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Back to court

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Connersville’s Ethan Smith (34) launches a 3-point attempt against Union County in the season opener for both teams at Spartan Bowl on Nov. 21. Smith and the Spartans entertain Pendleton Heights on Saturday night.
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Connersville’s Damon Huffman, left, takes a shot over Union County’s Mason Hornunginside Spartan Bowl on Nov. 21. Huffman and the Spartans will welcome Pendleton Heights into the Bowl on Saturday. CHS comes into the game with a 2-2 record.

By GRADY TATE - gtate@newsexaminer.com

When the Connersville boys basketball team tips off against Pendleton Heights inside Spartan Bowl on Saturday night, the team will have another opportunity to solidify its identity on the court.

A win against the visiting Arabians would lift CHS — currently at 2-2 — to a record above .500, which would be a good thing, too.

Pendleton Heights, also at 2-2, comes into the game searching for answers to some consistency questions itself.

Wins over Westfield and Lapel have been sandwiched between losses to Anderson and Carmel.

Lacking that consistency in the win column has been an issue for the Spartans as well. A season-opening win over Union County has been followed by a loss to Delta, a win over Rushville, and a most-recent disheartening defeat at Shelbyville in overtime.

So if the adage that says that winning fixes a lot is true, both will be looking for Saturday’s game to be the beginning of just such a fix.

Connersville is paced up and down the court by guards Clay Garrison and Noah Belt, the duo coming into Saturday as the two leading scorers on the team with 9.5 and 18.5 points per game, respectively.

Both will need to avoid foul trouble, however. While leading the team on the scoreboard, the pair also leads CHS in fouls per game, Garrison checking in with a 3.5 per-game average and  Belt following at 3.0 per night.

That factor plagued the duo in the loss to Shelbyvllle, as both were forced to sit late in the second quarter, allowing the Golden Bears to rally from a deficit and take a lead by halftime.

CHS will also rely on others to put points on the board, scorers such as Jacob Brown (6.8), Garrett Wickes (6.3), Ethan Smith (5.8) and Jonah Graham (4.5).

Pendleton Heights gets its offensive push from two players, primarily.

Damieon Warrum and Christian Jones, both seniors, have accounted for nearly 30 points per night for the Arabians, the former averaging 15.5 points, and the latter pouring in 14 per game.

Also counted on for his scoring ability is Tristan Ross, who has averaged nine points in his four games this season.

Beating the Arabians has never come easy for the Spartans, evidenced by the fact that CHS has won only twice in the last 17 games between the two schools.

Six of those games were lost by margins of four or less, however, and three of those contests — including last year’s 33-30 loss on a buzzer beater — were dropped by the Spartans in overtime.

So, in addition to seeking the win that could propel it to hopefully great things, Connersville will be in search of reversing fortunes against PHHS.

CHS’ last win over Pendleton Heights came two years ago, the Spartans winning by two (41-39) the last time the two teams met in Spartan Bowl.

Saturday, Connersville will have the chance to make it two straight inside their home gym against the Arabians.

The Connersville High School Athletic Department will be accepting new unwrapped toys as admission for Saturday’s game.

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.