Size vs. speed. Small town vs. big city.
Those are possible high school basketball story lines at 1 p.m. today as the big kids from the small town of Linton play Speedway in the Class 2A Richmond Semistate.
Purists rushing to Google the population of Speedway might point out that it really isn’t a very big town itself. But the players for coach Chuck Bennett’s Sparkplugs, from the town surrounded on all sides by Indianapolis, are as big-city as their neighbors are and should provide an interesting test for the Miners.
Linton, led by 6-foot-8 Austin Karazsia and 6-5 Dess Fougerousse — both of whom average more than 21 points per game — brings a 23-3 record and an eight-game winning streak into today’s game. The Miners suffered two losses in late December at the Pizza Hut Wabash Valley Classic — in the wake of a season-ending to senior point guard Sam Dyar — but adjusted from there and were otherwise undefeated except for a loss to Clay City a month ago.
Speedway, 21-4, gets 19.5 points per game from 6-3 junior Justin Brent, 17.8 points per game from 6-4 sophomore Anthony Jones and 13.5 points per game from junior point guard Jordan Furlow. The Sparkplugs were unbeaten until early January, when they lost twice in a row — once in the Marion County Tournament — to defending Class 2A state champion Park Tudor and then suffered a 22-point setback against Tri-West.
Since then they’ve won 11 of 12, losing a one-point game at Western Boone in early February.
One of Speedway’s other starting guards is 6-0 senior Austin Anglea, a four-year starter and two-time all-stater at quarterback for the Sparkplugs, incidentally. Between him and Karazsia, nearly 20,000 high school football passing yards will also be represented.
“Furlow, Jones and Brent were [Anglea’s] main receivers,” Bennett pointed out this week.
Speedway avoided Park Tudor in tournament play because the defending champs were knocked out in sectional play by Indianapolis Broad Ripple, the team Speedway beat 43-41 in the regional championship game.
“We enjoy transition,” Bennett said when talking about his team, “but we like to think we play pretty solid defense too [the Sparkplugs are averaging about 62 points per game and allowing about 45]. Lately we’ve had good half-court execution, especially in the tournament.”
Linton’s size is a concern for Bennett, whose team starts three guards and has just one more 6-4 player off the bench in its regular rotation.
“With Linton’s height, they’ll be a challenge,” the coach said. “They’re a very good team. Karazsia has great touch around the basket with both hands, Fougerousse’s game is really nice, [6-4 forward] Jackson Bohnert is solid — I call him a no-stat all-star — and their two guards [Keith Fulk and Bryant Jackson] do a nice job … I’m impressed with their free throw shooting, and they all seem to understand their roles.”
Linton avenged one of its Classic losses by beating Sullivan in sectional play, giving the Miners the edge in a three-game series against the Golden Arrows, and beat a pair of higher ranked teams — Clarksville and Perry Central — at the Southridge Regional last week. The Sparkplugs may pose a different kind of problem, however.
“They’re very athletic,” coach Joey Hart of the Miners said when asked about today’s opponent. “A good team … we’ll have to play well, and we can.”
Guarding the Sparkplugs and keeping them off the offensive glass are keys to the game, Hart said.
“Hold them to one contested shot,” the coach answered when asked what he hoped the Miners would be doing today. “We’re a very good rebounding team, and we should be, but that was almost a bugaboo for us Saturday night [in the win over Perry Central]. We’ll have to rebound better [today], and we can.”
The Sparkplugs have similar goals.
“Finding out how to guard [the Miners’] size and rebounding will be keys for us,” Bennett noted.
Karazsia said this week he just wants his team to keep doing what has gotten it to this point.
“Keeping our composure, and having fun out there [are the keys],” the Linton center said. “Everything is clicking at the right time; we’re a hot team right now.”
Size vs. speed. Small town vs. big city.
- High School
Terre Haute track and field athletes shine at Patriot Invitational
The Terre Haute North and Brown County girls and boys came out winners Saturday in the Patriot Invitational Track and Field Meet at Terre Haute North 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
- More High School Headlines
- Terre Haute track and field athletes shine at Patriot Invitational