Category Archives: Basketball

Basketball looks to upset Jeff, advance to sectional finals tomorrow night

Photo by Brock Kennedy

Story By J.D. McKay

We are now into the most anticipated and exciting part of the year in Indiana. And the excitement has already started. New Albany actually had to play on Tuesday in sectionals, and they were upset by Jennings County. New Albany had just over a 20 percent chance to win sectionals while Jennings was sitting at about one percent,

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Senior Seth Burks celebrates coming out of a time out against Silver Creek on Feb. 11. Photo by Brock Kennedy.

according to https://indianahsbasketball.homestead.com/boys.html. Plus, Seymour just played Jeff close, so the weekend is looking very exciting. 

But the Highlanders have a tough task ahead of them in the Red Devils. Jeff is coming off a sectional title and seven straight wins up to this game. They also beat us earlier this
year at FC on a buzzer beater by senior Jacob Jones. So, here are my keys to reverse what happened earlier this year.

Junior Jake Heidbreder will need to score consistently. Last year, New Albany essentially shut him down in the sectionals loss, and that was definitely a big factor. He is our best scorer so if Jeff shuts him down we will not score a lot of points. But, Silver Creek, who has 3 D-1 players, could not stop Heidbreder so it will be tough for Jeff to do it. 

This needs to be a low scoring game. I said earlier this year at the Jeff game that the first team to 40 would win. Jeff was the first to 40. I think this game will be the same way. But

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Sophomore Cole Harritt shoots a free throw against Columbus East on Feb. 26. Photo by Brock Kennedy.

Jeff proved Tuesday that low scoring games are not what they are best at. They beat Seymour 36-29. Seymour plays a very slow game, slower than even FC, and Jeff struggled with it. So I think with better players and a similar play style, it will be a low scoring game. 

Finally, we need to limit turnovers. One huge problem in the game earlier this year was

turnovers. We made 11 compared to Jeff’s 6. Senior Seth Burks made several that game, but since then, he has vastly improved. Early in the season, the very athletic Burks seemed to rely on his athletism to try to make plays, but they often resulted in turnovers. He is making far fewer turnovers each game than he did early this year, and looking to make the smarter play instead of the tougher and more athletic play.

 

Bottom Line: Jeff is very good and very athletic. But earlier this year, they had three D-1 players on their team. Now, with sophomore Will Lovings-Watts leaving, they have two. That should make guarding Jones and senior Tre Coleman a little easier. Floyd has also improved a lot since then including a solid win over Bloomington North on Feb. 22. Even with Jeff’s talent, I think Floyd’s defense will keep it low scoring in a Highlander win. Final Score: Highlander 42- Jeff 39

 

A Baddude’s Journal Underrated Athlete Spotlight: Senior Ben Purvis

Photo by Brock Kennedy

Story by J.D. McKay

Last March, we lost to New Albany in sectionals on a buzzer beater. Not a single junior was on the floor. That was seven seniors’ last game of high school basketball, and as most people looked forward, they saw a year where we would struggle along and not beat or

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Senior Ben Purvis shoots a three against New Albany on Dec. 13. Photo by Brock Kennedy.

even play with the big boys in the HHC, Jeffersonville and New Albany, or the state, Silver Creek and Bloomington South. Then, on Dec. 13, we beat New Albany, partly because of two huge threes by senior Ben Purvis. 

Those shots dropping were not too surprising, though, Purvis has been playing basketball for years and preparing for those shots. 

“I starting playing probably when I was 4 at a league at Cornerstone or the Y,” said

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Senior basketball player Ben Purvis walks with his parents after his name is announced during senior night. Photo by Kate Zuverink.

Purvis. “I probably started for the same reason I started playing baseball or soccer, just to get introduced into sports, but I loved it from the beginning.”

As he has grown as a player, he has learned his role as a Highlander basketball player; and even though he hit two big threes against New Albany, neither he nor head coach Todd Sturgeon sees scoring as his role on the team.

