Sports

Tiger Cubs shooting for sectional crown

With one game left in the regular season for the Greencastle Tiger Cubs, it is hard for the team not to look forward to the Class 2A Sectional 44 Tournament, which will be played at Greencastle. 

The Tiger Cubs (13-9) will open the sectional Feb. 28 against South Putnam, and coach Bryce Rector admits the sectional is "tough with several really good basketball teams."

"Obviously, Parke Heritage, North Putnam and Greencastle are the three teams that come into sectional play with above .500 records, and are all very capable of winning the sectional. We were able to avoid Parke Heritage and North Putnam on the first night of play, which is nice, but we still have to be ready for South Putnam. We have beaten the Eagles twice, and I always think it's difficult to beat a team three times in one year and they gave us everything we wanted in the Putnam County Classic, so we are going to have to be ready to play on Wednesday night. We are going to have to really work to be efficient offensively over the three games of the sectional and limit turnovers and second chance points for the opponent," Rector told the Putnam County Post. 

After opening the season 1-3, Greencastle has had some success this year, along with a few down moments. The Tiger Cubs fell in the final of the county tournament, which they hosted. 

"This season has been filled with ups and downs, but, overall, I feel that we have made improvements as the year has gone on. We had a great month of January and have played well in some games down the stretch. You can see that our team is completely different than it was in November, which is always a great feeling as a coach. I am happy with the progress we have made and am really looking forward to our final regular season game as well as the sectional tournament," Rector said..

South Putnam 'excited' about sectional draw

As his team prepares for the upcoming Class 2A Sectional 44 at Greencastle, first year South Putnam boy's basketball coach Josh Estridge is hopeful the third time is the charm. 

When the Eagles and Greencastle tip off Feb. 28 in the sectional opener, it will mark the third time the two teams have played this year. Greencastle has won the prior two games. 

"Our team is super excited about our draw.  We get to play the host school that happens to be a rival and it is the third time we will get to play them.  We are obviously very familiar with each other and it should make for a great game.  In order for our team to cut down the nets we have to play with consistency on both ends of the court.  On offense, we have to attack the paint and put pressure on the defense, we have to continue to take care of the basketball, and create extra possessions by attacking the glass.  Defensively, we have to continue to have the mindset of making the other team work really hard for any points.  This is something we have done pretty well late in the season.  We will need a high level of communication and finish each possession with a rebound," Estridge told The Putnam County Post.

South Putnam will close out the regular season Friday night at home against Indian Creek. After opening the season 0-4, the Eagles are 7-14 on the year.

"It is Senior night and we are hoping to finish strong.  From a record standpoint the season isn't what we wanted or trained for.  With that being said, our team got better as the season went along.  Our young guys got much more comfortable playing varsity basketball and gained lots of needed experience.  Our older guys have done a good job leading by example and helping implement our system in the first year.  We made a lot of progress and I am happy overall. We have a lot to work on and improve on, but we are looking forward to the challenge as we move forward," Estridge said.  


Clovers feel 'invigorated' for sectional tournament

While the record may not have been what Cloverdale boy's basketball coach Karl Turk wanted this year, he understands what is at stake when his team enters the Greencastle Sectional next week. 

At 2-20 with a game against Sullivan slated for Tuesday, Turk said the opportunity to play for a title has "invigorated" the Clovers.

"The season definitely was tough with all the circumstances involved in a 2-20 record, the opportunity for postseason play and compete for a championship

has invigorated the team. We are as healthy as we are going to be and have been for months, and we just came off a senior night win over Eminence that was reflective of the excitement and purpose that the players have shown preparing for the postseason," Turk told The Putnam County Post. 

Turk said for a basketball person, the upcoming state tournament is the "most wonderful time of the year."

"Today, I had the opportunity to explain to a coach from out of state that in Indiana all teams go to the postseason, something that doesn't happen in all states. Whereas in other states many teams, once they realize that how their season has gone will keep them from the postseason, attitudes and effort are compromised. With us, we are becoming more energized," Turk said. 

They will need to be energized as Cloverdale opens the sectional tournament on Feb. 27 in the opener against North Putnam (14-8). The Cougars captured the Putnam County Tournament this year and have two wins over the Clovers already this season. 

"North Putnam certainly is one of the two "favorites" and they come into the tournament as winners of nine straight and having recently been crowned again county champions. They have distinct experience, height, and continuity

advantages that will be difficult for us to overcome; yet we relish the challenge. We have played them 2 times this year, both resulting in lopsided North Putnam victories; yet in significant portions of each game we have played well," Turk said.

To pull off the upset and then win a sectional crown, Turk said Cloverdale has to continue to build continuity, partial out sentiments associated with portions of the season that did not go their way and put together its most comprehensive efforts of the season. 

"Certainly, the full-time varsity players will have to be at their very best, but they must also be joined by poised younger players that have moved into supporting roles," Turk said. 

Putnam County boys basketball teams to square off in opening round of sectional

Greencastle High School is the host and the action is sure to be intense when Putnam County's boys basketball teams tip off in the Class 2A Sectional 44 tournament. 

 

Cloverdale and North Putnam kick things off in Game 1 on Jan. 27. The two teams played twice this season with the Cougars capturing both victories. Cloverdale enters at 2-20 and just snapped a 14 game losing streak, knocking off Eminence, 64-40. North Putnam, on the other hand, is the Putnam County champion and enters with a 14-8 record and have won nine straight ahead of Tuesday's regular season finale against North Montgomery. 

