News From Terre Haute, Indiana

High School

December 25, 2013

Joyous moments: Four days of non-stop hoops offer enticing storylines

TERRE HAUTE — The Pizza Hut Wabash Valley Classic is always certain to provide one of the best gifts of the high school sports calendar each year.

It’s a measuring stick for the teams and four days of non-stop hoops for the hardwood addicts out there.

Four days of drama on the basketball floor also provide everyone a better idea of who is going to be contending for conference and sectional championships in the next few weeks.

Following are some of the top storylines of the 14th annual high school boys basketball tournament.

Target on the arrows

No team has been more consistent in the Classic the past four years as Sullivan has been among the final four each each of those years, including the 2009 title win over Terre Haute North.

“It’s a wide open field with Sullivan’s experience and talent level obviously making them the favorite,” Terre Haute North coach Todd Woelfle said.

Coach Jeff Moore’s team is by far the most experienced in the tournament. Point guard Brooks Weszely was an all-tournament team performer as a junior, and 6-foot-5, 240-pound big man Jake Kinnaman averaged 18.5 points in the Arrows’ first two games this season.

Last year’s runner-up, Robinson will hope to win a rematch against defending tournament champion Rockville in the first round to win a potential shot at Sullivan. The 4-0, Class 2A No. 5 Arrows play Turkey Run in the first round tonight at 7 p.m.

“They’ll be tough for anyone to beat,” Robinson coach Mack Thompson said. “They’ve got a lot of size and experience back and some kids that can shoot it. Definitely have to have one of your better games to beat them.”

Examining the bracket

Terre Haute South’s first-round game against Marshall stands out among the first-round pairings. The 4-2 Lions and 2-2 Braves are similar in that they can bring pesky defense and a variety of options at the offensive end.

“I watched them beat Casey, who beat us. Instant respect right there, they went into Casey and won,” South coach Scott Ridge said. “They shoot the ball well, they space the floor, they’re well-coached. It’s a basketball town, they bring a big crowd.”

The winner of that game could get another chance to play the Warriors, led by one of the tournament’s top scorers in senior Brandon Wolfe. Casey plays 0-5 Monrovia today at 4 p.m. to open play in the bottom half of the bracket.

Wolfe and Robinson’s 6-4 forward Michael Akande are the only other returning all-tournament team players back for this year’s tournament.

That puts some of the more well-known players in the bottom bracket, but Linton, who lost just 52-49 to Sullivan last week, is hoping to be among the teams to contend in the top bracket. The Miners are without one of the top big-man duos from last year’s tournament — Dess Fougerousse and Austin Karazsia — but 6-2 senior Bryant Jackson is leading the Miners to a solid start this season.

Terre Haute North might be the top contender to come out of the top half of the bracket as well. Sophomore Keshaun Sandifer and Charlie Aimone are scoring in double figures to give North a strong perimeter pair.

“Anything can happen, especially when you’re playing four games in five days,” said coach Woelfle, who won consecutive PHWVC titles in 2010 and 2011 after back-to-back runner-up finishes. “I’m interested to see how our guys react in a pressure atmosphere.”

Extra motivation

Marshall coach Tom Brannan has been a part of the tournament every year since its inception in 2000, winning the 2008 title after falling to Terre Haute South in the 2007 championship. The Lions also won the consolation bracket in 2000 and 2004.

Kobe Brannan, the 15-year-old son of the coach, was around the Lions’ as a ball boy for the Marshall championship run. He’s now serving as a team manager after having to give up playing due to a health issue.

Kobe was born with a heart defect and underwent a transplant when he was seven weeks old.

“He’s on the list to get another heart,” coach Brannan said. “I think our guys have always played hard and motivated. I think this year, there’s a little extra motivation.”

First-year players on the scene

It’s always intriguing to see what freshmen might impress in the Pizza Hut Wabash Valley Classic. It’s fun to project where those players will be in a couple years and what degree of positive impact they might have on their program.