“He does a little bit of everything,” said Sturgeon. “He is our second ball handler, maybe our best team defender. He has almost a 3-to-1 assist to turnover ratio. You want it to be over 1-to-1, 2-to-1 is fantastic, and his is almost 3-to-1. Occasionally we need him to knock in a shot from the 3-point line and he can do that so, he does just a little bit of everything.”

Purvis said, “I make sure I play good defense and be vocal on the court. Make plays when I need to and make good decisions and be start.”

All three seniors have played well this year, but their high school basketball career has been tougher than most. 

“It has not been easy, especially for us seniors,” said Purvis. “We have had a lot of competition in front of us, but we have stayed focused just like our first three years.” 

Having few seniors means that they all have to step up and lead the team. 

“My role is just to be a leader as a senior. But I also need to hustle all the time and make sure people are in their spots,” said Purvis. 

To win sectionals this weekend, the seniors’ play in the big moment will be important, especially with a pretty young team. While this will definitely be true for Purvis,

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Senior Seth Burks avoids a foul as the Knights attempt to make a basket, as senior Ben Purvis seems to float through the air. Photo by Kate Zuverink.

it will be game to game on what he will do to lead the team to a win.

“He has done a good job of seeing what we need in a given game. He has some games where he barely shots at all, and others where he knocks in, the New Albany game he hit a couple threes, a couple threes. He hit free throws down the stretch at Christian Academy. He just kind of adds some calmness to our ball handling and adds another senior and somebody besides Jake [Heidbreder], especially when teams are trying to deny Jake the ball and so forth, to just plug in and fill a role.”

Earlier I said that people did not think FC would be able to play with the state powerhouses this year. That, however, has been proven false several times, Bloomington South was a 1-point loss on a buzzer beater by an Indiana basketball commit, Jeff was a 3-point loss on a buzzer beater that banked in, and Silver Creek was a 1-point loss on a free throw with 44 seconds left before freshman Caleb Washington just missed a tip in with less than 10 seconds left. 

Purvis said, “Coach Sturgeon said one time if you keep your head right and you keep working and keep making good decisions, eventually things will work out for you in the end.”

Hopefully this weekend in Seymour will be the time that things work out.

 

Girls’ basketball plays Jeff tonight in Sectionals

Photo by Brooke Miller

Story by J.D. McKay

For the first time in over two years, my column is not coming out on a Wednesday. But, I wanted to publish it the morning of the first girls’ basketball sectional game. 

For anyone out of the girls’ basketball loop, we have struggled this year. There are three main reasons for that problem. 

One is injuries. It is tough to be really good when your best players cannot play, and one of the Highlanders best players, junior Grace Suer, has been out for nearly the whole season. 

The next kind of goes along with it, youth. When a team loses playes to injuries, they have to play younger players. That is not always a bad thing, but when there is only one senior on the team, it can be tough. The young players have definitely improved, but it is hard to replicate the experience and pressure an experienced player is used to. 

The last problem is height. For some reason, just about every small school that we play had at least one girl over 6’ 1”. Some, like Providence, had three. We have freshman Callie Jo Celichowski, who is a sixth or seventh player on the bench who has played a decent role this year. Then our other post player is Laney Siewert, who is about 5’ 7”.

Anyway, we have had a tough season, but the regular season does not really matter come sectionals. Tonight, they have a chance against Jeff, who they lost to earlier this year. However, Jeff lost their best player, senior Nan Garcia, to a season-ending injury, so things could be different. As usual, I will be giving my three keys to success to get the job done. 

