Rossville boys’ basketball head coach Dave Mosson was not pleased with his team’s performance in the first go-round with Delphi back on Dec. 1.
The Oracles outplayed the Hornets wire-to-wire, 56-41, in the Indiana Kitchen Basketball Classic title game. But the Hornets have righted the ship and they’re on a four-game winning streak, having beat Carroll, Winamac, Clinton Prairie and Frontier over a 15-day stretch to push their record to 6-3.
Mosson credits the team’s improvement to better offensive output from starters Michael Gregorash, James Baker and Ethan Brenneman. With both Clinton Prairie and Frontier running forms of the triangle-and-two defense – playing man-to-man on Brandon Tonsoni and Austin Miller – the trio has piled up the points. Brenneman scored 21 against Prairie and had a double-double against Frontier, Baker scored 12 against Frontier and Gregorash has scored in double figures in three of the last four games.
“We’ve kind of rededicated what we’ve been doing in our offensive execution,” Mosson said. “Mikey’s scoring is up 2-3 points (per game) and Ethan and James have been scoring in double figures. It’s not like we’ve got two shooters and no one else that could score.”
Because of their production, Mosson doesn’t believe it is likely teams will continue playing the triangle-and-two, with the possible exception of Tri-Central, which Mosson said has played “gimmicky” defenses in the past.
“I’m sure teams are going to see that and play more zone or something different in man-to-man,” Mosson said. “We ran a couple of sets against Frontier and were smarter about not forcing things and playing within the flow of what we’re doing. We’ve been pleased with how we’re reacting to those two defenses.
“People are going to have to be more honest with us.”
Brenneman is averaging 12.6 ppg over the last five games.
Rossville gets another crack at Delphi on Saturday. Cole Murray and Brent Hawn scored 18 and 17 points, respectively, to lead the Oracles in the first encounter.
In that game, Rossville was 15 of 44 from the field (34 percent) and 4 of 16 from 3-point land (25 percent) to go along with 14 turnovers, all uncharacteristically off from their performance this season.
“We allowed them to take us out of what we wanted to do offensively,” Mosson said. “They switched on all screens and we didn’t adjust to that. They face-guarded Brandon (Tonsoni), and the other (players) weren’t as aggressive offensively as they are now, so I hope that’s a plus for us.
“They hurt us with dribble penetration in the second half and got several offensive rebound putbacks. We’ve done a fairly good job recently of keeping people off the board.”
Rossville only allowed Frontier four offensive rebounds in last Saturday’s 55-36 win. Delphi tallied 10 offensive boards in that first matchup.
Rossville, meanwhile, will try to push its win streak to five. Last year, the Oracles won in the Kitchen Classic and Rossville flipped the result and won the regular season matchup – a scenario that could play out once again.
Murray, who’s playing at Division I Northern Kentucky next year, is the only Oracle averaging double figures at 17.7 points per game. Hawn is scoring at a 9.2 ppg clip and Garrett Johnson is averaging 7.1 ppg.
“It’d be one thing if we played well and lost by 15-16, but there are a lot of positives in what we’ve done recently,” Mosson said. “I don’t think we’ll be as intimidated, which I thought we were the first time and allowed them to dictate the game.”
Baker has 12 points, six assists against Frontier
Rossville senior point guard James Baker had 12 points and six assists in the Hornets’ 55-36 win over Frontier on Saturday night.
Double-double by Brenneman
Rossville junior Ethan Brenneman (left) put up a double-double against Frontier on Saturday, tallying 11 points and 15 rebounds. Brenneman had 21 points and nine boards in a victory over Clinton Prairie.