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High School

January 9, 2014

South's Herrin stepping up his game as a junior

Big lefty enjoying South's early-season success

TERRE HAUTE — Timmy Herrin apparently doesn’t pay much attention to high school basketball statistics, and the Terre Haute South junior is absolutely sincere when he indicates a big reason for the Braves’ winning record so far is that there are no stars on its roster.

“It’s a good year,” he said by telephone this week. “We all get along, and no one tries to be a star.

“No one is looking for individual stats. We’re looking to be a better team, not better individuals.”

Coach Scott Ridge does point out, however, that there is one South player whose numbers are good so far.

“He’s probably our leading scorer, he’s definitely our leading rebounder, and he’s a leader on defense too,” Ridge said, and the player he’s talking about is Herrin.

Perhaps the reason Herrin isn’t a stat watcher in basketball is that the sport certainly isn’t a defining part of who he is. In an age of athletic specialization, he’s more of a throwback — a three-sport star who was the starting quarterback on the football team coached by his father in the fall and a 6-foot-6 left-handed pitcher with intriguing potential on the baseball team in the spring.

It’s probably safe to say that Ridge is happy that Herrin makes room for a third sport.

“He loves football [which includes summer seven-on-seven competition] so he doesn’t really get to work at basketball much,” the coach said.

“But he’s gotten bigger and stronger, and he picks up things pretty quickly … he’s obviously our biggest guy — he’s our size — and he’s become a perimeter threat who can also get to the rim.”

“It’s fun,” Herrin said. “I love the game [of basketball] just as much as the other ones.”

What Herrin loves the most this winter is his team’s success so far — a six-game winning streak culminating in the Pizza Hut Wabash Valley Classic championship on Dec. 29, earning Herrin and teammates Conner Shipley and Tre Minnett spots on the all-tournament team — and the people he’s playing with.

“I was just hoping to be a bigger part [of the team] than I was last year,” he said this week, after being pretty much a full-time starter who averaged eight points a game as a sophomore, “and it helps that we have multiple people on the team who do well; I don’t have to put pressure on myself.”

After two opening losses — one of which was avenged decisively in the Classic — the Braves took off with a high-powered attack often fueled by pressure defense.

One particular defensive weapon the Braves have employed is a halfcourt 1-3-1 trap, with Herrin at its point. More than a few of South’s — and Herrin’s — points have resulted from the opposing guards being unable to reverse the ball, result being steals and layups at the other end.

“It’s a lot of hard work,” Herrin said of his spot in that defense, “but you get rewarded with steals and stuff. It’s worth it.”

“We don’t play [the 1-3-1 trap] very much when he’s not in the game,” Ridge said, “but when the other team has 5-8 and 5-9 guards, it’s a nightmare for them. [Herrin] has got speed for a tall guy … when he plays well on defense is usually when we go on good runs.”

There weren’t as many good runs for the Braves last week against Lawrence North and Carmel, two of the best teams in the state. But in the latter game against Carmel, ranked first and the two-time defending state champion, the Braves were a much better team in the second half.

“That’s something to build off,” Herrin said of the last two quarters against the Greyhounds. “We still feel good about where we’re at.”

The Braves were also without two of their mainstays in their 10-player rotation last weekend, but freshman Jaylen Minnett and senior Da’Shon Heyen will be back when the Braves play again next weekend — home games Jan. 17 against Northview and Jan. 18 against Class 3A power Guerin Catholic.

“It hurt not having two good players,” Herrin said, “but we’ll get them back and that will help a lot. We’re pretty positive; we have a good winning streak … and we’re young. We feel we could end the season strong and go into the sectional.”

 

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High School
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