Terre Haute South’s Jaylen Minnett, who scored 14 points off the bench in two Braves’ games last week, is one of several in this year’s tournament to keep an eye on.

Marshall will start a pair of freshmen, with 6-foot-4 Spencer Shafner and 6-0 guard Brock Finkbiner. Shafner has averaged close to 10 rebounds a game so far for the Lions.

Linton’s 6-2 Josh Dieball is among several players vying for time in the Miners’ frontcourt.

Robinson freshman Dillon Dirks, the younger brother of Indiana State forward/center Kelsey Dirks, will play big minutes for the Maroons, especially after Robinson lost starting guard Jason Richart to a knee injury.

Rockville’s Lance Hopkins had 11 points for the 3-2 Rox in their 56-50 double-overtime win against South Putnam last week.

14th annual Pizza Hut Wabash Valley Classic

Today’s first-round games

At Terre Haute North

South Vermillion vs. Riverton Parke, 10 a.m.

Northview vs Linton, 11:30 a.m.

Owen Valley vs. West Vigo, 1 p.m.

Terre Haute North vs. Shakamak, 2:30 p.m.

Monrovia vs. Casey, 4 p.m.

Marshall vs. Terre Haute South, 5:30 p.m.

Turkey Run vs. Sullivan, 7 p.m.

Robinson vs. Rockville, 8:30 p.m.


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High School
  • Prep roundup: North girls tennis beats ranked teams

    Terre Haute North knocked off two state-ranked teams — No. 12 Fort Wayne Canterbury and No. 13 Delta — on its way to capturing the Delta Invitational championship for girls high school tennis Saturday.

    April 19, 2014

  • SPT041814THS BB jenkins.jpg Herrin's pitching effort leads South to win over Northview

    When two good high school baseball teams get together, each using one of its better pitchers, the margin for error figures to be slim, and some defensive plays that weren’t made were the difference Friday evening as Terre Haute South beat Northview 7-1.

    April 19, 2014 3 Photos

  • Stout home run sparks South softball at Sullivan

    Terre Haute South junior Mariah Stout made her father proud and helped her team win its eighth game of the season at the same time Friday evening.
    With the previously flat-looking Braves trailing host Sullivan 1-0 with two outs and nobody on base in the top of the second inning, Stout woke up her dugout mates by hammering a McKenzie Pirtle pitch over the fence in left-center field for a score-tying home run.

    April 19, 2014

  • Terre Haute North baseball cruises past Warren Central

    Terre Haute North swept a high school baseball doubleheader against Warren Central on Friday night by scores of 14-1 and 10-4.

    April 19, 2014

  • PREP ROUNDUP: Sollars, Morrison lead West Vigo softball to win

    Kaitlyn Sollars had a double, triple and four runs batted in and winning pitcher Leah Morrison contributed a pair of triples and a double to lead visiting West Vigo over Riverton Parke 14-1 in high school softball.

    April 19, 2014

  • SPT041714 WV BB shaffer.jpg West Vigo baseball wins in rout

    When Brandin Behringer drove in his first run Thursday evening, it gave West Vigo a short-lived lead in nonconference high school baseball.
    The remainder of the Viking senior’s RBIs came four at a time in the bottom of the fourth inning, his grand-slam homer capping the second of consecutive seven-run innings that sent his team to a 15-3 win over visiting North Vermillion.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Prep roundup: Vikings get big hits to beat North Vermillion on softball diamond

    The West Vigo softball team improved to 4-3 for the season with an 11-4 victory over North Vermillion on Thursday.
    Leah Morrison busted the game open with a three-run double in the Vikings’ seven-run fourth inning.
    Kenzie Little chipped in with a two-run triple in the sixth and Hannah Harden tossed a complete-game for the pitching win.

