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January 23, 2013

COLLEGE REPORT: Sponsler honored after big week for Wabash men's hoops

TERRE HAUTE — Wabash College freshman Ross Sponsler of Terre Haute North was named the North Coast Athletic Conference Men's Basketball Player of the Week for the period ending Jan. 6.

Less than 24 hours after receiving the conference award, he earned a spot on the D3hoops.com Team of the Week, presented by Scoutware.

Sponsler averaged 25 points a game to help the Little Giants to a 1-1 record for the week in league in play. He scored a career-high 29 points in a 69-61 loss by Wabash to Hiram College on Friday night. Sponsler scored 18 points on 3-point shots, hitting 6-of-18 long-range attempts against the Terriers. He also handed out a season-high 5 assists.

The next day, Sponsler led the Little Giants in scoring with a 21-point effort — his third 20-plus points game of the season — in a 95-87 triple-overtime win against Allegheny. His seven rebounds against the Gators were also a season-best total.

Sponsler leads the team with a 12.5 points-per-game average.

He also averages 3.9 rebounds and 2.1 assists while shooting 31 percent from 3-point range.

In other news:

• Dirks paces Racers — Robinson grad Kelsey Dirks, a freshman at Murray State, is the team’s leading rebounder at 6.6 per game.

She had career-highs of 20 points and 11 rebounds against MCU on Dec. 6 for her second-straight double double. She earlier had five blocks against Ball State.

• Hughes honored — Terre Haute North grad A.J. Hughes recently received several all-bowl team designations after his performance against Rutgers for Virginia Tech in the Russell Athletic Bowl last month.

Hughes punted 11 times for a 42.7 average, and earned all-bowl honors from USA Today, Scout.com, Collegefootballfocus.net and ESPN’s College Football Nation Blog.

• Etling impresses in Texas — Terre Haute South’s Danny Etling participated in the Offense-Defense Bowl all-star football game in Houston last month.

While game statistics were not available online, Etling drew praise from 247sports.com for his work in the practices leading up to the game.

“The Purdue commitment is not the highest-ranked quarterback in the game but he has been the best through two days so far. Etling is not a huge presence in the pocket at 6-foot-2.5 and 210 pounds but he is big enough to see over the line and make very good reads,” blogger Brian Paroni said.

“Etling is comfortable sitting in the pocket and is able to check down off of his primary receiver – something that is not always easy for high school quarterbacks to do. He is enrolling at Purdue in two weeks and he has a chance to earn very early playing time with a solid performance this spring.”

• Mahurin transfers — Rockville grad Beth Mahurin transferred from Murray State after three semesters on the volleyball team there.

Mahurin relocated to Division II Illinois-Springfield earlier this month, but has since left UIS.

• Recruiting trail — Lane Mahurin and Gary Ulrich of Class A No. 1-ranked Rockville have made their college choices, with Mahurin choosing Indiana Wesleyan and Ulrich headed to Wabash to hook up with Sponsler. More on them later.

Robinson’s Aaron Siler drew interest from Southern Indiana during the Wabash Valley Pizza Hut Classic, and has also heard from numerous Division III and junior college programs.

• Buss smashing records — Mount Carmel (Ill.) junior basketball standout Tyra Buss recently set a school record with 54 points in the championship game of the Eldorado Tournament in a win over Goreville.

She was named the tournament MVP for the third straight year.

Buss is the only Illinois high school basketball player (male or female) to have surpassed the 3,000 mark in career points, and still has one more year after this one. She has verbally committed to play for Indiana University.

While Mount Carmel is not in the Tribune-Star coverage area, she has a strong local tie in her grandfather — award-winning Tribune-Star photographer Bob Poynter, who could play some hoops back in his day as well.

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