 

"Cloverdale is always exceptionally prepared and has multiple guys that are a threat beyond the arc, so they have the ability to go on a run at any moment," said Vincent Brooks, coach of North Putnam.

 

The winner of Cloverdale-North Putnam will play Southmont (8-11) in the first semi-final on March 1. The Mounties beat Cloverdale, 35-34, in the second game of the season and lost 53-39 to North Putnam. 

 

North Putnam is eyeing its first sectional crown since 2002, while the Clovers were last champions in 2018. 

 

The action on Wednesday, Feb. 28, kicks off with South Putnam (7-13) taking on the host Tiger Cubs (13-9). Greencastle swept the regular season matchups, earning a regular season win early in the season and then defeating the Eagles in the Putnam County Boy's County Tournament. 

 

"South Putnam has been playing some really good basketball as of late and has the weapons to win the county. Drew Hill is the reigning County Player of the Year, so anytime you have that to deal with, you know you are going to have to play well to win," Greencastle coach Bryce Rector said. 

 

South Putnam coach Josh Estridge said the Tiger Cubs have a lot of players that can score in multiple ways. 

 

"They are also long and really athletic. That can make it hard to scheme or get matched up to stop them.  They are also entering the tournament playing really well. I would say they are playing some of their best basketball of the season.  It is also a big rivalry game and we are looking forward to the challenge," Estridge admitted. 

 

Greencastle last won a sectional in 2021, while the Eagles last cut the nets down in 2003. 

 

The second game on Feb. 28 features Parke Heritage (18-4) squaring off against Riverton Parke (3-17).

 


The NBA and Pacers Sports & Entertainment announce statue honoring Hall-Of-Famer Oscar Robertson, Indy's first All-Star

The NBA, in partnership with Pacers Sports & Entertainment, has commissioned a statue to honor Indianapolis Crispus Attucks legend and Naismith Hall of Famer Oscar Robertson, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver announced at The Tip-Off at Bicentennial Unity Plaza.

The Commissioner welcomed Robertson to the stage and shared the news before thousands of fans celebrating the official beginning of NBA All-Star 2024.
From design to completion, the statue will take approximately one year until it is unveiled to the public. Once finished, it will be permanently placed at Crispus Attucks High School in Indianapolis and will be unveiled during a ceremony in 2025.
“Oscar Robertson’s legendary basketball journey began in Indianapolis where he led Crispus Attucks High School to the first state championship in the country won by an all-Black team,” said Adam Silver, NBA Commissioner.  “We are thrilled to join the Pacers in commissioning a statue in recognition of Oscar’s extraordinary impact on the game and his hometown.”
Indianapolis artist Ryan Feeney has been commissioned to create the statue, which depicts Robertson in his NBA All-Star jersey atop a basketball-shaped base made by scanning the actual 1955 Crispus Attucks State Championship Trophy. The metal for the bronze piece was sourced from Casting Art & Technology in Cincinnati, where Robertson was a three-time NCAA All-American at the University of Cincinnati and where he began his professional career with the Cincinnati Royals.
Robertson, widely considered one of the NBA’s all-time great players, is the first Indiana high school basketball player to be named an NBA All-Star. He was selected to the All-Star team 12 straight times during his 14-year career, earning All-NBA honors 11 times and winning the League MVP for the 1963-64 season. Robertson has also been credited with revolutionizing the point guard position, holding the record for most triple-doubles in League history until 2021 and being the first-ever NBA player to average a triple-double for an entire season.
For many Hoosiers, Robertson’s most significant legacy is the important impact he and his Crispus Attucks teammates had on Indiana high school basketball history. In 1955, the Tigers became the first all-Black team in the country to win a state championship, following it up with a second-consecutive IHSAA state championship in 1956. Robertson was named Indiana Mr. Basketball and the ’56 team was the first in state history to finish undefeated, posting a 31-0 record with a 22-point championship game victory over Lafayette Jefferson High School.
“It is important to immortalize the impacts Oscar has had on the court and well beyond the game of basketball, and this wonderful tribute will ensure generations to come can celebrate his remarkable legacy,” said Rick Fuson, PS&E’s Chief Executive Officer. 
The Robertson statue adds to an impressive list of commissioned pieces Feeney has created for landmarks throughout Indianapolis and beyond, including the impressive 9-foot sculpture of Indianapolis Colts Hall of Famer Peyton Manning that sits outside Lucas Oil Stadium. His other works include the bronze eagle atop the Indianapolis 9/11 memorial, the metal piano for the Hoagie Carmichael statue on Indiana University’s Bloomington campus, and the bronze cast of a sheriff deputy located outside the front doors of the Sheriff’s Department.
“It is an honor to have been chosen to sculpt a lasting tribute of the greatest basketball player ever to come from Indianapolis, Oscar Robertson,” said Feeney. “My hope is to make Mr. Robertson and the city of Indianapolis proud.”

Boys basketball sectional pairings announcement Sunday on GIANT fm WREB

The Indiana High School Athletic Association will announce the sectional pairings for the 114th Annual Boys Basketball State Tournament at 5 p.m. Sunday.

The Pairings Show, hosted by Bob Lovell and Greg Rakestraw, will stream exclusively at IHSAAtv.org and air on affiliates of the IHSAA Champions Network which includes the GIANT fm radio station in Greencastle (94.3 fm or the GIANT fm app).