    April 18, 2014

  • Prep baseball: Northview beats top-ranked Shakamak

    Damon Bass pitched a three-hit shutout and struck out seven to lead Northview to a 7-0 high school baseball victory over Shakamak.
    The visiting Knights blew open a tight game against Class A’s top-ranked team with a four-run seventh inning.
    Austin Butts and Jake Harden combined for six hits for Northview.

    April 18, 2014

  • PREP ROUNDUP: North girls tennis wins 5-0 at Plainfield

    Terre Haute North’s girls tennis team swept its opening match of the high school season as it defeated Plainfield 5-0 on Wednesday.

    April 16, 2014

  • AMEY TAKES AIM: Loss of Coach Bennett leaves hole in Marshall

    My email box is a little less busy now, and there’ll be a familiar face missing on basketball trips to Marshall in the future.

    April 15, 2014

  • SPT 041214 MADDI BOLINGER.jpg Roncalli fights past North Central in extra innings on way to Braves Bash title

    Roncalli became a three-time Gold Bracket champion of the sixth annual Braves Bash high school softball tournament at Terre Haute’s Miss Softball America complex Saturday night by defeating Evansville Mater Dei 7-1 in the title game.
    The 12-team round-robin tournament, which started Friday evening with three pools, and concluded with bracket championships Saturday night.

    April 12, 2014 9 Photos

  • SPT 041214 NATHAN PIRTLE 2.jpg Sullivan enjoys record golf day at Northview Invitational

    Sullivan and No. 1 player Nathan Pirtle were top finishers in the Northview Invitational for high school boys golf teams played Saturday at Forest Park.

    April 12, 2014 4 Photos

  • TH North loses to McCutcheon, beats Harrison (West Lafayette)

    Terre Haute North bounced back from a big loss to host McCutcheon to defeat Harrison (West Lafayette) in a pair of high school baseball games Saturday.
    The Mavericks defeated the Patriots 17-7 early Saturday, but North beat the Raiders 9-4 later in the day.

    April 12, 2014

  • West Vigo baseball drops first two in Center Grove Classic

    West Vigo hammered the baseball all over the field and had a double-digit lead through three innings early in the week at Seeger before rain washed it out short of a complete game.

    April 12, 2014

  • TH South sweeps MIC baseball doubleheader

    Justin Jenkins and Timmy Herrin led visiting Terre Haute South to a sweep of a Metropolitan Interscholastic Conference high school baseball doubleheader Saturday at Indianapolis North Central.
    Opening their final MIC season, the Braves won the opener 9-6 and the nightcap 8-6.

    April 12, 2014

  • SPT041014 THN SB nease.jpg Braves Softball Bash a 'premier' early-season tournament

    The Braves Softball Bash has grown to 12 schools in 2014, with high school teams looking to gauge their early-season progress against quality competition.
    The host Braves have put together a solid 3-1 start that includes a doubleheader sweep of Casey, Ill., a newcomer to the field along with West Vigo.

    April 10, 2014 3 Photos

  • Golf season gets going Saturday with Northview Invitational

    Most high school boys golf teams in the area will get the season started Saturday in the Northview Invitational at Forest Park.
    New players will be in the lineups for many of the teams. Sullivan and Greencastle are the leaders in returning players.

    April 10, 2014

  • PREP ROUNDUP: Allen homers in North softball win

    Jazmine Allen had her first home run of the season and she and Conner Nelson combined for five hits and four RBIs as Terre Haute North defeated Sullivan 8-1 on Thursday in nonconference high school softball.

    April 10, 2014

  • PREP ROUNDUP: South offense leads Braves to dominant win over Lincoln

    Justin Jenkins had three hits and Jacob Johnson and Zach Donnelly drove in four runs apiece as Terre Haute South rolled to a 15-2 high school baseball victory Wednesday at Vincennes Lincoln.

    April 9, 2014

  • SPT 040814 SMODILLA LOOK.jpg Terre Haute North tops Sullivan, falls to Class A No. 1 Shakamak

    Class A No. 1-ranked Shakamak got a big pitching performance and big hits from Braxton and Brett Yeryar Tuesday night while beating Terre Haute North 5-2 at Don Jennings Field.

