News From Terre Haute, Indiana

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December 23, 2013

College report: Wabash Valley hoops pair earn MVC weekly honors

TERRE HAUTE — Two Wabash Valley natives picked up big honors this week from the Missouri Valley Conference for their excellence on the basketball court.

Evansville freshman Sara Dickey of Riverton Parke earned the league’s Newcomer of the Week for the third time while Loyola sophomore Matt O’Leary of Terre Haute North was chosen as the league’s Scholar-Athlete of the week.

Dickey scored more than half of Evansville’s points in the Purple Aces’ 50-49 loss at Saint Louis on Saturday, as she poured in 25 points by going 9 for 25 from the field, including a 3-for-9 effort from beyond the arc. Dickey also went 4 for 5 at the foul line, grabbed four rebounds and dished out an assist, making her biggest impact late in the second half.

Dickey scored UE’s final five points, including a game-tying 3-pointer with 2:49 remaining. In her last four outings, she has reached the 20-point plateau on three occasions.

Earlier this month, Dickey earned the same award after leading UE in scoring this week by averaging 21.5 points per game in the Aces’ split with IPFW and Troy. She scored 15 points in UE’s win over the Mastodons on Wednesday morning, including a 6-for-6 effort at the free-throw line. In addition, she grabbed three rebounds and recorded a trio of assists.

Against Troy, the freshman guard poured in a career-high 28 points by going 9 for 22 from the floor, including 4 for 7 from 3-point range. She also posted four rebounds, two assists and three steals in the defeat. For the season, Dickey has scored in double figures in her first 10 collegiate games.

Dickey is the third-leading freshman scorer in the nation among women’s players at 19.6 points per game. She trails only Chrishae Roe of Oregon and Kaela Davis of Georgia Tech.

For the season, Dickey is shooting .320 from the field, .284 from 3-point range and .785 from the free-throw line. She averages 2.1 assists and 3.9 rebounds.

O’Leary had one of the most productive games of his career in Loyola’s win over Campbell, scoring a career-best 15 points to go with five rebounds, five assists and two steals in 28 minutes off the bench. He hit 5 of 6 from the floor and knocked down all four of his free throws as his 15 points surpassed his previous best of 14, set most recently last month against SIU-Edwardsville.

Now in its 15th year of existence, The Valley’s Scholar-Athlete program honors its student-athletes for their athletic performance for a one-week period and academic success in the classroom.

For the season, O’Leary has been a major contributor for the Ramblers, averaging 7.4 points, 4.4 rebounds and is tied for the team lead with 33 assists.

Dickey and O’Leary will be playing in Hulman Center early next year as O’Leary’s Ramblers play ISU on Jan. 1 and Dickey’s Aces play at ISU on Feb. 16.

• • •

Berry verbals to ISU — Terre Haute South all-state lineman Junior Berry rescinded an earlier verbal commitment to Toledo and pledged on Saturday to sign with Indiana State early next year during the college football signing period.

Berry, a 6-2, 300-pounder, was named one of Indiana’s top 50 players this year by the Indiana Football Coaches Association and was a consensus choice on every all-state honor squad.

He had received other offers from Ball State, Kent State and Southern Illinois besides Toledo and ISU.

Berry is expected to be able to make an immediate contribution to a Sycamore team that struggled through a 1-11 campaign this fall.

McClain to be a Pomeroy — Following in the footsteps of former North Patriot softball standout Kelsey Rosselli, senior outfielder Jacklyn “Paige” McClain will join the Saint Mary-of-the-Woods softball program next fall upon completion of her North career.

Rosselli was a swift outfielder who covered a lot of ground and McClain has similar skills.

“I’m thrilled to have Jacklyn,” said SMWC’s Mark Feller. “The opportunity to bring a very good student and versatile softball player is going to help us all the way around.”

For the past two years, McClain was a member of the Indiana Attitude travel softball team. She was used as a utility player for her travel team, playing second base, third base, catcher, and the outfield. She most recently joined the Indiana Outkast travel softball team.

At North, McClain has been a three-year softball letterwinner and has been awarded the Academic Excellence honor the past three seasons. She has also played basketball for the Patriots as a freshman and sophomore.

“Paige is a very hard worker in the classroom and on the field,” North Coach Jack Kirchner said. “She is a great team player, very coachable. I think she will help SMWC in the outfield gets a great jump on the ball good speed and understands the game.”

Kirchner is glad he has one more spring to be able to write McClain’s name on his lineup card.

“We look for her to have a great season with the bat this year,” he said. “She has worked hard over the winter. It’s been a pleasure coaching Paige at North and we look forward to her playing at SMWC.”

Lifetime dreams don’t often come true, but in this case that’s exactly what happened.

“I’m so excited about joining the Saint Mary-of-the-Woods softball program,” exclaimed McClain. “Ever since I was a little girl, I1ve always wanted to go to SMWC. Now that I can play softball and go to school there, it’s absolutely amazing.”

Brush to leave Indiana — Terre Haute South grad Donny Brush, Indiana University’s associate head coach for men’s and women’s swimming, has resigned from his position after 81⁄2 seasons in Bloomington.

Brush will take a position with the Fishers Area Swimming Tigers in suburban Indianapolis. He recently received the promotion to associate head coach after spending four years as the ‘assistant head coach for the coordination of training and student athlete development.’

