TERRE HAUTE —
The top two scorers — including the leading scorer in the Wabash Valley, Jeffrey Turner — have graduated from a Terre Haute South boys basketball team that was 9-14 a year ago, but a nucleus of underclassmen who got their feet wet during the 2012-2013 campaign provide coach Scott Ridge with some optimism this winter.
“We have a lot of guys coming back,” he noted recently, “just not in major roles.”
Returning as full-time starters for the Braves are 6-foot-6 junior Timmy Herrin, basically back to full speed after an injury that cost him a few football games in the fall, and 6-0 junior Conner Shipley.
Another 6-0 junior, Spence Tofaute, started occasionally and was in the regular rotation the entire season, while 6-4 junior Greg Newton and 6-0 junior Tre Minnett earned letters and 6-2 senior Jerad Fuson and 5-11 junior LaMarkis Stevenson appeared in a few games each.
Just those seven would provide the Braves with a solid rotation, but Ridge indicated there are other Braves who could get regular playing time too.
Additional scoring punch, he said, could come from 6-2 senior Da-Shon Heyen, who missed almost all of last season with an injury, and 5-11 freshman Jaylen Minnett, Tre’s younger brother (and the sons of former South sharpshooter Barry Minnett), while 6-3 junior Logan Dinkel joins Fuson in providing frontcourt depth.
Also on the roster, but probably more likely to see junior varsity action early in the season, are 6-3 sophomore Tryston Reece and 6-0 freshman Josiah Wallace.
One strength of the Braves is overall team quickness, and another is depth.
“Our big guys are athletic, and they can play on the perimeter some,” Ridge said. “And there’s not much difference [among the top 10 players]. Practices have been very, very competitive.”
South’s athletic big men aren’t especially bulky, however, so inside play will be a test for the team. Fuson and Dinkel are both “high-energy, smart, hard-working players,” their coach said, and pretty much provide the team’s only relief for Herrin — the team’s top scorer among its returnees — and Newton.
“If we stay out of foul trouble, our size will be fine,” Ridge predicted.
What the Braves figure to be on their good nights is a team that’s entertaining.
“I’m confident in the scoring we have with this group,” Ridge said. “In addition to being good shooters, they are also very smart and move the ball very well. … And we’re pretty athletic, so I think we can guard people.”
South opens at home Dec. 3 with a new opponent, Casey, and then goes on the road to face Lawrence North — for one last time as a Metropolitan Interscholastic Conference opponent — and a veteran Mooresville team to complete a busy first week.
Terre Haute South schedule
Dec. 3 — Casey, Ill., 6:30 p.m.
Dec. 6 — At Lawrence North (MIC), 6:30 p.m.
Dec. 7 — At Mooresville, 6 p.m.
Dec. 18 — At North Central, 6 p.m.
Dec. 20 — West Vigo, 6 p.m.
Dec. 26-28, 30 — Pizza Hut Wabash Valley Classic at Terre Haute North, TBA
Jan. 4 — Carmel (MIC), 6 p.m.
Jan. 11 — Evansville Reitz, 6:30 p.m.
Jan. 17 — Northview, 6 p.m.
Jan. 18 — Guerin Catholic, 6 p.m.
Jan. 24 — Bloomington North, 6 p.m.
Jan. 25 — At Plainfield, 6 p.m.
Jan. 31 — Terre Haute North (MIC), 8 p.m.
Feb. 1 — Ben Davis (MIC), 6 p.m.
Feb. 13 — At Bloomington South, 6 p.m.
Feb. 15 — At Indianapolis North Central (MIC), noon
Feb. 21 — At Evansville North, 7 p.m.
Feb. 22 — Indianapolis Arlington, 6 p.m.
Feb. 27 — At Southport, 6 p.m.
MIC — denotes Metropolitan Interscholastic Conference game
Terre Haute South roster
Player Ht. Yr.
Jerad Fuson 6-2 Sr.
Da-Shon Heyen 6-2 Sr.
Logan Dinkel 6-3 Jr.
Timmy Herrin 6-6 Jr.
Tre Minnett 6-0 Jr.
Greg Newton 6-4 Jr.
Conner Shipley 6-0 Jr.
LaMarkis Stevenson 5-11 Jr.
Spence Tofaute 6-0 Jr.
Tryston Reece 6-3 So.
Jaylen Minnett 5-11 Fr.
Josiah Wallace 6-0 Fr.