Teams headed into the homestretch as regular season winds down

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Area high school basketball teams are down to just two or three games remaining as we approach the penultimate weekend of the regular season.

Bloomfield and Eastern Greene each have two more games, this Friday and next. Linton-Stockton, Shakamak and White River Valley each have three more dates on the schedule.

Friday feature a full slate, highlighted by three Southwestern Indiana Athletic Conference tilts.

Shakamak heads across the county to face Eastern Greene at Eastern. North Daviess visits White River Valley and Linton-Stockton hosts North Central.

Also on Friday, Bloomfield is on the road at North Knox.

Saturday’s schedule is light with just the Wolverines and Lakers in action.

White River Valley plays host to Brown County in its final home game of the season. Shakamak takes on Cloverdale and Cooper Neese at the Clovers’ place.

FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 17

Shakamak (13-7) at Eastern Greene (12-9)

GAME TIME: 7:30 PM ET.

COACHES: Nate O’Neall, 13-7 in 1st year at Shakamak. Jon Neill, 47-45 in 4th year at Eastern Greene.

LAST OUTING: Shakamak lost to North Daviess, 57-22. Eastern Greene lost to Edgewood, 88-85.

VS. COMMON FOES: Shakamak 8-3; Eastern Greene 6-4.

OPPONENTS’ RECORDS: Shakamak 164-212, Eastern Greene 196-218.

SERIES LAST 30 YEARS: Eastern Greene, 36-10.

LAST MEETING: Eastern Greene, 66-63, Jan. 6, 2017.

Arguably the biggest game in the area Friday night takes place in Little Cincinnati when the Shakamak Lakers and the Eastern Greene Thunderbirds meet again.

When these two met in the Greene County Invitational semifinal it came down to a missed last-second 3-pointer as Eastern escaped with a 66-63 win.

Tanner Yeryar burned the Thunderbirds for 38 points, including 10 threes.

But Shakamak had no answer for the Eastern duo of Caleb Hamilton and Jeff Graham. Hamilton put up 27 on the Lakers on 10-of-16 shooting. Graham went for 20.

EG coach Jon Neill has a bevy of long-distance shooters at his disposal in Graham, Collin Campbell and Matt Sanders. Hamilton and Ethan Helton have also shown the ability to hit from beyond the arc.

That should give his old Bloomfield High School teammate, Shakamak coach Nate O’Neall, cause for concern.

O’Neall’s Lakers were buried by a 3-point barrage Saturday against North Daviess in a 57-22 setback Saturday night in Jasonville.

Eastern took 3A Edgewood to the wire before coming up just short, 88-85 in a shootout at the Mustang Corral in Ellettsville last Thursday.

Shakamak lost to Edgewood 57-40 in the Wabash Valley Classic in late December.

North Daviess (11-9) at White River Valley (4-15)

GAME TIME: 7:30 PM ET.

COACHES: Brent Dalrymple, 225-174 in 17th year at North Daviess. Jimmy Beasley Jr., 4-15 in 1st year at White River Valley.

LAST OUTING: North Daviess defeated Shakamak, 57-22. White River Valley lost to Owen Valley, 60-44.

VS. COMMON FOES: North Daviess 5-3; White River Valley 4-7.

OPPONENTS’ RECORDS: North Daviess 184-209, White River Valley 172-203.

SERIES LAST 30 YEARS: White River Valley, 20-16.

LAST MEETING: North Daviess, 56-22, Feb. 19, 2016.

If the North Daviess Cougars play like they did Saturday at Shakamak it could be a long night for White River Valley.

The way the Cougars were firing from 3-point land and defending, they would have beaten a lot of teams.

North Daviess endured a stretch of five straight losses to some very good teams - Brownstown, Pike Central, Loogootee, Linton-Stockton and Barr-Reeve.

The Cougars lost by four, 34-30 at Bloomfield before getting healthy again with wins over North Knox and Shakamak.

The Cougars return six regulars from last season - Cody Phillips, Shannon Chesterfield, Jaylen Lengacher, Caleb Wagler, Griffin Major, Colter Trueblood and Shom Berry.

Phillips hit 3-of-5 from beyond the 3-point line at Shakamak while major nailed 2-of-3. Wagler did a lot of everything - 22 points and 9 rebounds against the Lakers.

It’s been tough sledding for the Wolverines this season with just four wins - two of those coming against winless North Central.

North Central (Farmersburg) (0-20) at Linton-Stockton (17-4)

GAME TIME: 7:30 PM ET.

COACHES: Scott Pherson, 0-20 in 1st year at North Central (Farmersburg). Joey Hart, 129-49 in 7th year at Linton-Stockton, 275-177 in 19th year overall.

LAST OUTING: North Central (Farmersburg) lost to Sullivan, 78-28. Linton-Stockton defeated North Vermillion, 66-35.

VS. COMMON FOES: North Central (Farmersburg) 0-11; Linton-Stockton 12-0.

OPPONENTS’ RECORDS: North Central (Farmersburg) 169-208, Linton-Stockton 222-204.

SERIES LAST 30 YEARS: Linton-Stockton, 25-13.

LAST MEETING: Linton-Stockton, 100-34, Jan. 3, 2017.

North Central is still seeking its first win. It isn’t likely to come Friday when the “other” Thunderbirds come to Linton.

The Miners routed North Central 100-34 in the Greene County Invitational.

