Patriots win in final seconds — again

Terre Haute North’s Bryson Carpenter (center) tips in a rebound and scores against the Plainfield defense during the Patriots’ win Dec. 21, 2021, at North. Carpenter is back for the Patriots this season.

High school basketball fans at the three Vigo County schools and at Northview have been awaiting the start of the boys seasons for awhile, and they’ll be rewarded this week.

Terre Haute South and Terre Haute North were scheduled to start with road games Tuesday and Wednesday respectively and all four schools will be in action close to home Saturday at Rose-Hulman.

North fans are ready to see if their team can continue the success the Patriots had last season, one of the best in school history. The Patriots also were the team that came the closest to knocking off eventual Class 4A state champion Indianapolis Cathedral in postseason play.

Northview also had moments of excellence last season, looking like a state contender at times . . . and not, at other times.

Expectations may not have been high at the start of the 2021-2022 season at West Vigo, but an inexperienced bunch of Vikings finished with a winning record and were probably even better than that record indicated.

And South fans are waiting to see how their team will improve, after a disappointing record last year that still included close losses to these other three teams and shocking wins over small-school powers Barr-Reeve and Linton, that latter win on the Miners’ home court.

Briefly, here’s what this season might bring for the four schools:

  • Northview
  • Coach Michael Byrum’s Knights finished 17-10 last season, falling in the sectional championship game, and were 7-3 in the Western Indiana Conference.

“The key word for this season’s team is ‘consistency,’ “ Byrum told the Tribune-Star. “Finding a way to be consistent in all phases of the game is going to be crucial for us to have a successful season.”

The Knights have just two regulars back from last year’s team, but one of them was its leading scorer: senior shooting guard and Wabash commitment Drew Cook.

Senior Christian Roembke was a valued reserve last year, and those two will provide leadership for a fairly new bunch of players.

Kyle Cottee is a junior transfer from South, while Brayden Goff, Avery Perry and Daimen Sandifer are three freshmen who are already in the varsity mix.

Others with various amounts of time in the Northview system are senior Hunter Johnson; juniors Caelen Bell, Joshua Fowler and Caden Schrader; and sophomores Zac Buell and Jackson Farris.

Northview’s first game is Saturday night at Rose-Hulman against Linton.

  • Terre Haute North
  • Coach Todd Woelfle’s Patriots were 23-5 and went into the 2022 portion of the season undefeated. After going “only” 8-4 down the stretch, they won their sectional and lost a regional semifinal game to the Irish by just five points.

The good news for North? The Patriots might have as much or more physical talent as they had last season. The bad news? Talent wasn’t the main ingredient in their success then, and the leadership, camaraderie and team chemistry last year’s team had might be hard to duplicate.

One returning starter, aggressive senior guard Damon Sturm, is still recovering from a football injury and hopes to return by January, but senior Bryson Carpenter is back at the other guard spot and sharp-shooting twins Alex and Isaac Ross often shared another position (Alex usually starting).

Key reserves last year who are back are senior post players Ethan Scott and Jaden Wayt and senior guard and defensive pest Chris Owens. Up from the junior varsity team are 6-foot-7 junior Jack Halls, junior Kavish Reddy, junior Kam Baker, 6-5 junior Justin Strole and seniors Jayden Moore and Sam Glotzbach.

“We like our depth and experience, even with a few preseason injuries [Glotzbach also on the recovery list],” Woelfle said. “The roles and responsibilities will change from a year ago. How quickly this group accepts those roles and adjusts to their responsibilities will ultimately determine how good they are.

“As always, team chemistry and defending will be keys,” the coach added. “We think we have several guys capable of scoring.”

The Patriots will open at dangerous Mooresville on Wednesday and face 2022 Class A state champion North Daviess on Saturday at Rose-Hulman.

  • Terre Haute South
  • The Braves finished 4-20 last season, but coach Maynard Lewis sees plenty of reasons to expect improvement this winter.

“We really worked hard in the summertime,” Lewis said, “and I like the balance of our team this year. We should have solid guard play and a solid interior presence.”

Quite a bit of that interior presence is in the form of 6-8 senior Jude McCoskey, playing probably a final of season of basketball before going on to college as a lineman.

The other returning starter is explosive junior guard Zayvion Baker, and transfer (from Parke Heritage) Nas McNeal will be a welcome addition to the front line.

What Lewis really likes is the potential of some of his younger players.

“We’re looking to find our identity from the sophomore class,” he said. The other two starters for Tuesday night’s opener at Cloverdale are expected to be Peyton Turner and Landon Wilkinson.

McCoskey, McNeal and Wilkinson are three players who were also keys to South’s football success in the fall, and the quarterback, Brady Wilson, is another of the sophomores that Lewis likes.

After opening with the Clovers, South plays Martinsville on Saturday afternoon at Rose-Hulman.

  • West Vigo
  • Zeke Tanoos is about to become a third-year starter at West Vigo even though he’s still a junior, and this will be the second straight season in which he’s the only returning starter.

That worked out well last season, when Tanoos and some less-experienced older players got off to a 13-7 start and won five of their first seven WIC games before finishing 13-12 and 5-5. This year the players assembled to go with Tanoos have a little more varsity experience they gained a year ago for coach Joe Boehler.

Juniors Jensen Turner, Kaden Evans and Grayson Porter got quite a bit of playing time a year ago, and classmate Ryan Smith moves up from the junior varsity team. Sophomores Talan Boehler and Karson Fosdick also had regular varsity roles last season.

“All of them have some varsity experience and should be expected to take on bigger roles this coming season,” coach Boehler said.

“We also have a talented freshman group of Garrett Pugh, Trentin Chambers, Landon Fields and Garrett Porter who will have a chance to factor in at some point.”

West Vigo’s opener is 1 p.m. Saturday at Rose-Hulman against South Vermillion.

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