Hit shots: This one is kind of obvious, but we need shots to fall. Anyone who has been to the last months of games can confirm that at times it has seemed like there has been a lid

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Sophomore Kendall Brown and freshman Mandy Hess discuss the upcoming defensive series after a time out. Photo by Brock Kennedy

on the basket. One of the team’s best shooters, sophomore Kendall Brown, has been struggling more than most. However, she is a good enough shooter that if she hits a three early to break out of her slump, she could drop 15 points from beyond the arc. Plus, as she pulls more defense towards her, it should open up freshman Mandy Hess, who seems to be the most consistent through this slump. All in all, there are some pretty good shooters on the team, but almost all of them are struggling right now. If one or two can hit some shots early, then it should be a win. 

Lock down post defense: Last Thursday, we lost to Providence. Providence had the best player I have watched the whole year in senior Natalie Boesing. She played more aggressively than usual and she was their main post player. The team did a pretty good job of stopping her. Unfortunately, she still had over 20 points but somewhere between 10 and 15 of those were free throws. Very few post players get to the line like that in girls’ basketball, so if they can keep Jeff’s post players at 4-6 points points, they should be able to win. 

Defensive rebound: If I remember correctly, many of Jeff’s points from earlier this year came from offensive rebounds and put backs. So If we can keep them off the offensive glass, that will be good. However, if they do get offensive boards, making their big men kick it out will have a big impact as well. 

Bottom Line: As I said above, the ladies have struggled this year. However, they have shown flashes late in the year of what they could do. If they get shots to drop, they would be pretty dangerous in sectionals. An eventual matchup against Bedford will be tough, but if shots start dropping, anything can happen. However, they have to get there first, but I am taking the Highlanders to get through at least one round in sectionals. Final Score: FC 45- Jeff 38

Unexpected NBA death shifts basketball history

Art by Scarlett Hatton

Story by Jadon Stoner

No introduction needed. Every news channel and social media platform is filled with the reports of the tragic death of NBA legend Kobe Bryant. Devastating. Horrendous. Heartbreaking. These are just a few of the words that swirled around the minds of millions of people throughout the world over the past 24 hours. Turn on ESPN, NBA network, or really any sports or news related TV channel and you will see interviews and quotes of various teammates, coaches, and media members. Dig a little below the surface, however, and you will discover that people who never even met this man have been inspired and transformed by the motivational stories of hard work and dedication of the great Kobe Bryant.

Kobe was a basketball legend; we all know that. Five-time NBA champion. Two-time Finals MVP. Voted the league’s Most Valuable Player in 2008. Eighteen-time all star. Over 33,000 points scored. The list of Bryant’s career accolades goes on and on. His undeniable desire to win and his willingness to sacrifice anything to achieve greatness is something we can all strive to embody. But the story of the Black Mamba goes much deeper than the bright lights of L.A. This particular story starts thousands of miles away from the beautiful coastline of Southern California in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Kobe was the youngest of three children. His father, Joe Bryant, played in the NBA until Kobe was six years old. After retiring from the NBA, Joe Bryant moved him and his family to Rieti,Italy to play lower level professional basketball. Growing up, young Kobe would watch his father play and watch tapes of NBA games his grandfather would video and send to him in the mail. From this, the love of basketball sparked in Kobe and drove him through his whole career. In 1991, the family moved back to Philly and the next year enrolled Kobe in Lower Merion High School: the place where his basketball career began.

Bryant started playing varsity as a freshman and won Pennsylvania Basketball Player of the Year as a junior. He led the team to a state championship in the 1995-96 season and was receiving offers from big time colleges like Duke, North Carolina, and Villanova. After seeing Kevin Garnett taken 5th overall in the NBA draft out of high school the previous year, however, Kobe decided to go straight to the NBA. He was taken 13th overall by the Charlotte Hornets, who traded him to the Los Angeles Lakers later that night. Now, over 20 years later, and Kobe is looked at as one of the best to ever pick up a basketball.