Greencastle, Cloverdale, North Putnam and South Putnam are in the Class 2A, Sectional 44 field hosted by Greencastle.

Those teams are No. 16 Parke Heritage (17-4), Greencastle (12-9), North Putnam (13-8), Southmont (7-11), South Putnam (7-12), Cloverdale (1-20) and Riverton Parke (3-16).

Parke Heritage is 6-0 against the sectional field this season. Greencastle (6-1) and North Putnam (5-2) also have found success against potential sectional foes.

Greencastle’s last sectional title came in 2021. North Putnam has not won a sectional championship since 2002 – South Putnam’s last sectional title came one year later in 2003.

Cloverdale's last sectional title was in 2018 and capped off four consecutive.


Greencastle QB enjoying big offseason

As a freshman last year, Greencastle quarterback Cole Stephens took the WIC and Indiana by storm, putting up impressive numbers week after week en route to lifting the Tiger Cubs to a conference title. 
With the offseason in full swing, Stephens has been hard at work to put up numbers again once the season kicks off in August. 

"The off-season is going great. I've been able to add 15 pounds since the end of football season of good weight," Stephens told The Putnam County Post.

And, along the way, he is starting to generate some college interest, having recently been invited to Vanderbilt's Prospect Day. In addition, he has received an invite to the Elite Retreat May 30 through June 1. 

"Recruiting interest for 2027s is a relative thing with the transfer portal and how college programs are putting together their rosters. There is definitely some interest. I anticipate some verbal offers coming my way when I visit schools during spring ball and summer one day camps," said Stephens, who threw for 2,675 yards and 34 touchdowns last year. 

Stephens said the invite to Vanderbilt came about after a meeting with offensive coordinator Tim Beck.

"I was able to sit down with their new offensive coordinator, Tim Beck. He said he absolutely loves my film and thinks I am going to be a great player. He told me he could definitely see me playing at Vandy. I just got to keep continuing to get bigger and stronger in the weight room. I am pretty excited about the visit," Stephens said.

The rising sophomore said he has several visits planned during spring football season. 

"I'd definitely like to visit with Indiana University and meet with Coach Cignetti and Coach Sunseri. Western Kentucky has shown a lot of interest in me, and I'll definitely be down there to visit with Coach Helton and Coach Hollingshead this spring. I'll attend around 10 one day camps this summer at different universities in Indiana, Illinois, Ohio, Kentucky and Tennessee," Stephens said. 

Last fall, the Tiger Cubs finished 8-3 and advanced to the second round of the sectional. Stephens set two single game passing records, was named the Putnam County Player-of-the-Year, All-WIC and All-Wabash Valley, and said when he looks back on last year, he was "blessed."

"I really look at how blessed I was, as a player, to have such good players surrounding me and how much team success we were able to have year one at Greencastle," he said. 

And, he is already thinking goals for the upcoming season. 

"This year, I'd like to make it deeper into the playoffs. Personally, I plan to study outside of the the air raid offense as I may not always be able to play in the same system. I think going into this season, we will be a team to look out for. I think that we could be a much bigger threat to teams than we were last year. We are returning a lot of starters in very important positions that will be crucial to our success," Stephens said. 

North Putnam captures Putnam County title

For the North Putnam boy's basketball team, some things never get old. 

 

Things like winning the county tournament, as the Cougars won the Putnam County Boy's Basketball Tournament, knocking off both Cloverdale and Greencastle to cut down the nets. 

 

"I couldn't be happier for our seniors, completing North Putnam's four peat county championship. And even more impressive, this senior class completed a six year perfect run in county tournament play as they also won county as seventh and eighth graders," North Putnam coach Vincent Brooks told The Putnam County Post. 

 

North Putnam opened the tournament with a 63-27 win over Cloverdale and followed that with a 61-37 win over Greencastle in the final. According to Brooks, every North Putnam player played their role "exceptionally."

 

"Every one of our guys played their role exceptionally this weekend, demonstrated in the fact that we had five guys shoot above 50 percent effective field goal percentage. Nolan Hackelman led our team in scoring with 38 points on the weekend, followed by Isaac Pickel with 20 points, Kaden Helderman with 18 points, and Jaylen Windmiller with 15 points. Brady Barber scored a very efficient 13 points while leading our team with 19 rebounds," Brooks said. 

 

North Putnam currently sits at 13-8 after opening the season 2-5 and find themselves in the midst of an eight game win streak heading into the last two games of the regular season. On Feb. 17, North Putnam travels to Riverton Parke and will host North Montgomery on Feb. 20 in the regular season finale. 

 

"I am very proud of how our team has evolved and grown through stretches of adversity earlier this year. I think we are playing our best basketball of the year and are excited to see us compete in sectional play soon," Brooks said. 


Greencastle's Buis signs with Saginaw Valley State

After a high school career that saw him have plenty of success, Greencastle High School offensive lineman Jackson Buis is ready to move on to the next level.
On Wednesday, he signed with Saginaw Valley State, continuing a football career that began when his father introduced him to the game. 

"My father got me into football at a young age when he got out of college coaching for nine years. He coached at Northwestern, Grand Valley State and Eastern Michigan," Buis told The Putnam County Post. 

