TERRE HAUTE —
The Rockville High School boys basketball team has a lot of fond memories from the 2011-12 season.
Coach Dave Mahurin’s Rox captured the Wabash River Conference (WRC) title with a 7-0 record, won their fourth sectional in five years, finished with a 22-6 overall mark and reached the Class A state championship game in Indianapolis, where they lost to Loogootee 55-52.
Yes, it’s not difficult to find fond memories from that list of accomplishments.
But Mahurin said players and coaches returning for the 2012-13 campaign have a bad taste in their mouths from that final game against Loogootee when their comeback efforts fell short.
“We gave one away,” the veteran coach reflected. “We should have been state champions.”
Ranked No. 3 in The Associated Press’ preseason Class A poll, the Rox think they can make up for that setback by going all the way in 2012-13. They opened their season Tuesday night against Milwaukee (Wis.) Riverside in the Tournament of Champions at Peoria, Ill.
Returning starters aren’t hard to find — 6-foot-7 senior Lane Mahurin, Dave’s son who averaged about 19 points per game last season; 6-1 senior Gary Ulrich, who averaged about 14 ppg; 6-5 senior Jordon McFall, who averaged about 10 ppg; and 6-3 senior Joel Wittenmyer.
“We’re sitting pretty good,” coach Mahurin said over the weekend. “This is the best team I’ve ever had coming back — anywhere.”
That’s saying something, considering he’s starting his 23rd year as a head coach at schools such as Adams Central, South Vermillion and Rockville.
Dave Mahurin said Nick Waltz, a 6-7 senior who started on junior varsity a year ago, has moved up to varsity starter. “He’s just gotten bigger and stronger,” the Rox coach noted.
Keiontre Wilkey, a 5-7 sophomore from the 2011-12 JV squad, is likely to see plenty of playing time right off the bat and so will 6-2 sophomore Cole Griffen, whom coach Mahurin described as “a fantastic shooter.”
But Lane Mahurin, younger brother of Indiana State player R.J. Mahurin, will get the bulk of the attention and rightfully so.
“Lane had a fantastic summer,” Dave Mahurin said of his talented son, who has not committed to a college yet. “He’s improved his jumpshot and he’s still unbelievably good off the dribble.”
But the Rox obviously are not a one-man team.
“We have depth,” the Rox coach emphasized. “We have kids coming off the bench who would have started in previous years. We’re about 11 deep.”
Rockville is clearly the favorite to repeat as WRC champion, but Dave Mahurin expects serious threats from Attica, Fountain Central and North Vermillion.
Also hoping to climb the WRC ladder is Riverton Parke, which ended up with a 4-3 conference mark in 2011-12 (third behind Rockville and 5-2 Attica). The Panthers lost to Rockville 59-41 in the first round of the North Vermillion Sectional to conclude an 11-11 campaign.
“The key to our success will be how well we do offensively,” Riverton Parke coach Charlie Martin assessed. “Defensively, we should be pretty good. We’ve got good quickness.”
Returning starters are 5-11 senior guard Matt Haltom, who averaged 10.0 ppg last season, and 5-10 senior guard Brendon Bovair. Ready to join the starting mix is previous sixth-man Adam Wilson, a 6-0 senior forward.
Martin said the other two starters will come from either 5-5 junior Luther Mathas, 5-9 junior Kyle Sanders (a South Vermillion transfer), 6-1 junior Daniel Organ, 6-1 sophomore Tanner Edge and 6-6 sophomore Hunter Falls.
Riverton Parke will get started tonight at Fountain Central.
Turkey Run, coming off a season that included records of 4-18 overall and 1-6 in the WRC, already got started Tuesday night at South Putnam. The Warriors’ coach is Grant McVay.
North Vermillion, which finished 11-12 and 3-4 respectively under coach Sam Karr in 2011-12, will play host to West Vigo tonight.
SouthWestern Indiana Athletic Conference
For Linton, it’s another year of enjoying football success and getting a late start on basketball preparation.