This is a very sad time for the game of basketball and for anyone who was influenced by his greatness. It is natural to mourn in moments like these and think back to all the historical and monumental moments in his career. But I encourage all those who, like myself, missed a heartbeat when the news was confirmed, to not feel grieved or bitter, but to rather reflect on his astonishing and awe-inspiring career and try to implement part of who he was into our own lives. He was only here 41 years, and he gave it everything he had in everything he did. He lived life to the fullest, and his sudden and abrupt death is a reminder to all of us of how precious life is. Kobe’s legacy will live on forever on the court and in businesses and classrooms across the world. I think it’s safe to say there will never be another Kobe Bryant ever again. One man. One mission. One hero. One Mamba.

 

High school basketball is better without a shot clock

Photo by Matthew Bolus

Story by J.D. McKay

Well, our most recent loss came in a way that is expected to happen maybe once every couple of years– on a buzzer beater. However, if you have been at FC over the past two years, you know we have gotten the short end of the stick several times at the buzzer. We have lost six games over the past two years, and four of them have been at the buzzer. Earlier this season, head coach Todd Sturgeon told the News and Tribune he had been beaten on one buzzer beater in all 20 of his years coaching, up until last season.

Following the game Friday, there were frustrated Floyd fans calling for a shot clock in high school basketball. Jeff dribbled the ball out for the last minute, and even with senior Ben Purvis’s and Sturgeon’s smart play, Jeff still hit a pretty lucky shot at the buzzer. However, wanting a shot clock in high school basketball would completely change the game and make it much worse for viewers. 

Reason 1: It changes the classic parts of the game

I know this is one of my weakest reasons and the classic parts of the game are being changed in many sports like baseball. But, as Hoosiers, we should appreciate basketball as it is meant to be played. That does not mean we cannot enjoy the NBA style of no defense and crazy dunks, but we need to look back at the past and when basketball was growing into what it has become in Indiana. Milan High School, the team the movie Hoosiers was based on, held the ball for almost four minutes in their state championship game in 1954. 

Reason 2: It is logistically more complicated

The first part of having a shot clock is buying a shot clock. That can cost between 10 and 25 thousand dollars. In a generation where sports are becoming less and less valued, some small schools with bad teams could find it more worthwhile to just drop their programs and move on than to buy and install the equipment needed. Then, if it is installed, someone has to work it. In high school sports, if something can go wrong in the booth, it will. They will inevitably forget about either the shot clock or game clock. In football there is a play clock that is set at the start of each play. To start it, the person in the booth can basically just look at the official and start it when told. However, it is quite often done wrong and it is much similar than a shot clock. Plus, while we are talking about officials, at the high school level they are generally pretty bad. So even if they had some signal to restart the shot clock, their is no guarantee they would always signal it. 

Reason 3: It would reduce anticipation in the last minute

Not having a shot clock at the end of the game would make the last minute much more anti-climatic. If we knew we are guaranteed the ball again, then that possession would have meant less. Obviously we are still hoping they do not score, but it is basically a regular possession because that is what the goal always is. Without the shot clock, you expect when the last shot will be and that minute or so of waiting adds to the excitement. 

Reason 4: It really would not change the game for the better and increase scoring

For some reason, people associate the shot clock with more scoring. It works that way in the NBA, but NBA players are freaks. There are fewer than 100 high school players like that. We played a pretty slow game. We pass the ball around and look for a good shot and rely on having a good defense, which seems to be working pretty well for us. But if we were limited on the time we had the ball, it would result in some bad looks. With junior Jake Heidbreder on the team, they would probably go in pretty consistently, but for other schools without a Heidbreder, they would start scoring fewer points. Plus, with a shot clock, teams with very athletic players like Silver Creek and Jeff would just go to the hole and it would be hard to stop because of their quickness. It would take some terrific coaching (which I think Floyd has if push comes to shove) to not slow down on the offensive end and continue to play well on the defensive end. 

High school basketball in Indiana is a tradition that rivals sports in all other states, and adding the shot clock to the game would lessen the value of the sport. People think that the shot clock would make the game better. But clearly, it would ruin the game and is tough to add to the game.