Riverton Parke’s Panthers are not acting anything like a team that’s on a 23-game losing streak.
Even though he still hasn’t tasted victory — there should be a pretty big Gatorade bath when he does — third-year head coach Jason Wilborn remains relentlessly positive.
Instead of hanging their heads over their fate, Panther players are showing up in greater numbers than before — approximately 30 on this year’s roster, a 50-percent increase over the start of last season. And last season — which was winless, obviously — the team kept getting bigger, numbers-wise, as the year went along.
The Panthers probably won’t be favored many times this season either, since both the Wabash River Conference and their sectional are loaded with Class A powers. But …
“You just keep plugging away, trusting your players,” Wilborn said with a smile when asked about his team’s future.
“We have a motto: ‘Every day, every play, be remembered [in a positive way].’ ”
Despite that losing streak, there are some things the Panthers can legitimately be positive about.
Although the senior class isn’t a big one, it includes two strong team leaders in two-way lineman Nick Schmidt (6-foot-3, 265) and running back/linebacker Matt Marion (5-10, 180).
Junior quarterback Tanner Edge is back for his third season as a starter, and has grown into the position both mentally and — just as important — physically: he’s now 6-2 and 175 pounds.
Another junior, Johnny Myers (6-0, 160) is also a seasoned veteran at wide receiver and defensive back, and first-year senior player Daniel Organ (6-2, 225) has proven to be a find at defensive end.
And while Schmidt is the unquestioned leader of the line, the Panthers are not lacking for prospects for the other positions up front. Most Class A teams don’t have size available like Riverton Parke does in seniors Georg Brock (6-2, 230), Brandon Kresge (5-9, 280) and Travis Price (5-11, 280) and juniors Bryce Barnes (6-3, 255), Logan Blacketer (5-10, 215), Jameson Fox (5-11, 230), Tanner Gilbert (5-9, 205) and newcomer Mark Swander (5-10, 250).
“We have a large junior class, and our freshmen [who will gradually be worked into varsity reserve roles] are outstanding as well,” Wilborn said. “That gives us something to build on, and we’re looking for leadership from our seniors.”
When the first victory comes, it ought to set off quite a celebration.
“We have a nice corps of kids who have committed to the program,” Wilborn said. “This is the most excitement about football since I’ve been here.”
Riverton Parke opens with a home game Friday against Attica.
Wabash River Conference
Riverton Parke’s Panthers are not acting anything like a team that’s on a 23-game losing streak.
- High School
No answer: Spears scores 30 as Martinsvlle ends TH South’s season
Terre Haute South ran into a championship performance Wednesday night in Game 2 of the Class 4A Avon Sectional for boys high school basketball. Martinsville’s Troy Spears scored 30 points while leading the Artesians to a 65-44 victory that ended South’s season.
North falls to No. 5 Brownsburg in Class 4A Avon Sectional
Terre Haute North did not bow out of the boys high school basketball tournament Tuesday night like a team on a seven-game losing streak.
The Patriots executed their gameplan, battled back from a double-digit deficit and forced Class 4A No. 5-ranked Brownsburg to hit free throws to win the opener of the Class 4A Avon Sectional.
Brownsburg (19-2) hit six straight free throws in the final 1 minute, 15 seconds to hold off the Patriots 51-47.
Two sets of Eels win at WRV Sectional
There’ll be no Cinderella story in Dugger to end this boys high school basketball season, and a spirited upset bid also fell short Tuesday night at the Class A White River Valley Sectional.
Defensive pressure and depth made the difference in both games, as Eminence ended the Union season — perhaps its last, at least as a public school — by a 59-46 score and Clay City pulled away in the second half for a 53-44 win over Shakamak.
Paris knocks off 23-2 Clinton Central in overtime sectional thriller
Paris’ boys basketball team has learned a lot in a late-season run of success, but the one thing that set the Tigers apart on Tuesday in Class 2A Westville Sectional semifinal game was composure.