But Joey Hart, beginning his 15th year as a head coach and third year with the Miners, doesn’t sound worried as his basketball squad gets ready for its season-opening matchup Saturday at North Knox.
“We have a veteran team, so we should be competitive right away,” insisted Hart, whose Miners finished 12-10 overall and 3-5 in the SWIAC in ’11-12.
Ready to carry the load again are 6-5 senior Dess Fougerousse (averaging 15.6 points and 7.6 rebounds per outing last season), 6-8 senior Austin Karazsia (15.5 ppg and 8 rpg) and 6-1 senior Sam Dyar.
Hart said the other two starters will come from 6-4 senior Jackson Bohnert, 6-0 senior Keith Fulk and 6-1 junior Bryant Jackson.
“We should be good, I think, if we can stay healthy,” Hart said of his Miners. “The kids had a nice summer and they’ve worked hard.”
Looking at the SWIAC, won by Eastern Greene with an 8-0 mark last season, Hart doesn’t see any reason why Linton shouldn’t be in the mix of top contenders this season.
Shakamak coach Steve Brett thinks the same about his Lakers, who went 14-9 overall and 6-2 in the SWIAC (second behind Eastern Greene) in 2011-12.
“We’ve got some experience,” he mentioned. “We’re not blessed with a lot of size. They’ve all filled out a little bit … and we’ve got some kids who can shoot the ball. We’ve also got some quickness. A negative might be we don’t have a lot of leadership. We’ll need somebody to step into that role.”
Brodie Crowe, a 6-2 senior who tallied almost 15 ppg a year ago, joins 5-11 senior Patrick Green and 5-10 senior Kyle Schubla as returning starters. Two others who played a lot in ’11-12 are back for another season — 6-2 junior Brandon Morin and 5-10 sophomore Dylan Collins.
Also pushing for a significant role are 5-10 junior Mark West, who has little varsity experience, and 6-4 sophomore Jeff Bessling, whom Brett thinks may start eventually. “A lot of that depends on him,” the Lakers’ coach added, perhaps dropping a hint to the player.
Shakamak won’t tip off its season until Nov. 30 when it visits Bloomfield.
Back to the SWIAC, Brett named North Daviess as another top contender to dethrone Eastern Greene. “It’s going to be much more balanced this year,” he predicted.
Clay City tied North Daviess for third in the SWIAC at 5-3 while on its way to winning the Class A White River Valley Sectional crown in ’11-12. Coach Vance Edmondson’s Eels lost to Hauser 58-50 in overtime in the Martinsville Regional to finish 15-9.
Their new-look season — seven seniors graduated since last season — will get going tonight at home against South Vermillion.
The lone returnee from the Eels’ starting lineup is 6-2 senior Blake Cesinger, who posted averages of 15.5 ppg and 8.5 rpg as a junior.
“He’s going to be our leader,” Edmondson stressed. “We’re going to rely heavily on him for just about everything.”
Clay City’s fourth-year coach mentioned 6-4 junior Josh Miller, 6-2 junior Josh Arcenal and 6-1 junior Steven Phillips as possible starters, plus he hopes to get contributions from the following sophomores — 6-0 Easton Booe, 6-1 Logan Cesinger (Blake’s younger brother), 6-2 Trevor Singer and 6-0 Evan Rogers.
“Due to our lack of size, we’re going to try to use our quickness to our advantage,” Edmondson said.
Another SWIAC team, North Central, would like to forget last season’s records of 6-16 overall and 1-7 in the conference. The Thunderbirds opened their 2012-13 campaign Tuesday night at Cloverdale.
“We’re going to have to have several guys step up and provide overall balance,” NC coach Ryan Kamman emphasized over the weekend.
The T-Birds’ only returning starter is 5-10 senior guard Tod Lebeda, whom Kamman said is the only senior in their top eight players.