    April 8, 2014 3 Photos

  • Prep roundup: West Vigo softball wins in 4 1/2 innings

    Charity Lane, Shelby Edington, Baylee Waters and Leah Morrison each had two hits and Lane knocked in three runs to lead West Vigo past visiting Turkey Run 13-2 in a run-rule high school softball game that went 4 1/2 innings Tuesday.

    April 8, 2014

  • SPT040514 THS BB herrin.jpg Terre Haute South cruises to Braves Bash title

    Terre Haute South knew it had a deep pitching staff going into the 11th annual Braves Bash baseball tournament and that proved to be true. But the Braves’ offense surprised everyone but the players Saturday as South won two 10-run-rule games en route to the championship.
    South defeated Mount Vernon 10-0 Saturday morning and capped the championship with a 14-4, come-from-behind victory over Munster in the finale.

    April 5, 2014 2 Photos

  • PREP ROUNDUP: Collett homers as North splits doubleheader

    Sophomore T.J. Collett hit a solo home run in the top of the seventh inning in the first game of a doubleheader as Terre Haute North opened its high school baseball season with a 9-3 victory over host Hamilton Southeastern on Saturday.
    The Patriots lost the nightcap 6-0 after three first-inning errors led to three unearned runs.

    April 5, 2014

  • Metro sports: Locks of Love tournament today at Memorial Stadium

    The Indiana State Women’s Soccer team will host its annual Locks of Love tournament today. The 4th annual event will begin at 9 a.m. at Memorial Stadium.

    April 4, 2014

  • SPT110113XCTRY chute.jpg PREP TRACK PREVIEW: Raetz, Holman among new coaches

    Two new coaches are in charge among the eight Vigo County and Northview high school track teams in 2014, although one of them isn’t really that new.
    Mark Raetz has taken over the Northview boys for Chad Smith, who is battling an illness. Raetz formerly headed the Terre Haute South boys program for two seasons.

    April 3, 2014 2 Photos

  • Metro sports: ISU blanks Austin Peay in 6-plus innings

    Indiana State’s baseball team posted another mid-week victory Wednesday night as four pitchers combined to throw a three-hit shutout and lead a 3-0 victory over Austin Peay State at Bob Warn Field.

    April 2, 2014

  • SPT 072813 JACOB JOHNSON2.jpg Season preview: Vigo County, Northview baseball teams ready to roll

    To no one’s surprise, Wabash Valley baseball fans don’t have to leave Vigo County — although they certainly could, as described later in this article — to find talented baseball players on the high school diamond this spring.
    Terre Haute North has a quartet of .300 hitters returning — Zach Milam, Jonathan Eilbracht, Nathan Will and Lane Dransfield — in addition to super sophomore T.J. Collett, who led the Patriots with a team-best 50 runs batted in for the 24-7 Patriots last season. Collett hit .424 with six doubles, two triples and nine home runs as a freshman.

    April 1, 2014 1 Photo

  • PREP ROUNDUP: Marlow's 10 RBI leads Braves' softball at Casey

    Terre Haute South’s Kelsey Marlow had 10 runs-batted-in during a doubleheader sweep at Casey.

    April 1, 2014

  • Metro sports: ISU’s Stone, Riemenschneider honored by MVC

    Indiana State junior Megan Stone and freshman Brooke Riemenschneider each earned Missouri Valley Conference Athlete of the Week honors, according to an announcement from the league office Monday.

    March 31, 2014

  • Girls state finals leaving Terre Haute

    The IHSAA and city of Terre Haute are still on excellent terms, insists Terre Haute Convention and Visitors Bureau executive director Dave Patterson. But that didn’t keep the girls basketball state finals from returning to Indianapolis in 2015 after a three-year stint with Terre Haute’s Hulman Center serving as the host venue.

    March 28, 2014

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