The Tigers never got rattled, never flinched and got the ultimate reward.
BOYS SECTIONAL ROUNDUP: Linton holds off Sullivan at North Knox
Linton and Eastern posted victories in the opening round of the North Knox Class 2A Sectional on Tuesday.
Linton led most of the way to defeat Sullivan 51-43 in the first game. Eastern Greene bested North Central 62-42 in the nightcap.
Linton is 16-6 and will take on North Knox and Eastern Greene faces South Knox in the semifinals on Friday. North Knox takes an 11-game winning streak into the action.
Tough roads ahead: Terre Haute North faces big challenges in its sectional
With the hope that the obligatory snow is already on the ground, high school boys basketball sectionals begin today in Indiana, and for one Wabash Valley team in Illinois.
South swimmers fall short of lofty goals at state finals
Sometimes the journey is more rewarding than the destination.
That would best describe Terre Haute South’s performances Saturday in the 77th annual IHSAA boys swimming and diving state championships at the IU Natatorium.
Center Grove deals Terre Haute North 7th loss in row
Terre Haute North and Center Grove – two teams that haven’t won much lately – struggled to put the finishing touch against the other on Friday at North.
Prep roundup: Casey falls at Robinson Regional; Paris posts upset win at home
Teutopolis finished strong Friday night to defeat Casey 47-36 and win the Robinson Class 2A Regional for boys basketball teams.
Casey, Paris to play in regional title games
Championships of Illinois regional boys high school basketball tournaments will be decided tonight.
AMEY TAKES AIM: Bringing you the Amey Teams for girls basketball
Our Wabash Valley teams won’t be represented when the Indiana girls state basketball finals return again to Hulman Center on March 8 (even though the Class 4A title will probably be decided this weekend when Lawrence North plays Bedford North Lawrence in a semistate game).
I wish some of our girls teams had been able to play longer for a purely selfish reason: that might have given me an opportunity to see one or two of their games.
South boys fall to Southport, finish regular season 8-14
Terre Haute South got an up-close look Thursday night at what a Conference Indiana championship boys basketball team looks like. And Southport is big and quick.
Southport, led by 6-foot-10 sophomore Joey Brunk and junior guard Malik Bennett overpowered South’s Braves 61-49 at Southport Fieldhouse. Brunk had 16 points and 12 rebounds, while Bennett scored 21 points.
VIDEO: Wilhelm leads South swimmers into state finals
Christian Wilhelm plans to compete in the distance freestyle when he gets to the University of Illinois-Chicago’s downtown campus.
Wilhelm emerged as a state qualifier in the 500-yard freestyle and 200 freestyle as a junior for Terre Haute South. But his senior season took a different turn and he’s hoping to make a big splash in a new event.
Casey advances to regional title game
Casey will be in the championship game of the Class 2A Robinson Regional for boys high school basketball teams Friday night. The Warriors gained their spot in the title tilt with a 55-42 victory over Marshall on Wednesday.
Cloverdale joins Pizza Hut Classic field
The Pizza Hut Wabash Valley Classic has a new team, but the newcomer for the 2014 tournament is led by a familiar name to Terre Haute basketball. Pat Rady’s Cloverdale Clovers, currently 19-1 this season, will join the field as a likely contender.
Preps: Northview rallies past Linton in boys basketball
Ethan Whitson, Christian Ellis and Jim Mace tallied 19, 18 and 10 points respectively as host Northview overcame a 10-point halftime deficit to defeat Linton 62-57 in boys high school basketball Wednesday night.
Terre Haute North plays well but doesn't finish at Bedford North Lawrence
Visiting Terre Haute North did everything but win a nonconference high school basketball game Tuesday at Bedford North Lawrence.
The Patriots shot better, dominated the boards and reversed the game’s momentum with a second-half defensive adjustment, but only once got the lead above a one-possession one. That cost North in the end, when the Stars scored the last six points to win 42-38.
