WHERE ARE THEY NOW
Summer Boys Basketball
June 21, 2011Rossville Middle High School
BOYS BASKETBALL: Summer time ball
Hornets compete at Wabash Shootout
By Phil FriendPublished: Tuesday, June 21, 2011 6:06 AM EDT
CRAWFORDSVILLE - There are two things that immediately jump out about Rossville's boys' basketball team.
The first: youth. In the four games the Hornets played Saturday as part of the Wabash Shootout on the campus of Wabash College, they started three sophomore and two juniors with three seniors coming off the bench.
The second: their height, or lack thereof. While the smaller stature is nothing new for Rossville teams, it was a glaring weakness in their first two games of the day against Edinburgh and Covenant Christian.
Newly-minted Hornet head coach Dave Mosson is used to this predicament, having been the JV coach the past few seasons. Although the Hornets got banged around a bit underneath, Mosson said he felt like they held their own.
"We tightened up our defense really well," Mosson said. "In camp we really haven't talked about rebounding, so today was a learning lesson. I told them after the game we'd get kids hurt if we didn't start calling out screens. Most of the kids are really soft-spoken so it's hard for them to be vocal. We made great strides from this morning."
In the day's first game, at 10 a.m., the Hornets played an Edinburgh team that was state-ranked most of last year and returned nearly all it starters. After a 20-5 run by Edinburgh put Rossville down, 42-21, early in the second half, Rossville arguably played its best 15 minutes of the day.A quick 19-7 run - thanks to 3-pointers from Ethan Brenneman, Austin Miller and Blake Milner - cut the lead to 49-40.
After the Lancers were able to extend the lead to 56-42 with five minutes remaining, Rossville put together a 9-1 to cut the lead to 57-51 with 49 seconds remaining after a free throw by Ethan Brenneman, but the Hornets couldn't get closer before losing 58-51.
Rossville has not been within six points since 22-16 later in the first half.
Not helping matters was Edinburgh's 6-8 center, Jordan Burton, who turned away a number of Hornet shots in the post.
"We came out a little nervous, a little intense and a little sophomore-ish, which we are," Mosson said. "As the game progressed we loosened up and realized we could play with them and executed well on offense."
Rossville carried the momentum of the last 15 minutes of the Edinburgh contest right into the next one against Covenant Christina. In the first 10 minutes, Rossville shot out to a 22-10 lead, thanks to a pair of 3-pointers from returning top scorer Brandon Tonsoni and four inside baskets from Michael Gregorash.
A 9-2 run to end the first half pushed Rossville to a 31-14 lead at the half and a Brenneman 3-pointer to begin the second gave Rossville it's biggest lead of the game at 34-14.
It was a slow-scoring final 20 minutes as the Hornets struggled to find the basket. Covenant Christian was able to use a 9-2 run to close within 40-29 but Rossville scored four straight baskets to take the lead to 48-29 before walking away with a 48-33 victory.
"From one game to the next, our defense improved 100 percent," Mosson said. "We did a pretty good job penetrating and kicking out for threes, and we crashed the boards well."
The Hornets started rising sophomores Tonsoni, Austin Miller and Brenneman, and juniors Gregorash and James Baker in their games Saturday. Baker and Tonsoni were starters last season.
Seniors Kirk Holden, Nick Klimak and Blake Milner all provided quality minutes off the bench.
"Even as seniors who will have roles off the bench, they can provide leadership," Mosson said. "They all bring something to the table."
Having been on the coaching staff for the past three years, Mosson's familiarity with team has helped the transition.
"They know my personality and my quirks, what I like, what I don't like, what ticks me off and what makes me happy," Mosson said. "The transition's been pretty easy.
"We're going to have some growing pains but by the end of the season we're going to be pretty darn-gone good."