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Spartan girls search for conference win

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Connersville senior Giovanna Struewing (2) beats the Centerville defense to the basket in this photo from Nov. 16. Struewing and her Lady Spartan teammates host Eastern Indiana Athletic Conference foe South Dearborn on Friday night.
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Connersville’s Lauren Thompson, right, explores he options with the ball against Mount Vernon (Fortville) on Nov. 9. Thompson leads the Lady Spartans with 16 3-pointers so far this season. Thompson will look to add to that number, Friday against South Dearborn.

By GRADY TATE - gtate@newsexaminer.com

Following a three-game losing streak to open the season, the Connersville girls basketball team rallied for three straight wins, knotting their 2018-19 season at 3-3.

Since the win over Union County on Nov. 28, however, the Lady Spartans have gone winless in the month of Dec., falling to Greensburg, New Castle and Lawrenceburg.

CHS played host to Muncie Central on Tuesday night (result not available), but win or lose that game, it’s time for the team to take alter its course once more.

Connersville will have that chance Friday night, when it hosts South Dearborn for an Eastern Indiana Athletic Conference game at Spartan Bowl.

The game will be part of a rare doubleheader, as the CHS girls varsity team will play the Lady Knights at 6 p.m., followed by the varsity boys at 7:30 p.m. Both junior varsity games will be played in the Spartan Arena.

The Spartan girls hold a 14-2 edge in the series through the past 15 seasons, but the Knights claimed victory in the most recent match-up, winning the game 48-37 last season.

South Dearborn will also be looking for some consistency in the won/loss column, the team going 3-3 in its past three games (heading into a Tuesday night game against Rushville).

The Knights are led in the scoring column by Kyrstin Bond, the junior averaging 16.1 points per game. Bond is also the top rebounder on the team with a 6.3 average. She is followed in the scoring column by Alyssa McClanahan, who checks in with nearly nine points per night.

Connersville will be looking for scoring numbers similar to those it posted in Games 4 and 5 against Centerville and Anderson. In those games, the team averaged 60 points. In the four games since, however, that number has dipped to 38 per game.

By contrast, South Dearborn has averaged right at 40 points per game for the season.

Both teams will be in search of a first Eastern Indiana Athletic Conference win this season, as the Spartans come in at 0-2 and the Knights at 0-3.

For CHS, the wait for a conference win has been much longer, as the team went winless in the EIAC last season. Connersville’s last win over a conference foe happened on Dec. 16, 2016 ... against South Dearborn.

Connersville will use a balanced scoring effort, just as it has throughout the first nine games of the campaign.

Jessica Beckman leads the way with 11.9 points per game. She is followed by Marley Smith (9.8), Lauren Thompson (7.4) and Paige Dunaway (6.2).

Following Saturday’s loss to unbeaten Lawrenceburg, a game in which the Spartan defense nearly delivered a conference victory (45-43 loss), coach Michael Thompson said that he was excited to get back on the court in preparation for games against Muncie Central and the Knights.

“We just want to have a great week of practice and get back to work,” Michael Thompson said.