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Lady Spartans search to even things

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Connersville seniors (from left) Marley Smith, Elise Bottomley and Jessica Beckman watch the closing minutes of CHS’ home game against New Palestine inside Spartan Bowl on Nov. 1. The CHS trio will go in search of their fourth win of the season Saturday, when they host Lawrenceburg.
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Connersville’s Sammi Potters (35) scrambles for a rebound against Mount Vernon (Fortville) on Nov. 9. Potters and the Lady Spartans will play their second game within the Eastern Indiana Athletic Coference on Saturday afternoon, when they host Lawrenceburg.

By GRADY TATE - gtate@newsexaminer.com

Connersville’s first foray into the Eastern Indiana Athletic Conference waters wasn’t quite what it had in mind.

Facing Greensburg, a team that advanced all the way to the state championship game one year ago, the Lady Spartans were undone by a 64-34 margin.

Saturday, CHS will venture back into the EIAC, this time at home against Lawrenceburg.

It is doubtful that the Spartans will find the Lady Tigers any less challenging.

Lawrenceburg will face North Decatur on Thursday evening, brandishing a spotless 8-0 record on the season, so win or lose, Connersville’s opponent on Saturday figures to be a tough one.

The Tigers have really been taken to task only once this season, a 49-47 verdict against Oldenburg Academy going in their favor in the fourth game of the season (Nov. 13). Outside of that contest, LHS has beaten opponents by an average score of 59-39, a 20-point swing.

Connersville will need to be mindful of Juliana Kemper when she is on the court, the Lawrenceburg junior averaging nearly 21 points per game thus far.

She is the only scorer that averages double figures in the scoring column for the Tigers, but others are proficient in dropping the ball through the net.

Makenna White and Tristyn Dennis both average 7.5 tallies per contest, followed by Justice Chambers (6.4) and Macey Radenheimer (6-3).

Should those numbers hold up, that’s a total of 49 points from five players the Spartans will need to overcome.

That has not been a given for Connersville, which has eclipsed that number only twice through seven games.

CHS comes into Saturday’s game averaging 39.7 points per game, so the team is still working on creating consistency on the offensive end of the floor.

During a two-game stretch against Centerville (64 points) and Anderson (56), the Spartan girls appeared to have locked on to that.

But in the two games since, CHS dropped to 44 points against Union County, before being limited to the 34-point output against the Lady Pirates.

Connersville has the scoring capability on the court, led by post player Jessica Beckman’s 12 points per game. Lauren Thompson (10 points) and Marley Smith (9) are also ready to score when needed.

Smith’s best game was an 18-point effort against Centerville. Thompson also has an 18-point night on her resume, the senior marksman earning that number against Anderson. 

Beckman’s best game was also against Anderson, the 5-9 senior scoring 21 points in that contest.

Other scoring threats include freshman Paige Dunaway (5.2 points per game) and senior Elise Bottomley (3.2).

The Spartan girls faced New Castle on Tuesday night (results not available at press time), and will either be 4-4 or 3-5 heading into Saturday’s game.

Regardless of its over all record, Connersville would rather not begin EIAC play at 0-2.

CHS will follow Saturday’s game with another home game on Tuesday, this one against Muncie Central.

The Lady Bearcats were 1-6 as of Tuesday morning, with two games to play (vs. Jay County, at Logansport) prior to their game with the Spartans.

That game is set for a 6 p.m. start (junior varsity) at Spartan Bowl. The varsity game is set to start at approximately 7:30 p.m.

At Saturday’s game, the Connersville High School Athletic Department will be accepting new unwrapped toys as admission. Each unwrapped toy will be good for one admission. Otherwise admission will be $5 per person.

Only one free admission per toy will be given.