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Spartan Bowl Sweep

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Connersville’s Marley Smith (3) dribbles around defensive pressure applied by South Dearborn on Friday night. Smith finished with a game-high 19 points to lead CHS to a 44-29 victory.
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Connersville’s Garrett Wickes (20) applies defensive pressure against South Dearborn at Spartan Bowl on Friday night. Wickes and the Spartans limited the Knights to single-digit scoring in three of the four quarters played, winning the Eastern Indiana Athletic Conference match by a 50-43 score.
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Connersville senior Jessica Beckman scores a lay-up against South Dearborn, as Kyrstin Bond provides defense Friday at Spartan Bowl. Beckman and the Lady Spartans pulled out a 44-29 win over their Eastern Indiana Athletic Conference rival.
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Connersville junior Colton Sullenbarger (24) tosses a shot over South Dearborn’s Nate Pruitt Friday at Spartan Bowl. Sullenbarger and the Spartans improved to 2-0 in the Eastern Indiana Athletic Conference with a 50-43 win over the Knights.

By GRADY TATE - gtate@newsexaminer.com

Spartan Bowl was a festive place on Friday, as nearly 120 youngsters entertained the crowd with holiday dances, creating awes and smiles throughout the place.

Of course, that crowd was there to support both Connersville High School basketball teams, which were entertaining Eastern Indiana Athletic Conference opponent South Dearborn.

And in the rare doubleheader, both teams did their part in contributing to the happy atmosphere, too.

The Connersville girls opened the night, grabbing a lead over the Lady Knights by halftime, then building on it to earn a 44-29 victory. 

The CHS boys followed, methodically constructing an advantage and seeing that lead evaporate, before using the free throw line to pull out a 50-43 victory.

CONNERSVILLE GIRLS 44, SOUTH DEARBORN GIRLS 29

Shooting from the 3-point line was hot and heavy in the early minutes of the girls game, as the two teams combined for six field goals from distance in the first quarter.

For the game, the two would finish with a total of 14, nine of them leaving the hands of Connersville shooters.

Trailing by three following the opening frame, the Lady Spartans outscored their guests 10-5 through the first five and-a-half minutes of the second quarter, Lauren Thompson capping the run with a 3-pointer to give CHS a 19-17 lead with 3:36 left to play in the half.

The Spartans would never trail again.

South Dearborn would tie the score at 22-22 on a trey from Kyrstin Bond — part of her team-high 12 points — with 5:20 left to play in the third quarter, but by the end of the frame, Connersville was back in control by a six-point margin, 31-25.

Jessica Beckman increased that lead with a 3-pointer to open the fourth stanza, then Marley Smith followed with a basket and a free throw in the next two CHS trips to give the Spartans a 12-point advantage at 37-25.

A 3-pointer by Thompson with 1:40 left in the game lifted Connersville to its largest lead of the night at 42-27.

The 15-point edge would hold up, as the Spartans earned their first EIAC win, dating back to Dec. 16, 2016, that win coming against South Dearborn.

Smith wound up leading CHS in the scoring column, finishing with 18 points. She was followed by Thompson with 11 points. Beckman added seven.

For the visiting Knights, Bond’s dozen tallies was followed closely by Alyssa McClanahan, who notched 11. Riley Ampt chipped in five.

Connersville (5-6 over all, 1-2 EIAC) travels to Greenfield-Central on Tuesday night, where the team will be a part of another doubleheader with the CHS boys.

CONNERSVILLE BOYS 50, SOUTH DEARBORN BOYS 43

 The free-throw line proved to be a big factor in Connersville’s win on Friday, the Spartans finishing 24-of-32 from the stripe to hold off the surging Knights.

CHS constructed a lead that reached 12 with 3:11 left in the third quarter, Clay Garrison knocking down a pair of charities to give the host Spartans a 32-20 advantage.

But the Knights, searching for their second EIAC victory of the season, weren’t about to give in.

Using a 21-11 run through the remainder of the third quarter, and nearly seven minutes of the fourth, SD closed the gap to 43-41 with 1:19 left in the game, on a 3-pointer from Isaiah Jefferson.

But the Spartans would get 16 free-throw chances in the final quarter, and would convert 11 of them, to hold off their guests and improve to 2-0 in the conference.

Noah Belt was key at the stripe, finishing the game with a 12-for-12 effort from there. For the game, he wound up with a game-high 24 points.

“Noah put us on his shoulders tonight,” Connersville head coach Kerry Brown said afterward.

Following Belt was Clay Garrison with six points, and the quartet of Garrett Wickes, Colton Sullenbarger, Ethan Smith and Jacob Brown, all with five tallies.

Connersville (4-2) led by five at halftime, and opened the third quarter with a 7-0 run to build the 12-point advantage. Garrison scored a trio of free throws during the run, with Brown and Belt adding baskets to help pad the lead.

In the junior varsity game, CHS ran its record to 6-0 on the season with a 47-38 victory.

The free throw line was again a difference-maker for the Spartans, as the reserves converted 21-of-25 attempts from there.

Leading that parade was Tobey Billups, the freshman making 10 of 11 charities and finishing with 14 points to carry the Spartans.

Sebastian Burch added nine tallies.

Leading 12-10 after one quarter, the junior varsity boys outscored their opponent 10-4 in the second to secure a 22-14 lead, on the way to the win.