The 6-foot-3-inch, 290-pound standout said playing offensive line was not, however, something he was too keen about doing when he started playing football. 

"No young kid wants to put his hand in the dirt and not be able to run the ball. When I got older and started to enjoy it, I took it very seriously, trying to get better every day. I take great pride in the position. I worked to the best of my ability to get where I am, and I still believe I have more to learn and get better. Last season, I spent a bit of time teaching our middle school program the importance of it, helping them with drills and how to get better. I want the younger groups to have just as much pride that I have in the position," Buis said. 

Buis said it felt "amazing" to make his college choice official.

"Saginaw stood out apart from everyone else. They were my first offer and the first offer is the most special one. Secondly, they have such an amazing coaching staff. Coach Brady is an amazing head coach, and I immediately fell in love with the program. They also have incredible facilities along with an amazing school," said Buis, who also had a PWO from Northwestern, an offer from Grand Valley State and had drawn interest from DePauw. 

The Tiger Cubs standout said the coaching staff at Saginaw was impressed with the way he played. 

"Coach Brady said I play with an edge, which is what he liked most about how I play," he said. 

As for getting ready for the next level, Buis admits he is a little concerned. 

"I am a little concerned about the jump to the next level. The speed of the game is very different from high school," Buis said. 

With his high school career in the rearview, Buris did take a moment to reflect and offer thanks. 

"What has stood out the most looking back at my high school career is how I played. I could visibly see my growth over the years, and I feel like I had showed that I worked to the position I'm in now. I could not have gotten to this point without my mom and dad. They are the reason I've become successful. I believe that's because they raised me the right way," Buis said. 

Greencastle looks to cut down nets on home floor

Sometimes in sports, there is something special about playing on your home court or field.
The Greencastle boy's basketball team hopes that is the case when they open the Putnam County Tournament tonight against South Putnam. 
The Tiger Cubs enter with a 10-8 mark under coach Bryce Rector. 

"I am pretty pleased with where are at right now at this point in the season. I think we have really started to play well in the second half of the season, which is always the best time of year to feel as though you are playing some of your best basketball. We have gotten some really great contributions from multiple different guys so far this year," Rector told The Putnam County Post.

Leading the way this season has been sophomores Sam Gooch and Cody Evans, both of whom have shown growth this season, according to Rector. In addition, Greencastle has gotten strong play from classmates Nathan Sutherlin and Connor Sullivan.  

"Both contributed in big ways to helping us win some really tough games this season. Juniors Taygan McRoberts and Anthony Adams have given us quite a bit of production recently and really help us win games when they are producing. Lone senior Judah Amis has been someone we can consistently go to and has served a big role for us coming off the bench recently," Rector said. 

Rector admits his team will have its hands full in the county tournament. 

"South Putnam has been playing some really good basketball as of late and has the weapons to win the county. Drew Hill is the reigning County Player of the Year, so anytime you have that to deal with, you know you are going to have to play well to win. Regardless of who we play on Friday, we are just going to focus on us and making sure we have a gameplan ready to go and our guys are willing and ready to execute it. This is always one of the most fun weeks of the year for us, and we are excited," Rector said. 


South Putnam brings win streak into county tourney

As he prepares to lead the South Putnam boy's basketball team into his first county tournament, coach Josh Estridge is pleased with where his team sits.

After opening the season 0-4, the Eagles are currently 6-10 ahead of Thursday's Putnam County Boy's Basketball Tournament, where they will play host Greencastle at 6 p.m. 

The Eagles opened the new year on a four game skid, but will bring a two game winning streak into the county tournament, knocking off both Dugger Union and Riverton Parke. 

"As a team, we are continuing to improve on both sides of the ball.  All of our players continue to improve," Estridge told The Putnam County Post.

Leading the way for South Putnam has been Drew Hill, who is averaging 15.5 points per game. After him, Estridge notes it has been several other players helping out. 

"He has also taken a hold of our team's leadership role and is really bringing our young guys along. Wyat Mullin continues to be steady at the guard position. He is scoring more and taking care of the basketball. All while usually having a tough assignment on defense.  Cameron Bozell is shooting really well from the outside.  He is shooting 43 percent from the field," Estridge said.

The first year coach said his players are figuring out their roles and contributing as the calendar flips to February. 

"I like where we are at, and I am not surprised. We have a team where only a few guys had varsity experience going into the season.   We just need to stay the course, practice hard, and continue to go after our goals we set at the beginning of the season and mid-season," Estridge said. 

One of those goals is to cut down the nets at the county tournament, but the Eagles have a huge task in front of them in Greencastle. Estridge described the Tiger Cubs as a "really tough basketball team."

"They have a lot of guys that can score in multiple ways. They are also long and really athletic. That can make it hard to scheme or get matched up to stop them.  They are also entering the tournament playing really well.  They have won five of their last seven.  The two losses were to solid 3A teams and they just recently scored 91 against Brown County.  I would say they are playing some of their best basketball of the season.  It is also a big rivalry game and we are looking forward to the challenge," Estridge admitted. 

The first time the two teams played this year, Greencastle picked up a 49-35 win over South Putnam.  

"The first time we played those guys in their gym, we struggled to score the basketball. The main key for me is we have to score more than we did in the first matchup to win.  It is also going to take us not turning the basketball over, staying out of foul trouble, and rebounding.  All of those aspects of the game are going to be challenges that we look forward to taking head on," Estridge said. 

