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March 17, 2014

Ramblin' Reck: Three local hoops teams still have shot at titles

TERRE HAUTE — Then there were three — Indiana State men, Indiana State women and Clay City, the three teams still playing basketball in our area.

First up is the ISU’s men game with Arkansas tonight in the NIT. The Sycamores are the only team in the state of Indiana to get a bid for the NIT or NCAA Division I tournaments. Quite an honor.

The ISU women found out their opponent in the Women’s NIT on Monday and could be playing at home. The Sycamores earned their slot with their regular-season Missouri Valley Conference championship.

The Eels won their first regional title since 1974 and will take on No. 1-ranked Barr-Reeve in the semistate at Seymour. The teams met early in the season in a tournament. The Vikings have lost one game and it came against a Kentucky team.

Go Sycamores. Go Sycamores. Go Eels.

• • •

• Honor for Smith — Don Smith graduated from Terre Haute Gerstmeyer in 1959 and Indiana State College. He now is the basketball coach at Glacier High School in Kalilspell, Montana. His sophomore team finished 19-1, losing 55-51 in the final game of the year to Missoula Hellgate.

The difference in the game came at the free throw stripe. “I think the loss was a blessing in disguise. Because we lost, it should give the players more incentive to work hard over the summer to improve their game,” said Smith.

Prior to honoring players on Senior Night, Smith was given a large plaque in recognition of his 50 years of coaching at Rockville, University of New Orleans, Brevard Community College and Glacier High School.

The inscription read as follows:

“Glacier High School would like to express our gratitude for sharing your experience, strength, and knowledge of the game with us. Your contributions reach far beyond the sophomore teams that you have coached. We appreciate your humble and dedicated service. Thank you for your inspiration. Your legacy will live on in the many lives you have touched.”

Fellow Black Cat grad Frank P. Josza Jr. sent this information our way. He’s a retired professor and author.

• • •

• Tom-Cattin’ It — Tiger Woods has not had a great season so far but recently made a 91-foot putt.

• Gary Bettenhausen has died at the age of 72. He competed in 21 Indianapolis 500-mile races and won lots of races at The Action Track. And he was great guy.

• Morgan Coombs has re-signed with the Gary Southshore Railcats. The former West Vigo and Ball State pitcher had a 2-0 record and 1.25 ERA in 14 1/3 innings of work in playoff action last season.

• Good to see Chad Collins make the cut in PGA action and up his earnings, earning more than $20,000.

• Butler had its first losing season in men’s basketball since 2005.

• One score that stood out in conference tournament action: Louisville 92, Rutgers 31.

n Noah Vonleh of IU was named Big Ten Freshman of the Year and will be deciding to stay in school or turn pro. He is considered a lottery pick in the National Basketball Association draft.

• Creighton has the best 3-point shooting percentage of the NCAA field with a mark of .427. Bluejay Ethan Wragge was third among individuals going into the Big East tournament, canning 96 of 201. He was 2 of 7 from 2-point range.

• First-teamers on the USA Today All-America team are Doug McDermott of Creighton, Jabari Parker of Duke, Shabazz Napier of Connecticut, Sean Kilpatrick of Cincinnati and Russ Smith of Louisville. Gregg Marshall of Wichita State was named Coach of the Year.

• Television ratings are down for NASCAR races so far this season. Rain delays likely are one reason.

• Ronnie Johnson has declared his intentions to leave Purdue and enroll at another school. He is the fifth player to leave since the end of last season.

• Brandon Wolfe of Casey is one of 15 players to rate honorable-mention status on the Illinois Class 2A all-state team chosen by Associated Press writers. He averaged 19.7 points, 5.0 rebounds and 2.5 assists for the Warriors and shot 44 percent from the field, 39 percent from 3-point range.

Tom Reck may be contacted by telephone at (812) 232-3231, by email at tm_reck@yahoo.com or by mail at 4284 South 5th Street, Apt. 3, Terre Haute, IN, 47802.

 

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