Linton's defense causes West Vigo problems
West Vigo ran into a Linton boys high school basketball team Tuesday night that played like a contender to return to the Class 2A state championship game.
The Miners hit 26 of 45 shots from the floor and dominated the Vikings with their defense en route to a 71-42 win.
PREP ROUNDUP: Casey to meet Marshall in regional game
Semifinal games are slated for tonight in Illinois boys high school basketball regional tournaments.
Casey meets Marshall in one game at Robinson. Host team Paris takes on Tuscola in another contest.
Prep basketball: Marshall sidelines Robinson 51-46
The Marshall Lions were winners in the first game of the Robinson Class 2A Regional played Monday night, defeating the host Maroons 51-46 to advance to the semifinals on Wednesday.
Duncan brothers too much for Terre Haute North
An abundance of Duncans for visiting Evansville Harrison proved to be too much for host Terre Haute North in high school basketball Saturday night, although the Patriots didn’t go down without a battle before finally losing 64-56.
Heyen leads Braves to win on Senior Night
Terre Haute South stopped a seven-game skid as the Braves cruised to victory over winless Indianapolis Arlington by a score of 83-22.
On the Braves’ Senior Night, senior Da’Shon Heyen led the Braves with 15 points in an impressive send-off performance before his home crowd.
West Vigo holds off furious rally from North Central
West Vigo snapped a three-game losing streak in high school boys basketball Saturday night, defeating North Central 60-56 in the Jim Mann Green Dome.
The Vikings led most of the way, then hit free throws in the final minute to secure the victory after the Thunderbirds had knotted the score at 54-54.
Wilhelm's school-record freestyle victory leads South to second at swim sectional
Asked late Saturday afternoon about the Avon Sectional for boys high school swimming that had just ended, Jeff Thompson replied, “Well, it was fast.”
Understatement doesn’t always seem to be the Terre Haute South coach’s calling card, but that comment would qualify. Like the high tide that lifts all boats, the home team — ranked third in the state — had a fantastic meet, and pulled the rest of the field, particularly the three Vigo County teams, along with it.
Prep roundup: Sullivan boys lose close one to Evansville North
Host Sullivan led almost the entire game in high school basketball Saturday night, only to be overtaken at the end 64-60 by Evansville North.
The Golden Arrows had a 49-42 lead at the end of three quarters, but the Huskies — who came from behind for a four-point win over Terre Haute South a night earlier — caught and passed the home team when Robert West was fouled on a 3-point attempt and hit all three free throws for a 59-58 lead. The visitors protected their margin with free throws.
Reversal: South Knox turns up defense in second half to rally past West vigo
For a half of high school basketball Friday night, host West Vigo did what it took to make an upset of a 13-5 team look like reality in the Jim Mann Green Dome. In the second half, visiting South Knox didn’t let the Vikings do some of those things, exploding for a 60-39 nonconference win that wasn’t as decisive as that score makes it appear.
Late Huskies run sinks Braves
Since the calendar flipped to 2014, it’s been a struggle for Terre Haute South.
Franklin Central outmuscles Patriots
With Franklin Central missing shots early, Terre Haute North’s chances of stealing a high school basketball road win were looking promising. The second quarter Friday night changed that.
Prep roundup: Linton boys get past Thunderbirds 58-48
Linton dominated the third quarter in a SouthWestern Indiana Athletic Conference boys high school basketball game Friday night, beating host North Central 58-48.
Both teams had balanced scoring attacks, with Ryan Woodward and Zach Riddell scoring 13 each and Bryant Jackson and Joe Dieball 10 apiece for the Miners. Andrew Nikirk scored 11 and Austin Jewell and Mitchell Peterson had 10 each for the Thunderbirds.
Vigo County basketball matchups this weekend
Terre Haute North, Terre Haute South and West Vigo are all scheduled for two games this weekend.
- More High School Headlines
- No answer: Spears scores 30 as Martinsvlle ends TH South’s season