And, he acknowledged the Eagles have to do several things if they want to cut down the nets.  

"In order to cut down the nets we are going to have to shoot a high percentage, limit our turnovers, get to the free throw line, make every shot the opposing team attempts a tough shot, rebound, and be tough.  Easier said than done, but our team is excited for the opportunities this week," Estridge said. 

North Putnam ready for county tournament

It has been said that a high school basketball season can be a "grind."

North Putnam boy's basketball coach Vincent Brooks would probably agree when looking at this season. 

After opening the season 2-0, the Cougars found themselves on a five game losing streak. North Putnam has since corrected that, riding a six game win streak and bringing an 11-8 mark into the Putnam County Boys' Basketball Tournament this week. 

"We feel like we are moving in the right direction and are looking forward to the county tournament this week. I believe all our guys are playing their best basketball right now, but especially senior Nolan Hackleman, who continues to lead our team offensively and defensively with great consistency," Brooks told The Putnam County Post. 

North Putnam opens the county tournament, which will be held at Greencastle, on Feb. 8 at 7:30 p.m. against Cloverdale (1-16). The Cougars defeated the Clovers, 74-48, last month. 

Despite Cloverdale's record, Brooks said his team has to be ready to go when they tip off against the Clovers. 

"Cloverdale is always exceptionally prepared and has multiple guys that are a threat beyond the arc, so they have the ability to go on a run at any moment.

Our last game against each other was just three weeks ago, and was a one point game midway through the third quarter. I expect this Thursday night will also be a tight contest," Brooks said. 

What will it take for the Cougars to secure a win and have a chance to cut down the nets?

"We will have to defend the arc and shoot the ball well two nights in a row to have an opportunity to cut the nets down on Friday night," Brooks admitted. 

Beadles and Mowery-Shields win semistate wrestling berths

Brownsburg captured the team title at the Mooresville wrestling regional Saturday.

Meanwhile, third-place individual finishes landed two South Putnam wrestlers berths in the semistate.

Brownsburg outdistanced second-place Center Grove, 238.5 to 188.5. Avon, Monrovia and Martinsville rounded out the top five.

South Putnam wrestlers recorded 20 points for a seventh place finish.

Aiden Beadles won his opening match at 215 against junior Dominick Mercer of Martinsville (26-11), 12-10.  The Eagles senior then lost by a fall to Brownsburg junior Caden Brewer (28-6).

In the third place match, Beadles (34-8) got by Avon junior Grant Stewart (20-17) in a 1-0 decision to earn the semistate trip.

Teammate Keenan Mowery-Shields (38-5) advanced with a first round fall against Grayson Spurling (17-19) of Martinsville. In the semifinal, eventual 285 pound champion Nate Johnson of Center Grove downed Mowery-Shields, 7-0.

Mowery-Shields bounced back in the next match with a 3-2 decision over Decatur Central senior Javian Jones (14-6) to claim third place and a berth in the semistate.

Saturday's semistate will be hosted by Evansville F. J. Reitz at the Ford Center featuring wrestlers from the Bloomington South, Castle, Jeffersonville and Mooresville regional sites.

Greencastle falls in sectional final

It has often been said that basketball is a game of runs, and such was the case in the South Putnam Girls' Basketball Sectional final between Greencastle and Parke Heritage. 

The Tiger Cubs came out firing on all cylinders, racing out to a 12-3 advantage before watching Parke Heritage use a 21-5 run in the second quarter to pull away with a 43-32 victory. With the win, the Wolves (23-3) will advance to the regional where they will play Eastern Hancock (23-1). For Greencastle, its season came to an end at 12-14. 

Early on, Greencastle's box and one defense combined with an ability to get Parke Heritage into early foul trouble proved to be advantageous for the Tiger Cubs. 

After falling behind 3-2, the Tiger Cubs got things going with Evelyn Briones hitting a basket and three pointer before Maddie Plew drilled a three to put Greencastle ahead 10-3. The lead would swell to 12-5 at the end of the first quarter. 

That was as good as it would get for the Tiger Cubs, as Parke Heritage opened the second quarter on a 4-0 run and stepped up its defensive intensity in the halfcourt to get easy baskets in transition. 

While the Wolves took advantage, Greencastle was unable to pad its lead despite being in the bonus. Briones would net a steal and layup, cutting the deficit to 16-14 but that was as close as Greencastle would get with Parke Heritage easing to a 26-17 halftime lead. 

The halftime break did little to settle Greencastle down, as the Tiger Cubs opened the third quarter with three turnovers and Parke Heritage took advantage, stretching the lead to 30-17 before Allie Dobbs hit a three to trim the deficit to 30-20. 

The two teams would trade baskets before the Wolves went ahead 35-27 heading into the fourth quarter. 

Parke Heritage went to a stall offense in the early moments of the fourth quarter to milk some clock and protect its lead. 

Briones led the way for Greencastle with 11 points, while both Plew and Bailey Brown each finished with six points. 

South Putnam looks to cut nets down on home floor

At 12-10, the South Putnam girl's basketball team doesn't need a lot of motivation of what is at stake this week.
The Eagles are hosting the sectional on their home floor and head coach Brian Gardner hopes that is enough to bring out the best from his team.

"We have had several players play well this season for us. It has been a great thing about this team is that each night different girls have stepped up when needed," Gardner told The Putnam County Post. 

