin rating: 78.50 (50th 4A, 74th overall)
County championships: 2004-05, 2005-06, 2007-08, 2010-11, 2011-12
Last year in the county tourney: champions
All-time county tourney record: 13-5
Projected starters: G-Ryan Curry, G-Solomon Haynes, G-Justin Ikerd, F-Brandon Jonas, F-Michael Morris
Top scorers: Michael Morris (19.9), Ryan Curry (12.1), Justin Ikerd (10.6)
Top rebounders: Brandon Jonas (7.4), Michael Morris (7.3)
Best result so far: A 59-50 win over New Castle on Nov. 24.
Outlook: The Dragons are a very solid team, with a 6-2 start and the two losses both coming in OT on the road to solid 4A programs in Center Grove and Westfield. However, the opening of the county tourney is another tough road game for the Dragons, as they’ll face an unbeaten Mt. Vernon squad. NP has been in a lot of close games – going 3-2 in games decided by five points or less or in OT. Morris has been outstanding, opening the year with 37 points against Jennings County and consistently scoring in the high teens and 20s. Curry had a big night Nov. 30 against Center Grove with 25 points, and has been a mainstay in the lineup ever since. He and Ikerd are the team’s 3-point marksmen. Curry scored 27 against Franklin Central, Ikerd has hit the 20-point mark a handful of times, including 24 against Center Grove. Brandon Jonas has come on strong in recent games with back-to-back double-figure rebounding games against Westfield and Franklin Central, and nearly adding another against Beech Grove. The Dragons are seeking to become the first boys team to win three straight county tournaments since the tourney was revived in 2003-04.
MT. VERNON (6-0)
Head coach: Steve Lynch (7th year, 85-50)
Results this year: W Whiteland 57-44, W Hamilton SE 52-49, W Pendleton Heights 49-37, W New Castle 48-39, W Shelbyville 70-50, W Mississinewa 59-41.
Pts for/against: 55.8/43.3
Sagarin rating: 91.94 (2nd 3A, 13th overall). Ranked #3 in AP Class 3A poll
County championships: 2006-07, 2008-09, 2009-10
Last year in the county tourney: 2nd
All-time county tourney record: 11-7
Projected starters: G-C.J. Coleman, G-Anthony Burnett, F-Dan Werner, F-Daniel Turner, C-Zach Spears.
Top scorers: C.J. Coleman (18.8), Stephen Turner (16.5)
Top rebounders: Stephen Turner (8.2), C.J. Coleman (4.3)
Best result so far: A 52-49 win at Hamilton SE on Nov. 30
Outlook: The Marauders have quietly put together a great season – one that has put them back in the territory of the last MV teams to win the county title in 2009 and 2010, when the Marauders were state-ranked and made a run to the 3A regional final. MV is 6-0, with impressive wins over HSE, Pendleton Heights and New Castle, and a big reason why is a defense that has allowed nobody to score more than 50 points in a contest. Another big reason why is the inside/out play of Coleman and Turner, who are combining for 35.3 points per contest. Burnett is a solid role player who sets everyone up with 5.5 assists per contest. MV’s zone defense covers a lot of ground and forces a lot of turnovers – Coleman (3.8), Burnett (2.8) and Turner (2.1) average more than two steals per contest, and Werner tallies 1.8 steals. Everyone fills a role with the Marauders, and does it well. The other big thing about this MV team is that it can flat-out shoot the ball – MV is hitting 51 percent from 3-point range and 52 percent from the field. There’s a reason this team is ranked in the top three in the state’s AP poll, and has been close to the top of the Sagarin ratings.
Sagarin says: MV is a 12-point favorite over NP in the predictor ranking.
Looking ahead to potential final-round matchups: Both NP and MV would be double-digit favorites over both EH and G-C in the final round according to the Sagarin predictor.
Boys championship games
CURRENT VERSION (since 2003-04)
2011-12: New Palestine 61, Mt. Vernon 55 (host: Mt. Vernon)
2010-11: New Palestine 54, Greenfield-Central 48, OT (host: Eastern Hancock)
2009-10: Mt. Vernon 65, Greenfield-Central 41 (host: New Palestine)
2008-09: Mt. Vernon 51, New Palestine 19 (host: Mt. Vernon)
2007-08: New Palestine 41, Mt. Vernon 39 (host: New Palestine)
2006-07: Mt. Vernon 74, New Palestine 55 (host: Eastern Hancock)
2005-06: New Palestine 59, Greenfield-Central 57, OT (host: Mt. Vernon)
2004-05: New Palestine 51, Greenfield-Central 50, OT (host: New Palestine)
2003-04: Greenfield-Central 75, Eastern Hancock 63 (host: Greenfield-Central)
ORIGINAL TOURNAMENT (1920-67)
Championship game scores
(note: no tournaments played in 1928, 1943. Final tournament played in 1967. Tournament held in January)
1920: Fortville 34, Greenfield 4
1921: Fortville 29, New Palestine 14
1922: Greenfield 20, New Palestine 10
1923: Eden 16, Wilkinson 6
1924: Mt. Comfort 30, Greenfield 22
1925: McCordsville 36, Wilkinson 35
1926: New Palestine 25, Mt. Comfort 20
1927: Mt. Comfort 40, Wilkinson 30
1929: Wilkinson 9, Fortville 8
1930: Mt. Comfort 17, New Palestine 12
1931: Mt. Comfort 39, Westland 34, OT
1932: Eden 28, Westland 22
1933: Fortville 24, Westland 20
1934: Mt. Comfort 23, New Palestine 11
1935: Charlottesville 35, Maxwell 27
1936: McCordsville 29, Maxwell 27, OT
1937: Eden 29, Mt. Comfort 20
1938: Fortville 20, Eden 15
1939: Fortville 24, Wilkinson 19
1940: Fortville 42, Charlottesville 20
1941: Westland 26, Mt. Comfort 24
1942: Charlottesville 46, New Palestine 27
1944: Eden 46, Maxwell 35
1945: New Palestine 39, Eden 38
1946: Eden 19, Fortville 7
1947: Fortville 55, Eden 43
1948: Fortville 51, Mt. Comfort 24
1949: Charlottesville 52, Fortville 48
1950: Charlottesville 50, New Palestine 38
1951: Wilkinson 44, McCordsville 36
1952: New Palestine 54, Charlottesville 47
1953: New Palestine 56, Fortville 52
1954: Wilkinson 43, Eden 41
1955: Wilkinson 50, Eden 37
1956: Hancock Central 62, Wilkinson 50
1957: Charlottesville 73, New Palestine 60
1958: New Palestine 62, Mt. Comfort 54
1959: Hancock Central 60, New Palestine 57
1960: Vernon Township 55, Hancock Central 42
1961: Wilkinson 66, Vernon Township 64
1962: Hancock Central 81, Vernon Township 70
1963: Vernon Township 69, New Palestine 66
1964: Hancock Central 43, Wilkinson 35
1965: Eastern Hancock 49, Hancock Central 47
1966: Mt. Vernon 61, Eastern Hancock 54
1967: Mt. Vernon 88, New Palestine 74