The Connersville Spartan boys escaped with a 43-41 conference win over the Greensburg Pirates at the Bowl on Friday night.

Spartan senior Tobey Billups collected an offensive rebound with time expiring and got the roll on a pull up jumper to give Connersville a 2-point lead. Confusion reigned as the Spartan team, band, cheerleaders, and crowd celebrated. Greensburg called a time out with 0.4 seconds left on the clock. The Pirates half-court desperation 3 sailed well wide of the goal, and the Spartans got out with the win.

“We escaped,” Spartan head coach Kerry Brown said, “not quite sure how yet, but it was a really good win over one of the teams that I think was a favorite going into year. They've got a loss, but it was when they were shorthanded. This means a lot to beat them at full strength.”

Because of Covid protocols, Spartan junior Braxton Myers got his first start. Meyers had 8 points, with 2 3-pointers, 4 assists, and 2 rebounds including an offensive board and assist to senior Carter Bodwell for a 3-pointer to spark a 12-4 Connersville run early in the fourth quarter. One of Meyer’s 3-pointers tied the game with 3:45 remaining in the game and got a friendly roll on the front end of a 1 and 1, before knocking down the second to extend the Spartan lead to 3 with 1:30 left to play.

“We told our kids before the game, we could still win even if we were shorthanded,” Brown said. “We got a little bit foul trouble, but we hung around. We made a couple plays down the stretch and got a couple of stops. Maybe the ball bounced a little bit for us and didn't for them. We talked about controlling the things we can control. We can't control sickness and illness and injury. What we can control is in between the black lines. Sometimes we don't like what's going on in between the black lines but, we can't control that. Just worry about the things that we can control and that's our execution on offense.”

The Spartans were led in scoring by senior Gage Brown with 11 points. Brown was 4 for 4 from the field, 3 of 4 from the line, with 3 rebounds and 2 blocked shots. Billups had 10 points on 4 of 5 shooting with 5 assists and 4 rebounds. The Spartans won the defensive rebounding battle, but Greensburg collected 7 offensive boards.

“We continue to stress to our guys that we had to play inside out, and defensively we had to rebound,” Brown said. “There were some possessions where they got extra opportunities because we weren't being the more fundamental, and the tougher team. We got enough done at the end to come out on top of a good basketball team.”

Greensburg senior Colin Comer hit one of his four 3-pointers with less than a minute to go to tie the game at 41. Comer led all scorers with 20 points on 7 of 15 shooting. The Spartans were down 1 at halftime 16-15 after turning the ball over 6 times in the first half. The Spartans would end the night with 7 turnovers, thought the Pirates would outscore the Spartans 14-10 in the third period.

“With us being down at halftime, to come out and only have one turnover in the second half against a team that can score the ball is huge. It doesn't put as much pressure on our defense when we’re only down two possessions. While that may seem like a lot, it's not as much pressure as being down 10 points to a team like that. I thought we were putting too much pressure on defense.”

The Spartan defense came up big in the fourth quarter when a Caleb Sparks steal, and fast break gave Connersville a 2-point lead immediately following the late Meyers 3-pointer. Sparks would end the night with 5 points and 6 defensive rebounds.

The win puts the Spartans at the top of the Eastern Indiana Athletic Conference standings along with East Central at 3-0 and 2-0 respectively in conference play. The loss drops the Pirates to 0-2 in conference.

The JV Spartans came up short against Greensburg earlier in the evening, 36-24. Greensburg freshman Bradley Lutz led all scorers with 13 points. The Spartans were led in scoring by sophomore Nate Garrison with 10. Sophomore Brady Cloyd chipped in 8 for the Spartans, with Arik Williams, and Blaine Hornsby adding 3 and 2 points respectively to round out the Connersville scoring.

The Pirates jumped out to a 11-4 lead after the first quarter, and the Spartans were unable to claw back into the game.


CONNERSVILLE 43, GREENSBURG 41

GREENSBURG (41)

GREENSBURG-Colin Comer 7 2-4 20, Ki Dyer 2 0-0 4, Addison Barnes-Pettit 1 0-0 3, Brenden Stanley 0 3-4 3, Dakota Walters 1 1-2 3, Jeter Edwards 2 4-4 8, Shiv Patel 0 0-0 0, Abe Tebbe 0 0-0 0, Justin Adkins 0 0-0 0, Grainger Maxwell 0 0-0 0, Jack McKinsey 0 0-0 0, Bradley Lutz 0 0-0 0 TOTALS 13 10-14 41

CONNERSVILLE (43)

CONNERSVILLE-Tobey Billups 4 2-3 10, Kaleb Sparks 2 0-0 5, Braxton Myers 2 2-2 8, Lucas Barron 3 0-0 6, Gage Brown 4 3-4 11, Cody Naylor 0 0-0 0, Jeremy Jergensen 0 0-0 0, Luke Sullenbarger 0 0-0 0, Blaine Hornsby 0 0-0 0, Carter Bodwell 2 0-0 5, TOTALS 16 7-9 43

GREENSBURG;6;10;14;11;-41

CONNERSVILLE;8;7;10;18;-43

3-Pointers-GREENSBURG 5 (Comer 4, Barnes-Pettit 1). CONNERSVILLE 4 (Myers 2, Sparks 1, Bodwell 1). TOTAL FOULS-GREENSBURG 15 (Comer 2, Dyer 3, Barnes-Pettit 1, Stanley 5, Walters 3). CONNERSVILLE-18 (Billups 1, Sparks 2, Myers 3, Barron 5, Brown 3 Sullenbarger 2, Bodwell 2).

JUNIOR VARSITY

GREENSBURG 36, CONNERSVILLE 24

GREENSBURG (36)

GREENSBURG-Jack McKinsey 4 0-0 8, Bradley Lutz 5 2-2 13, Abe Tebbe 2 0-1 5, Bryce Stringer 1 0-1 2, Justin Adkins 1 3-3 5, Grainger Maxwell 1 1-2 3, Nate Murray 0 0-0 0, Reece Beaver 0 0-0 0, Lance Coy 0 0-0 0 TOTALS 14 6-9 36

CONNERSVILLE (24)

CONNERSVILLE-Jadan Peterson 0 0-0 0, Cody Naylor 0 0-0 0, Holdyn Mays 1 0-0 2, Blaine Hornsby 1 0-0 2, Nate Garrison 3 4-4 10, Brady Cloyd 3 0-0 9, Zander McHenry 0 0-0 0, Trot Davidson 0 0-0 0, Arik Williams 1 0-0 3 TOTALS 8 4-4 24

GREENSBURG;11;9;5;11;-;36

CONNERSVILLE;4;8;2;10;-;24

3-Pointers-GREENSBURG 2 (Lutz 1, Tebbe 1). CONNERSVILLE 4 (Cloyd 3, Williams 1). TOTAL FOULS-GREENSBURG 11 (McKinsey 2, Lutz 2, Stringer 2, Adkins 3, Maxwell 1, Murray 1). CONNERSVILLE 12 (Peterson 1, Naylor 2, Mays 3, McHenry 1, Hornsby 1, Williams 1, Garrison 3).