Leading the way for South Putnam in scoring has been Chlara Pistelli, while Gardner said Danae Cline has been "outstanding" at running the offense at the point guard position and being South Putnam's "floor leader."

"Madison Gardner has been extremely consistent as our only real post player. Drew Gardner and Lyla Rissler have shot the ball well the second half of the year as freshmen," Gardner said. 

For South Putnam, the opportunity to cut down the nets begins with a date against Southmont Wednesday. Earlier this season, the Eagles knocked off Southmont, 49-41, November 20. 
Gardner said the sectional draw creates challenges for South Putnam.

"Southmont is a very good team with a good guard in Mason. She is very active on the defensive side of the ball and they have two posts in Jenkins and Gomez, who are good on the inside," Gardner said. 

What will it take to get the win and advance to Friday, where South Putnam would face the winner of sectional favorite Parke Heritage and Cloverdale?

"We will have to play good, solid basketball and not turn the ball over on Wednesday night. We were able to beat them earlier in the year. Parke Heritage is considered the favorite and would likely be the opponent on Friday night," Gardner said. 

Cloverdale ready for sectional tourney

With only two wins in the regular season, Cloverdale girl's basketball coach J.J. Wade knows it has been a challenging season for the Clovers. 

Illness and injuries have hurt Cloverdale all year and forced the squad to cancel the two quarters of JV Cloverdale was playing each night. 

Despite the hurdles, Wade admits he has seen his team improve as the season progressed ahead of the upcoming sectional tournament at South Putnam.

"The girls have continued to work hard and get better. That was our goal for the season -- to work hard and get better each night out for who we are playing for, our school and community. For the most part, we have done that," Wade told The Putnam County Post. 

Leading the way for the Clovers has been Emily Mann, who Wade said has been a "consistent leader and player."

"She is strong and physical and really understands the game.  She has been a coach on and off the court the entire year.  Although I am sure this is not how she intended her senior season to go, she has been a leader, a teacher, and a calming force for our team.  She has worked hard to be where she is physically and fundamentally and all the girls in the program would do well to imitate her," Wade said.

Another player he singled out is Millie Haga, who has been Cloverdale's primary ball handler this winter. 

"She can get to the basket and has done a good job facilitating.  The only regret with her is having her just one year.  Sarah Nichols is probably our most improved player from last year.  Improved with her hands, her shooting, as a vocal leader as a sophomore, and her approach to getting better.  It has been nice to see her grow," Wade said. 

Cloverdale will bring a nine game losing streak into the sectional, where they drew sectional favorite, Parke Heritage. The Wolves knocked off the Clovers, 64-22 on Jan. 16. 

"The Sectional in Indiana is a special time of the year.  Everyone is 0-0 and each game will result in someone's season being over.  It is what teams are working for throughout the season...all the in game and practice scenarios point towards competing for the Sectional Championship.  We certainly have a tough draw with the Sectional favorite, Parke Heritage Wolves.  They are a great team that can hurt you a lot of different ways both on the defensive and offensive end.  We are excited about the opportunity to continue to work and prepare for our Wednesday night match-up," Wade said.

Lady Tiger Cubs look to repeat as sectional champs

The Greencastle girl's basketball team is no stranger to winning a sectional title, having completed the feat last year. 
However, this year's installment of the Tiger Cubs features a different look, new names and a new coach who are looking to push Greencastle deep into the postseason and repeat last year's magical run that ended in the Class 2A semi-state. 

After opening the season 0-5 under first year head coach Jessica Lenihan, Greencastle captured the Putnam County title and will bring a 10-13 record into the sectional opener Tuesday against North Putnam in the South Putnam Sectional. 
According to Lenihan, the season has gone really well. 

"I really impressed with how hard these girls work every day in practice and in games. The improvement from the beginning of the year to now is really great to see," Lenihan told The Putnam County Post. 

Leading the way has been Evelyn Briones and Ali Dobbs, both of whom set the tone defensively and offensively for the Tiger Cubs. 

"They also have been playing really well on offense; their shots are looking really smooth and they are shooting with confidence. Madi Plew, Bailey Brown, and Aleeyah Johnson have been stepping up as well, getting a ton of rebounds. Bailey is a strong player under the basket for us, which helps a lot! Sarah Simmerman has been coming off the bench and putting in positive minutes. She is one of our talented freshmen and she gets on the court and plays with a lot of confidence," Lenihan said. 

The sectional opener is a rematch of a Jan. 12 game that saw North Putnam pick up a 59-47 win over Greencastle. Lenihan admits her team is "really excited about the draw." 

"The girls are wanting to play them again to redeem themselves. My girls are very competitive and ready to fight to win this first game of sectional," Lenihan said. 

As for what will be the keys for Greencastle to emerge with a win, Lenihan said it is simple. 

"We have to play our game and make sure we are taking the right shot and not forcing anything. We plan to focus and play as a team to be able to cut down those nets," Lenihan said. 

In the first meeting between the two teams, Lenihan said North Putnam disrupted Greencastle's flow, forcing the Tiger Cubs into playing rushed, taking bad shots and not protecting the basketball. 

"We also have to rebound better and be strong with the ball when we get it. I will give North Putnam a lot of credit, they wanted it more than we did in our first matchup but I think our girls are happy they get a chance to redeem themselves in this rematch," Lenihan said. 

