TERRE HAUTE —
At 44, Clinton native Ron Alabaugh feels like he’s doing what he should be in life.
Having graduated from Indiana State University with a degree in social studies education this past May and earning his first teaching job at Rockville High School soon afterward, he convinced the school to hire him in September to replace Ryan Luce as its girls basketball coach. Luce had shifted over to guide the Rox boys basketball team.
The Rockville girls finished with an 8-13 record last season. But Alabaugh — who played basketball and baseball at South Vermillion in the 1980s and worked as an assistant baseball coach at Rockville in recent years — believes this squad is capable of improvement.
“We’re returning nine varsity players from last season,” he told the Tribune-Star. “They give great effort and this team will be well balanced.”
Alabaugh said the only senior is 5-foot-8 starting forward Meghan Bullington. Adding spark to the front line should be 5-10 sophomore Meagan White and 5-6 junior Paige Boardman.
The new coach also mentioned what he called three equally talented guards in 5-5 sophomore Morgan Black, 5-5 junior Alexia Lear and 5-6 sophomore Caylin Fellows.
“We’re going to try to find a new identity this year,” Alabaugh emphasized. “Meghan will be one of the leaders.”
He added that his biggest concern is how quickly the girls can pick up his new style of play. “I’m hoping they get used to it right off the bat,” he noted.
Alabaugh explained why he wanted this job.
“I’ve been involved in youth sports a lot and coaching is something that I’ve been wanting to do my entire life,” he said. “And so now I’m getting the opportunity, finally.”
Alabaugh admitted that he’s still becoming familiar with other teams in the Wabash River Conference, but he thinks Attica is likely to be a top contender for the title.
“I know North Vermillion and Riverton Parke lost some good players [to graduation],” he added, “but they’ll still be competitive.”
Rockville’s first game is tonight at South Putnam.
• • •
Other Indiana girls basketball teams from the Wabash Valley to keep an eye on:
• Sullivan — Now in her 11th season at the helm of the Golden Arrows, Julie Meeks has fond memories of her 2012-13 squad that finished 23-3 and won a Class 2A sectional championship a year ago.
She realizes, however, that repeating that success will be a tough task, considering her starting five has graduated.
“I have practically a new team this year,” Meeks said in a text message over the weekend. “Emily Cottom, a senior, has the most varsity experience and she tore her [anterior cruciate ligament] in the first practice. I was looking for her to score double figures and handle the ball quite a bit for us.
“Kaiti Basinger, a senior guard, got some playing time on the varsity last year. I look for senior leadership and scoring from Kaiti. Along with her are Kiersey Judson, Jenni Wilkes and Peyton Garrett, all seniors. I have a freshman in Ashley Durall who will start and help us out. Junior Skye Dillingham, coming off knee surgeries, hasn’t played since her freshman year [but] will help us. Sophomores Katie Day and Kyndall McDonald will get a lot of playing time.
“We also have another freshman, McKenzie Pirtle, that will get some varsity playing time. … I have told the team, ‘Let’s work hard, have great attitudes and play hard in games and see where it takes us.’ We will improve as the season goes on.”
Sullivan will play host to Riverton Parke tonight.
• Clay City — The Eels, who slumped to 7-14 in 2012-13 after enjoying plenty of success in previous season, are looking to make a comeback under the guidance of sixth-year coach Chris Ames.
“Returnees are [sophomore Alisha] Steward, [senior Alex] Wolfe, [senior Kylee] Truax, [junior Logan] Ellinger, [senior Claire] Miller and [senior Mahayle] Durga,” Ames explained in an email. “Expect a lot out of our core players returning this year. We also have several young kids coming in that we are looking to help us — such as [sophomore Alexis] Price, [sophomore Courtney] Brown and [sophomore Emily] Rogers. Keys for us are to be able to defend people and rebound the basketball in order to be competitive.”
Price is the Eels’ tallest player at 6-0.
Clay City will open its season Friday at home against Eminence.
• Linton — The Miners, who are coming off a 3-19 campaign, will open a new season tonight at Monrovia.
“We return seven of our top eight players from last year,” sixth-year coach Brad McKinney mentioned in an email over the weekend. “The four seniors have started since their sophomore season.
“Mercedes Shafford is our leading scorer and rebounder returning from last year. She is joined by point guard Brilee Parker, forward Courtney Johnson and guard Carlie Booe. Last year’s ‘sixth man’ Avaree Dunn also will be in the mix. Freshman Taylor Thuis will provide some size we have been not had the past few years. We have got to find a way to increase our offensive output over the past couple of years to make the step forward as a program.”
• Others — Shakamak captured a Class A sectional crown and ended up 12-12 in 2012-13. The Lakers, with sixth-year coach Troy Fougerousse in charge again, will tip off a new campaign tonight at Washington Catholic. … Riverton Parke, which finished 19-4 and battled eventual winner North Vermillion for a Class A sectional championship with Josh Douglass at the helm a year ago, will travel to Sullivan for its opener tonight. … With Tim Terry beginning his 34th season of coaching South Vermillion, the Wildcats will tangle with Western Indiana Conference foe West Vigo in the first round of the Terre Haute Savings Bank Tip-Off Tournament at 7:30 p.m. today in the Vikings’ gym. South Vermillion was 3-18 last season. … North Central, 7-15 last season, will face Owen Valley at 8 p.m. Wednesday in the THSB Tip-Off Tournament at West Vigo. The Thunderbirds are guided by second-year coach Jacob Cummings. … Union was 9-12 last season and eighth-year coach Benji Boyd will try to kick off a new season on a positive note Thursday at home against Cloverdale. … North Vermillion, coached by Terry Naylor, should have a difficult time duplicating its 24-3 mark with a Class A sectional title from a year ago. But the Falcons will try, starting tonight at Southmont. … Jeff Thompson is back to try to turn around the fortunes of Turkey Run, which ended up 2-19 in his first season there in 2012-13. The Warriors were slated to get started Monday night at Eminence.
TERRE HAUTE —
At 44, Clinton native Ron Alabaugh feels like he’s doing what he should be in life.
- High School
Former Terre Haute resident Rick Risinger looking for fifth state title in Hulman Center
An accomplished group of girls basketball coaches will make their way into Hulman Center on Saturday for the IHSAA state finals.
Damon Bailey, 1990 Mr. Basketball for state champion Bedford North Lawrence and former Indiana University great, is the most familiar name to Hoosier basketball fanatics. In his first year as a girls varsity coach, Bailey leads BNL into action in the 4A state championship game.
With 590 career wins, Fort Wayne Canterbury coach Wayne Kreiger is already a member of the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame.
Behind senior Miss Basketball candidate Maura Muensterman, Steve Goans leads Evansville Mater Dei into the Class 3A title game on the heels of consecutive 2A titles.
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.
- More High School Headlines
- Former Terre Haute resident Rick Risinger looking for fifth state title in Hulman Center