Connersville travels to Greenfield-Central on Tuesday, joining the Lady Spartans for doubleheader action against the Cougars.

SPARTAN GIRLS 44, SOUTH DEARBORN 29

(at Spartan Bowl)

South Dearborn 12 18 25 29

Connersville 9 19 31 44

South Dearborn (7-9 over all, 0-5 EIAC) — Alyssa McClanahan 3 3-5 11, Bryanna LeGreca 0 0-0 0, Bentley Hinkle 0 0-0 0, Kyrstin Bond 4 1-2 12, Kendra Wilson 0 0-0 0, Rileigh Powell 0 1-2 1, Riley Ampt 2 1-2 5. TOTALS 9 6-11 29.

Connersville (5-6, 1-2) — Gianna Struewing 0 0-0 0, Giovanna Struewing 0 0-0 0, Marley Smith 6 4-9 19, Lauren Thompson 4 0-0 11, Paige Dunaway 0 1-3 1, Elise Bottomley 2 0-0 6, Jessica Beckman 3 0-0 7, Sammi Potters 0 0-0 0. TOTALS 15 5-12 44.

3-pointers — South Dearborn 5 (Bond 3, McClanahan 2), Connersville 9 (Smith 3, Thompson 3, Bottomley 2, Beckman 1). Rebounds — South Dearborn 24, Connersville 22. Turnovers — South Dearborn 14, Connersville 7. Fouled out — Connersville 1 (Bottomley). Total fouls — South Dearborn 14 (McClanahan 4, LeGreca 4, Bond 3, Powell 2, Hinkle 1), Connersville 12 (Bottomley 5, Smith 2, Thompson 2, Beckman 2, Dunaway 1).

SPARTAN BOYS 50, SOUTH DEARBORN 43

(at Spartan Bowl)

South Dearborn 9 20 27 43

Connersville 9 25 35 50

South Dearborn (2-4 over all, 1-2) — Alex Shackelford 0 7-8 7, Tobie Teke 1 0-0 3, Ethan Getz 1 0-0 3, Blaze Coffey 0 0-0 0, Noah Probst 0 0-0 0, Trey Thies 0 1-2 1, Chris Moeller 5 0-2 12, Tristan Daily 0 0-0 0, Isaiah Jefferson 3 0-0 8, Nate Pruitt 4 0-0 9. TOTALS 14 8-11 43.

Connersville (4-2, 2-0) — Jonah Graham 0-2 0-0 0, Clay Garrison 1-5 4-5 6, Garrett Wickes 0-3 5-6 5, Dylan Logan 0-1 0-0 0, Colton Sullenbarger 2-5 1-2 5, Noah Belt 6-14 12-12 24, Ethan Smith 2-4 1-3 5, Jacob Brown 2-2 1-4 5. TOTALS 13-36 24-32 50.

3-pointers — South Dearborn 7 (Moeller 2, Jefferson 2, Teke, Getz, Pruitt). Rebounds (CHS) — Connersville 26 (Belt 7, Brown 7, Sullenbarger 3, Garrison 3, Smith 2, Graham 2, Wickes, Logan). Assists (CHS) — Connersville 5 (Sullenbarger 3, Belt 2). Steals (CHS) — Connersville 10 (Wickes 3, Belt 2, Garrison, Logan, Sullenbarger, Smith, Brown). Blocks (CHS) — Connersville 2 (Sullenbarger, Brown). Turnovers — South Dearborn 18, Connersville 12. Fouled out — South Dearborn 1 (Pruitt), Connersville 1 (Garrison). Total fouls — South Dearborn 24 (Pruitt 5, Moeller 4, Jefferson 4, Getz 3, Thies 3, Shackelford 2, Coffey, Probst, Daily), Connersville 16 (Garrison 5, Belt 3, Brown 3, Logan 2, Graham, Wickes, Sullenbarger).

JUNIOR VARSITY

Spartan boys 47, South Dearborn 38

(at Spartan Arena)

South Dearborn 10 14 25 38

Connersville 12 22 29 47

Connersville (6-0) — Carter Bodwell 0-1 0-0 0, Tobey Billups 2-6 10-11 14, Tanner Brock 0-1 0-0 0, Kaleb Sparks 1-3 0-0 3, Luke Sullenbarger 4-5 0-0 9, Riley Moore 1-2 2-2 5, Sebastian Burch 1-4 7-10 9, Trevor Young 0-2 2-2 2, Cole Martin 2-2 0-0 4, Damon Huffman 0-0 0-0 0. TOTALS 11-26 21-25 47.

3-pointers (CHS) — Connersville 3-10 (Sullenbarger 1-2, Moore 1-2, Sparks 1-3, Young 0-1, Billups 0-2). Rebounds (CHS) — Connersville 15 (Burch 4, Billups 3, Brock 3, Sparks 2, Martin 2, Sullenbarger 1). Assists (CHS) — Connersville 8 (Billups 3, Brock, Sparks, Sullenbarger, Young, Huffman). Steals (CHS) — Connersville 12 (Billups 4, Bodwell 3, Sparks, Sullenbarger, Moore, Burch, Young). Blocks (CHS) — Connersville 3 (Burch, Young, Huffman). Turnovers (CHS) — Connersville 15. Total fouls (CHS) — Connersville 18 (Burch 4, Martin 3, Sullenbarger 3, Young 2, Bodwell, Billups, Brock, Sparks, Moore, Huffman).