North Putnam eyes sectional run

While the record may not be what Curtis Lawrence hoped, and his North Putnam girl's basketball team has seen an up and down season, all attention now turns to a sectional title run. 

At 8-13 heading into the regular season finale against Owen Valley Thursday, the Lady Cougars find themselves in the midst of a three game losing streak that came on the heels of a three game winning streak. 

"We have had contributions from several girls, who have all played well at times this season. Lexi Daigle has been our most consistent player, but every game someone else steps up and performs well for us," Lawrence told The Putnam County Post. 

North Putnam drew a very familiar foe in the South Putnam Sectional, as they will open the tournament Tuesday against Greencastle. The Lady Cougars picked up a 59-47 win over Greencastle on Jan. 12. 

"I think the sectional draw was good for both us and Greencastle.  I believe we are two evenly matched teams.  For us to cut down the nets, we have to be able to take care of the ball and limit our turnovers.  We also need to be consistent with our shooting from game to game," Lawrence said. 

While he has the win over the Tiger Cubs under his belt, Lawrence notes the sectional opener will feature a game between two evenly matched teams. 

"Coach Lenihan has done a wonderful job with her squad.  When we played them a couple of weeks ago, we were fortunate to come out on top.  They have good guard play with Evie Briones and Ali Dobbs.  Bailey Brown does a nice job on the boards for them, and Madi Plew can be a threat from the outside.  In order for us to defeat them, we have to contain their shooters and keep Brown off the boards.  If we can do this, along with shoot the ball well and take care of the ball, we will put ourselves in a position to be victorious," Lawrence admitted. 

Pacers guard Tyrese Haliburton named to 2024 USA Men's National Team player pool

USA Basketball announced that Indiana Pacers guard Tyrese Haliburton is among the 41-athlete player pool for the 2024 USA Basketball Men’s National Team.

The players were selected by USA Basketball Men’s National Team managing director Grant Hill and is subject to change.
The 12-member 2024 USA Men’s National Team, which will represent the United States at the 2024 Olympic Summer Games in Paris, will be announced at a later date.
In addition to Haliburton, the pool features 28 players who have represented the USA in Olympics and/or FIBA Men’s World Cup and who together have collected 23 Olympic or World Cup gold medals: Bam Adebayo, Jarrett Allen, Paolo Banchero, Desmond Bane, Scottie Barnes, Devin Booker, Mikal Bridges, Jaylen Brown, Jalen Brunson, Jimmy Butler, Alex Caruso, Stephen Curry, Anthony Davis, Kevin Durant, Anthony Edwards, Joel Embiid, De’Aaron Fox, Paul George, Aaron Gordon, James Harden, Josh Hart, Tyler Herro, Jrue Holiday, Chet Holmgren, Brandon Ingram, Kyrie Irving, Jaren Jackson Jr., LeBron James, Cam Johnson, Walker Kessler, Kawhi Leonard, Damian Lillard, Donovan Mitchell, Chris Paul, Bobby Portis, Austin Reaves, Duncan Robinson, Jayson Tatum, Derrick White and Trae Young.
The 2024 USA Men’s National Team will be led by head coach Steve Kerr (Golden State Warriors), who is assisted by Mark Few (Gonzaga University), Tyronn Lue (L.A. Clippers) and Erik Spoelstra (Miami Heat). Last summer, the quartet coached the 2023 USA Basketball Men’s National Team to a fourth-place finish at the 2023 FIBA Men’s World Cup in Manila. Kerr is a 2020 Olympic gold medalist after serving as an assistant coach to Gregg Popovich in Tokyo.
The USA officially qualified for the 2024 Olympics as one of the top two nations from the FIBA Americas zone at the 2023 FIBA World Cup in September. The American men will compete for their fifth straight – and 17th overall – Olympic gold medal.

 

 

 

Sectional brackets set for girls basketball postseason

It is the most wonderful time of the year as all four Putnam County high school girl's basketball teams are ready to turn their attention to a Class 2A Sectional 44 title. 
A season ago, Greencastle stormed through the sectional, capturing not only that but also a regional crown before falling to eventual Class 2A state champion Forest Park, 65-48, in the semi-state. 

This year's sectional tournament, which will be held at South Putnam High School, will see a pair of familiar foes matching up in the opening game of the tournament on Jan. 30, as Greencastle (9-12) takes on North Putnam (8-12). The winner will play Riverton Parke. 

Greencastle and North Putnam met recently, with the Cougars picking up a 59-47 win over the Tiger Cubs. Greencastle and Riverton Parke have not played this season, while North Putnam picked up a 54-24 win over Riverton Parke in the Hoosier Heartland Tip-Off Classic in November. 

Cloverdale (2-19) opens against sectional favorite Parke Heritage (19-3) on Jan. 31, followed by South Putnam (12-9) taking on Southmont (12-7). 
Parke Heritage, who has won 13 straight, knocked off Cloverdale, 64-22, earlier this month and owns wins over both South Putnam and Southmont. 
South Putnam knocked off Southmont, 49-41, in November. 

Girls Basketball State Tournament Pairings Show to air on GIANT fm

The Indiana High School Athletic Association will air the 49th Annual Girls Basketball State Tournament Pairings Show Sunday.

The pairings show will set the pairings for girls basketball sectionals in all four IHSAA classes.

Bob Lovell and Greg Rakestraw will host the show that will air exclusively on IHSAAtv.org beginning at 5 p.m. Sunday.

