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Friday, Apr. 18, 2014

Weather messes with area hoop schedule

Posted Thursday, January 7, 2010, at 5:02 PM

As someone told me the other night, it wouldn't be time for the Greene County Invitational boys basketball tournament without a little snow.

The white stuff that hit the Wabash Valley early this morning and later this evening caused the postponement of the GCI consolation games Thursday night.

The North Central at Bloomfield varsity-only girls basketball game also was postponed Thursday and moved to 6 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 21. The Shakamak at West Vigo girls game was called off Thursday as well with no make-up yet announced.

That snow event, don't think you can call it a storm, also means North Central and Clay City will now meet at 10 a.m. Saturday to be followed by Union (Dugger) against Linton-Stockton at 11:30 a.m. at White River Valley in the consolation round of the GCI. Those four teams will just play twice and not get a third tournament game because of the schedule crunch caused by the weather.

If school is in session Friday, the county tournament semifinals would go on as scheduled as Shakamak would meet Eastern Greene at 6 p.m. then Vincennes Rivet would play White River Valley at 7:30 p.m.

The two teams that lose Friday will play for third place at 6 p.m. Saturday and then the championship game would follow at approximately 7:30 p.m.

If the gusty winds causes the powdery snow to drift across county roads and make travel hazardous as some weather people are reporting and cause Friday's games to be postponed, WRV boys basketball coach and athletic director J.B. Neill said that the semifinals would be moved to Saturday and then the consolation and title games moved to Monday. Start time would remain the same for those games.

There will be a quiz at the end of this story, ha! ha!

Regardless of when they are played, there are some intriguing match-ups remaining in the 40th anniversary of the Greene County Invitational and there were some interesting first-round games as well.

In a loss to Shakamak in the opening game of the tournament, North Central did not necessarily look like a team that had been off since Dec. 18, the night they lost by five points to eventual Wabash Valley Classic champion Sullivan on the road.

The Thunderbirds let a lead slip away in the fourth quarter before losing 72-64 in double overtime Tuesday to Shakamak, who got a career 36 points from Billy Newton. The senior forward made 19 of 21 free throws compared to 8 of 12 for North Central.

Newton is now averaging 25.7 points per game. He has raised his free-throw percentage to .753 while attempting eight per game. A year ago he shot less than 70 percent at the line, if memory serves.

Eastern Greene snapped a three-game losing skid with a 65-40 victory over Clay City Tuesday. Zack Johnson was one-point short of a season-high when he poured in 18 points on 9 of 11 shooting.

Cody Sparks hit for a season-best 14 points, including 4 of 5 shooting from 3-point range, in the T-Bird victory. He had been averaging less than five points per game in his new role of sixth man.

To me the most impressive performance for the T-Birds was that of senior reserve Sam Jacob. After Tyler Igel suffered an off the court injury (concussion) over the holidays, Jacob stepped into the starting line-up and missed just 1 of 5 shots as he tallied a season-high eight points. This came after he had scored one point in the first nine games.

But it was his energy and unselfishness that sparked the T-Birds, in my opinion. He has four assists, one steal and one rebound as well.

Union (Dugger) is showing the growing pains of youth and inexperience. The Bulldogs lost to Vincennes Rivet by 36 points Wednesday night. To add insult to injury, Dustin Howard left the game with an injured ankle.

In a 58-50 victory by White River Valley over Linton-Stockton Wednesday, the 1-8 Miners were more impressive in the loss than Class A No. 4 WRV (8-0) was in the victory I thought.

The Miners, who lost to the Wolverines 66-54 on WRV's home court in December, led at intermission and midway in the third quarter before the Wolverines used a 12-0 spurt to take a seven-point lead at the end of the third quarter.

WRV pushed its advantage to double figures in the fourth quarter before ending up with an eight-point win. Levi Hostetter's 13 points off the bench negated an eight-point total by the Wolverine starting back court.

Miner forward Tim Scott, who was injured and did not play in the first game against WRV, hit for 11 points. Center Dess Fougerousse scored a career-high 14 points for the Miners, who shot 50 percent.

Friday's semifinal between the Lakers and Eastern Greene should prove to be interesting. Their conference meeting is set for Friday, Feb. 19 at Jasonville.

Can the Thunderbirds deal with the size of Shakamak and can they find a way to slow down Newton? Can Davis Russell and JT Yoho bounce back offensively for the Thunderbirds after both scoring in single figures against Clay City? Will the balance of the Thunderbirds be too much for the Laker defense, which at times was porous Tuesday night?

The Lakers won 50-48 at EGHS in February 2009.

The Rivet-WRV semifinal match-up will be rematch. The Wolverines defeated Rivet 51-45 Nov. 28 at Switz City as Jared Shelton scored 19 points to pace the hosts.

Kendall Vieke scored a career-best 27 to top the Patriots, who are the defending tournament champion.

Neill said the biggest difference in that victory was a 40-28 advantage in rebounding, which negated 14 missed free throws.

"We have to do a better job of executing defensively and on the boards than we did against Linton," said Neill. "The Vieke kid puts up a lot of shots. He is hard to guard."

The first consolation game Saturday will be a match-up of former North Central assistants Ryan Kamman, who now coaches the T-Birds, and Vance Edmondson, who is in charge at Clay City.

They both worked for former North Central boss Glenn Andrew.

"I am glad that Vance finally got a chance to be a head coach," said Andrew. "Both Ryan and Vance coached for me for about seven years each.

"It will be interesting to watch them go up against each other."

I will be interested to see how the Miners follow up their performance from Wednesday against the Bulldogs.

Linton-Stockton coach Darren Clayton said he loves the attitude and work ethic of his team and how they are approaching practice and games, despite their 1-8 start.

Clarence Johnson echoes those thoughts about his Bulldogs.

Good luck to all of the teams. Stay safe and warm.

B.J. Hargis is the sports editor at the Greene County Daily World. He can be reached at (812) 847-4487, ext. 12 or hargisbj@yahoo.com.

Greene County Invitational

Tuesday, Jan. 5

Shakamak 72, North Central 64, 2 OT

Eastern Greene 65, Clay City 40

Wednesday, Jan. 6

Vincennes Rivet 71, Union (Dugger) 35

White River Valley 58, Linton-Stockton 50

Thursday, Jan. 7

Consolation games postponed, moved to Saturday.

Friday, Jan. 8

Semifinals

Shakamak (7-2) vs. Eastern Greene (6-4), 6 p.m.

Vincennes Rivet (5-4) vs. White River Valley (8-0), 7:30 p.m.

Saturday, Jan. 9

North Central (2-3) vs. Clay City (3-6), 10 a.m.

Union (Dugger) (0-8) vs. Linton-Stockton (1-8), 11:30 a.m.

Third-place game: Friday's losers, 6 p.m.

Championship game: Friday's winners, 7:30 p.m.


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