It wasn’t that close. Linton led 30-2 after the first quarter.

Expect the Miner reserves to pick up some significant varsity minutes in this one.

Linton-Stockton is seeking its first undefeated season in SWIAC conference play.

Next Tuesday the Miners will face a stiff test when they travel to West Vigo to take on the much-improved 16-5 Vikings.

The Vikings have plenty of size up front with 6-9 Austin Sappingfield, 6-4 Ty Lautenschlager and 6-3 Tyler Kernstein. Guard Corey Vickers is a dangerous shooter.

All four are seniors and returning starters so the Vikings are an experienced group as well.

West Vigo’s only losses have been to Northview (twice), Terre Haute South (twice) and Terre Haute North.

The Vikings dealt Shakamak a 53-35 loss January 21.

Bloomfield (10-10) at North Knox (5-15)

GAME TIME: 7:30 PM ET.

COACHES: Jamie Hudson, 10-10 in 1st year at Bloomfield, 140-128 in 12th year overall. Matt Houchin, 13-31 in 2nd year at North Knox.

LAST OUTING: Bloomfield defeated Washington, 49-46. North Knox lost to North Daviess, 51-44.

VS. COMMON FOES: Bloomfield 7-6; North Knox 3-7.

OPPONENTS’ RECORDS: Bloomfield 214-188, North Knox 188-199.

SERIES LAST 30 YEARS: Bloomfield, 8-2.

LAST MEETING: Bloomfield, 88-52, Feb. 19, 2016.

Friday’s non-conference action finds Bloomfield on the road at North Knox.

Wins have been hard to come by for North Knox this season. The Warriors have beaten only White River Valley, Clay City, North Central, Washington Catholic and Shoals.

It isn’t for lack of experience. North Knox returned five senior starters in Caden Fields, Jesse Organ, Zach Holt, Skylar Ballew and Austin Ford.

They’ve had some close losses, losing by three points to Vincennes Rivet, Eastern Greene and Mitchell. But the Warriors have yet to defeat a quality opponent.

Organ, Holt and Fields all scored in double figures against Linton-Stockton. But North Knox turned the ball over 20 times in a 71-44 loss to the Miners January 28.

SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 18

Brown County (3-16) at White River Valley (4-15)

GAME TIME: 7:30 PM ET.

COACHES: Chuck Hutchins, 32-34 in 3rd year at Brown County, 104-132 in 11th year overall. Jimmy Beasley Jr., 4-15 in 1st year at White River Valley.

LAST OUTING: Brown County lost to Mitchell, 52-44. White River Valley lost to Owen Valley, 60-44.

VS. COMMON FOES: Brown County 1-3; White River Valley 0-4.

OPPONENTS’ RECORDS: Brown County 199-177, White River Valley 172-203.

SERIES LAST 30 YEARS: Brown County, 2-0.

LAST MEETING: Brown County, 56-35, Feb. 20, 2016.

White River Valley closes its home schedule against Brown County Saturday.

The Brown County Eagles have won just thrice. But one of its wins came against Eastern Greene, 49-43 in early December.

Three weeks ago the Eagles lost 59-43 at Bloomfield.

Brown County was without 6-10 Josh Cochran, their leading scorer and rebounder, in the Bloomfield loss. Cochran had to go to Florida to attend a family funeral.

Cochran grabbed 17 rebounds against Eastern Greene.

Hunter First was the only Eagle in double figures at Bloomfield with 13, nailing four triples off the bench.

Ezra Scully had eight against the Cards and 10 against Eastern.

Jordan Samples was 0-8 shooting against Bloomfield. Samples burned Eastern Greene for 20.

Shakamak (13-7) at Cloverdale (17-6)

GAME TIME: 7:30 PM ET.

COACHES: Nate O’Neall, 13-7 in 1st year at Shakamak. Patrick Rady, 36-14 in 2nd year at Cloverdale, 77-84 in 7th year overall.

LAST OUTING: Shakamak lost to North Daviess, 57-22. Cloverdale defeated Greencastle, 65-48.

VS. COMMON FOES: Shakamak 4-3; Cloverdale 4-2.

OPPONENTS’ RECORDS: Shakamak 164-212, Cloverdale 168-204.

SERIES LAST 30 YEARS: Shakamak, 13-7.

LAST MEETING: Cloverdale, 71-70, Jan. 26, 2016.

The weekend wraps up with a potential fireworks display between Shakamak’s Tanner Yeryar and Cloverdale’s Cooper Neese.

The Clovers and Lakers are no strangers to each other. The teams met twice in the regular season last year. Cloverdale won 62-60 in the Wabash Valley Classic and the Clovers escaped Jasonville with a 71-70 win in late January last year.

The Clovers of course are headlined by Neese, the Butler University recruit and a sure-fire Indiana All-Star.

Neese has been scoring 28 points a game. And the 6-4 guard gets plenty of help from point guard Jalen Moore who scores 26.5 per outing.

Neese had 28 in the 71-70 win at Shakamak a year ago and Moore hit for 20, matching Yeryar.

Lane Gilbert’s tip-in and Rylee Landry’s 3-pointer gave the Lakers a 70-68 lead with 28 seconds left. But Neese hit two free throws to tie it and Moore sank the front end of a bonus after a steal for the final margin.

Lane Gilbert could likely draw the assignment of covering Neese.

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