“Donny’s a really good friend of mine, and always will be,” IU coach Ray Looze told of his departed assistant. “He’s getting back into club coaching at Fishers with his friend and mentor Jay Chambers and will be one of the best club coaches in the country. … I’m confident that he’ll slip right back into that world and do a fantastic job. This was just good timing for him.”

Brush’s primary role this season is as the lead coach for the women’s program and working with the middle distance group, after spending the 2012-2013 season working with Indiana’s sprint group. That sprint group last season broke school records in the 50 free, 100 free, 200 free relay, 200 medley relay, and 400 medley relay, and was a significant contributor to the Hoosiers’ ninth-place finish at NCAA’s: their highest in over 30 years.

Prior to coming to Indiana, Brush was an assistant at Longhorn Aquatics from 2004-2005; as the head age-group coach and senior assistant for the famed Carmel Swim Club; as the head coach of the Newburgh Sea Creatures from 2000-2002; and as the co-head coach for the Terre Haute Aquatic Club from 1993-1996.

Brush will begin coaching with FAST officially Jan. 6.

Streaks come to end — Saturday saw the end come to a pair of streaks involving former Wabash Valley basketball standouts.

Wabash’s Ross Sponsler nailed a 3-point basket in the final minute of regulation, forcing overtime against Trine. The Little Giants outscored the visitors 5-3 in the extra session to take a 67-65 victory and their first win of the season.

Wabash trailed 62-56 with 2:37 left to play in the second period before mounting its comeback. Austin Burton found Sponsler in the left corner for the long-range shot with 36 seconds left in the period to tie the game at 62-62.

Trailing by one point, Sponsler once again answered the call for the Little Giants. He drove the lane and found space to get a shot away and scored.

“This victory was very important because it rewards the hard work everyone on this team has put in every day,” Wabash coach Antoine Carpenter said. “At this point in the season we just needed to get that monkey off our back. It’s even better to get a win against a very good basketball team like Trine.”

Wabash trailed by as many as 11 points in the first half before a 3-pointer by South Vermillion grad Andy Walsh cut the lead back to eight. Walsh came off the bench to score 16 points. He combined with a six-point effort from Burton to help the Little Giants’ bench outscore Trine’s subs 24-8.

“Andy Walsh played a huge role for us today, as did Austin Burton,” Carpenter said. “Both of those guys did a great job today. Andy’s been staying in the gym taking a lot of extra shots at practice and that paid dividends today by his ability to hit some key 3-point attempts.”

“It’s huge to get that first win,” Walsh said. “Now we can just go out and have fun on the basketball court. I think before we’ve been worried as players and trying to make too many corrections with that thought of not having won yet in the back of our minds. Today we made things simpler and played our game. We knew Trine had a lot of players who could really drive the ball and penetrate the defense. We focused a lot on help defense and keeping the man with ball in front of us. That gave us some big defensive stops when we needed them.”

Sponsler joined Walsh for high-point honors for the Little Giants with 16 points.

On the other hand, Huntington College had compiled a 12-0 record and No. 14 national NAIA ranking before falling 71-61 to Cincinnati Christian.

Shakamak freshman Brodie Crowe is a reserve guard for the Foresters and did not see action on Saturday. He averages 3.0 points per game, and had a high game of 12 against Ohio State Mansfield.

Davis has great prep season — Terre Haute North grad Lee Davis is attending U.S. Military Academy Prep School on the campus of West Point, the service academy method of “red-shirting” recruited athletes without using up their collegiate eligibility.

The Army’s prep football team compiled a 7-1 record this fall against other prep schools, junior colleges and Division III teams.

Davis played both inside and outside linebacker this year. Season highlights for him included recording 41⁄2 sacks against Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and 17 total tackles against Navy.

He also plans to compete in track and field for Army.

Bertoli race ends with surgery — Terre Haute South senior Jackson Bertoli, who will continue his standout running career at Indiana next fall, traveled to San Diego earlier this month for what he thought would be a memorable performance in the Foot Locker Cross Country Championships.

The race definitely turned out to be memorable, as Bertoli broke his right fibula while running and was unable to finish the race.

He had endured leg pain to win the Indiana state title last month, and has no regrets about running in San Diego.

“People are asking me do you regret starting the race,” Bertoli told “I would never recommend that anyone run on a stress fracture. But I think this was a fairly unique situation. It was the last race of my high school cross country career and it’s at Foot Locker, which is the pinnacle. … What if I was OK and able to compete with those guys? I figured I’d give it a shot. I figured anything was possible and I was trying to be optimistic.”

Bits and pieces — If the name “Gregory Newton” seems familiar to basketball fans, it’s not surprising.

Terre Haute South’s 6-4, 200-pound junior center by that name is the son of former Duke University center Greg Newton. The elder Newton’s career spanned from 1994-97, and the 6-10 post player was the Blue Devil team captain his senior year.

He later played professionally in several overseas leagues, and represented his home country of Canada in the 2000 Olympics.

The younger Newton is a key member of South’s team, and came to Terre Haute after his mother married a local resident.

• Mount Union finished as the NCAA Division III national runner-up in football after losing to Wisconsin-Whitewater in the championship game. Rockville’s James Kent concluded his football career in the defeat, while Lane Clark of North Vermillion and Hank Spencer of North Putnam will each have two seasons remaining.

• Saint Mary-of-the-Woods is accepting applications for a volleyball coach. The school will be expanding its athletic offerings in the fall of 2015 when its new student recreation center opens.

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