News From Terre Haute, Indiana


February 1, 2014

After slow offensive start, Patriots boys down Braves

TERRE HAUTE — When visiting Terre Haute North didn’t score for more than half the first quarter Friday night at Terre Haute South, it appeared a strong high school basketball defensive effort might be wasted.

Then the Patriots started scoring, and they didn’t really ever stop, rolling to a surprising 80-56 win in Metropolitan Interscholastic Conference and — more importantly to the players — Vigo County series play.

After a 3-pointer by Austin Kurashima broke the ice for the Patriots at the 3:38 mark of the opening period, the Patriots trailed just 4-3; in retrospect, the Braves may have already lost the game by not being farther ahead at that point.

“We missed three layups early, but our defense kept us in the game,” coach Todd Woelfle of the Patriots said after the game. “Then Austin hit that 3-pointer, and when we saw that first shot go down we relaxed a little bit.”

By the end of the first quarter the visiting Patriots had 15 points while South — which scored twice in the opening moments of the game — wound up with just six.

In the second quarter, the Patriots hit 9 of 10 from the field. In the third period, the Braves went to the trapping defense that had helped them win the Pizza Hut Wabash Valley Classic a month ago — including a 58-48 win over North in the championship game — but the Patriots still hit 9 of 13.

“I was very pleased with our effort and focus,” Woelfle said, “and it was truly a team effort. For the first time all season we did a great job moving the basketball, taking high-percentage shots and playing with poise.”

Player of the game for the Patriots was probably sophomore reserve Braxton Poore. He came off the bench in the first quarter and grabbed five rebounds, scored three points and raised the energy of his team quite a bit. He finished the game scoring 13 with a game-high nine rebounds, not missing a shot.

“He’s our energy guy off the bench,” Woelfle agreed. “He did tonight what he does, and he did it well.”

Also scoring 13 without missing a shot was Patriot point guard C.J. Brown, who picked his spots wisely on Friday and had some back-breaking plays.

“C.J. has done an excellent job the last three games of being our quarterback on the court and running the team. It was really a solid performance,” Woelfle noted.

Leading scorer for North was Keshaun Sandifer, with a game-high 18 points, and Kurashima added 12 by connecting on all four of his 3-point opportunities.

Timmy Herrin had 14 points for South, but had no company in double figures. Herrin’s four rebounds was also the best any Brave could do.

“We didn’t play well,” said coach Scott Ridge of the Braves. “We came out flat, didn’t have our usual energy, and we didn’t make many shots.”

The Braves actually got within 15-10 early in the second quarter when Herrin got back-to-back baskets from inside.

From there, however, the Patriots went on a 14-3 run for a 16-point lead. The demoralizing rally, from South’s perspective, was wrapped up when Mitchell Dennany scored, then Brown stole the in-bounds pass and got a three-point play.

By halftime it was 41-22; it would have been a 21-point margin except that Sandifer was called for charging to wipe out a lean-in basket in the waning seconds.

South came within 16 again early in the third quarter on a three-point play by Herrin and a basket by Greg Newton, but again North responded with a huge rally — 15-4 this time, going up 58-41.

South was still playing hard and got the next six points of the game, only to have North close out the quarter with seven in a row — a driving three-point play by Brown included — and led 65-37 at the third stop. It was 72-39 early in the fourth quarter for the largest lead of the game.

“North came out ready to play,” Ridge said, “and their players deserve a lot of credit … they outhustled us for some loose balls and they knocked down shots when we didn’t.”

“Tonight’s game had a lot to do with the leadership of our two seniors, Mitchell Dennany and Austin Benson,” Woelfle said. “They got the team together and kept them focused. Our assistant coaches also did a great job; our team was prepared.”

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