Kamman anticipated 5-8 freshman point guard Gavin Stanifer, 6-3 sophomore post man Mitchell Peterson, 5-8 sophomore shooting guard Austin Jewell, 5-10 sophomore Andrew Nikirk and 5-10 junior Nick Stucker stepping in as possible starters with Lebeda.
“We’re pretty small and pretty young,” North Central’s eighth-year coach admitted.
Size-wise, he may get some help off the bench from 6-3 sophomore Loren Drake and 6-3 freshman Neal Greene, depending on how quickly they adapt to the varsity game.
Union, which concluded last season with marks of 4-18 and 0-8 respectively, will play its opener tonight at home against Bloomfield. The Bulldogs are coached by Chip Langley.
Two familiar coaching names to Wabash Valley fans — Pat Rady and Jim Jones — will be guiding teams again this season.
Entering his ninth season at Cloverdale and 49th season overall, Rady took a 714-398 career record into the Clovers’ opener at home against North Central on Tuesday. His first triumph of the season moves him into sole possession of third place on Indiana’s all-time list behind Jack Butcher and the late Howard Sharpe.
Meanwhile, Jones came out of retirement in 2012 to coach Springs Valley. Heading into the Blackhawks’ Tuesday opener at home against Mitchell, he owned a 679-381 mark. He ranks sixth on Indiana’s all-time victory list.
It’s hard to believe, but the not-that-old-looking Tom Brannan is beginning his 21st season as Marshall’s coach and he’s doing so without graduated standouts Logan Cannady and Jacob Duncan from 2011-12.
“We counted on those guys a lot,” Brannan reflected. “We’ve got to have people step up and be important players right off the bat.”
Coming off a 21-7 campaign that ended with a regional loss to Georgetown-Ridge Farm, they’ll get their first opportunity Friday against Pinckneyville in the Capital Classic at Lawrenceville.
The Lions have two returning starters who scored about 10 ppg last season — 6-1 senior guard Thomas Sisson and 6-5 senior center Taylor Maurer — plus they have 6-2 senior guard Walker Berner, who started some last season.
New starters appear to be 6-2 senior forward Cray Bloodworth and 6-2 junior guard Drew Morris.
“I really think one of our strengths is we’ll be a team where you have to guard everybody,” Brannan predicted. “On any given night, any one of them could lead us in scoring.”
Marshall’s key reserves are likely to be 5-10 senior Cole Rice and 6-3 sophomore Keegan Steele.
Turning his attention to the Little Illini Conference, Brannan discussed the addition of Robinson, Olney and Newton to its roster of schools.
“That definitely adds a new dynamic to the conference,” he pointed out, adding that Robinson then Casey should be the favorites to emerge on top of the standings.
“I think we’re one of the top teams after Robinson.”
The Apollo Conference — where Robinson, Olney and Newton came from — added Mattoon to give it six teams this season. Paris will leave the Apollo to join the LIC in 2014.
But first things first.
Paris third-year coach Shawn Nugent, whose team finished 9-18 last season, called Effingham the favorite to win the Apollo this winter.
“I think we’re one of the top three teams,” he added. “I like our team. I feel like we can play seven or eight guys comfortably. … We’ll try to hang our hats on defense. We’ll be able to throw different looks at [opposing] teams. If we can shoot the ball a little bit, we should be OK.”
The Tigers have three returning starters, although one of them — 6-1 senior guard Landon Larrance — will miss the early part of the season with an illness. The other two are 6-3 junior forward Riley Spencer (who averaged close to 10 ppg in ’11-12) and 5-9 junior guard Audie Temples.
Nugent said the new starters will come from 5-9 senior guard Stewart Arp, 6-0 senior point guard Aaron Bain and 6-5 junior center Zack Lueken.
Paris’ opener was slated to be Tuesday against St. Thomas More in the Danville Schlarman Topper Classic.
Turning back to Clark County, Casey third-year coach Steve Hawkins has three returning starters — 6-3 junior guard/forward Brandon Wolfe (averaging 16.0 ppg last season), 6-0 junior guard Zach Murphy (11.0 ppg) and 6-3 senior forward Matt McCown — from a squad that finished 15-12 overall and 6-2 (tied for third) in the LIC.
Another who saw significant action a year ago is back in the form of 6-3 senior guard/forward Trivette Scales.
“This is an exciting year for our basketball program and expectations are high from within,” Hawkins said in an e-mail. “We have a lot of players returning that have a lot of varsity experience and we have four players returning that received postseason mention last season from the LIC coaches. … I look for [Wolfe’s] scoring numbers to continue to increase again this year. He puts in the time to be a great player and I believe the entire area will see his skills in play this season.”
Casey will debut next Tuesday at Sullivan, Ill.
Rox ready for encore of great season
TERRE HAUTE —
The Rockville High School boys basketball team has a lot of fond memories from the 2011-12 season.
- High School
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.
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.
TH South comes out swinging in softball opener
The combination of experience and talent has created great expectations, from both the fans and players, for the Terre Haute South High School softball team. The Braves displayed both Friday afternoon in an impressive 11-4 season-opening victory over host Southmont.
SOFTBALL PREVIEW: Big Four teams looking to build off strong 2013 seasons
Although any of the four would have liked more postseason success, the spring of 2013 was a good one for the Big Four high school softball teams. That’s good news.
Even better news for the three Vigo County teams is that very few seniors who contributed to that success are missing, and hopes are even higher this year.
Til it's over: Long wait finally over for first-year West Vigo baseball coach
My sincerest apology if I jinx it, but winter should be done now. This means, first and foremost, baseball season has arrived. It’s been a long winter for Culley DeGroote, in particular. He takes over the West Vigo program that his father Steve DeGroote built into a perennial winner.
Metro sports: Silver Crown field filling up for Action Track
More than a dozen drivers are scheduled to seek their initial U.S. Auto Club Silver Crown championship victory April 6 when the Sumar Classic is run at the Terre Haute Action Track.
Amey Takes Aim: Columnist’s boys basketball tradition continues
In marked contrast to my recent whiny column about girls basketball, I was blessed this winter to see virtually every high school team in the Wabash Valley during the boys season.
Some might suggest that was a mixed blessing, since a few of our teams weren’t as successful as they are used to being (particularly in the 2014 portion of the season), but the Tribune-Star was still involved with two teams that came within a game of the state finals, one of them in an Indiana final four (no capitalization anymore, new system) and two teams that were in the top eight of their class. That’s only three great teams — Paris was both a game away and in the final eight — but that’s still a pretty good haul.
Metro sports: Rose's Stull, Schultheis earn HCAC honors
Rose-Hulman took two Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference honors this week, with Andrew Stull and Austin Schultheis recognized for their work over the weekend.
Clay City's special season ends in semistate loss to No. 1 Barr-Reeve
A slow start led to a quick end of the Clay City boys high school basketball season on Saturday afternoon.
Top-ranked Barr-Reeve scored the first eight points of the game, led 22-4 after one quarter and hit 34 of 40 free throws to win the Class A semistate title 75-55 over Clay City at Seymour.
Lombard leads ISU baseball to win at Evansville
Brad Lombard pitched a complete game Saturday at Braun Field as Indiana State knotted up its first Missouri Valley Conference baseball series of the season by beating Evansville 4-1.
Marshall baseball holds off Casey
Marshall defeated Casey 12-5 in high school baseball in cool weather on Saturday, improving to 3-0 for the season.
Dalton Hefner made his second start of the season and went 6 2/3 innings to get the mound decision. He struck out eight batters and walked just one, allowing two earned runs on a two-run homer by Ethan Blankenship. Hefner also had one of the Lions’ 10 hits and scored a run.
- More High School Headlines
- AMEY TAKES AIM: Loss of Coach Bennett leaves hole in Marshall