The show also can be heard on the affiliates of the IHSAA Champions Network which includes GIANT fm (94.3 fm or the GIANT fm app) in Greencastle.

Class 2A, Sectional 44

Girls basketball programs from Greencastle, North Putnam and Cloverdale travel to South Putnam for a 7-team sectional that includes a top-15 ranked program.

Class 2A, No. 11 Parke Heritage is 18-3 overall and 6-0 against potential Sectional 44 opponents this season.

The host school, South Putnam (12-8), has the second most wins in the sectional with 12. The Eagles are 6-2 against potential sectional opponents.

Southmont (10-7) also has double-digit wins ahead of the sectional draw.

Completing the field are Greencastle (9-12), North Putnam (8-11), Riverton Parke (5-14) and Cloverdale (2-18).

Pacers add 2-time All-NBA player Pascal Siakam

The Indiana Pacers announced on Wednesday the team has acquired forward Pascal Siakam from the Toronto Raptors in exchange for guards Bruce Brown, Jr. and Kira Lewis, Jr., forward Jordan Nwora, two first-round picks in 2024, and a conditional first-round pick in 2026.

Siakam, 29, has spent all eight seasons of his career in Toronto.  He's averaging 22.2 points, 6.3 rebounds, 4.9 assists.
“We’re incredibly excited to welcome Pascal to Indiana,” said President of Basketball Operations Kevin Pritchard. “As a two-time All-NBA selection and two-time NBA All Star, Pascal is a player that our organization has long admired and respected. We feel that his unique offensive skillset will complement our style of play, while his defensive versatility will be a valuable asset to our team.”
Siakam will wear number 43 for the Pacers.

Basketball official Casey Gaynor has worked in every Indiana high school gymnasium

Asking Casey Gaynor for a detailed list of the Indiana high schools where he’s officiated at least one varsity basketball game isn’t advisable.

That is, unless one has serious free time on his or her hands.

Requesting that Gaynor either alphabetize those schools, name them in order of games worked, or, worse, break the list down geographically, and you might as well bring a pillow, prop up your feet and get cozy.

It’s going to take a while.

The 57-year-old Gaynor, a Plainfield resident who grew up on Indianapolis’ Westside, accomplished his profession’s version of hitting for the cycle when he worked the boys game between Indianapolis Tech and host Herron on January 2.

Competitively speaking, well, let’s just say the Titans rolled to an 83-22 victory.

 

Casey Gaynor photo 4

Casey Gaynor has officiated basketball at 404 different IHSAA member schools (Photo provided by Landon Ringler).

Historically, however, the four quarters of action proved significant as Gaynor running the Herron court represented the 404th different high school Gaynor has been to officiate either a girls or boys during the course of his 26-year career.

For those counting at home, that’s everywhere, meaning Gaynor knows his Oregon-Davis from his Jac-Cen-Del. His South Bend Clay from his Clay City. His Boone Grove from his Center Grove.

You get the idea.

Gaynor’s start to whistling personal fouls, traveling violations and the like, while somewhat unorthodox, lit the fuse to what’s been an impressive career.

“I referred bitty ball with a buddy in college for beer money,” said Gaynor. “I also played in adult leagues when I was in my 20s. In my Cardinal Ritter alumni league, I was always the guy complaining about the officiating. Bill Nester ran the league.

“After a particularly grueling loss, I went nuts on the two refs. Bill stepped in and told me, ‘Since you’re always complaining about the reffing, I’m putting you down to ref next year.’ I was so mad that I said, ‘Fine.’ The following year started my career. I found that I loved it.”

So much, in fact, that Gaynor eventually began piecing together his own type of game plan regarding officiating as his career evolved: Get your plays right, manage the personalities in a game, study tape and be open to being told that you’re wrong.

Certainly, an official who over the years has made the drive to as many cities and small towns as Gaynor must have his favorite gymnasiums to work. And some that, shall we say find themselves much further down on the list.

He’ll happily share the former.

“New Castle (Chrysler Fieldhouse) and Connersville (Spartan Bowl) because those are the mecca of high school gyms,” said Gaynor, who also mentions Washington Catholic, Tyson Auditorium in Versailles – where the legendary 1953-1954 Milan squad played its home games – and the since-closed Anderson Wigwam.

 

Casey Gaynor photo 3

Casey Gaynor, a Plainfield resident, has been a licensed IHSAA official for 26 years (Photo provided by Landon Ringler).

Gaynor’s time exhaling into whistles, explaining calls to coaches (and their assistants, in many cases) and just flat-out immersing himself into this state’s prep sports scene includes officiating 22 boys basketball and five girls basketball sectionals.

Moreover, he’s been on the court for 17 boys regionals and three more on the girls side, and one boys hoops semi-state. Gaynor has worked 14 seasons as a high school baseball umpire in Indiana, and officiated volleyball for five.

One of Gaynor’s favorite officials to work games with is Lance Ringler, 53, who lives in Ellettsville, and has been at it since the age of 19. Ringler has officiated games in five other states (California, Idaho, Minnesota, Nevada, and Washington) with a variety of other officials.

He places Gaynor in his own category.

“With Casey, I would say we’ve worked close to 30 games this season, and we’re probably over 100 games over the last seven years or so. Mostly boys games,” said Ringler. “Working with Casey . . . I’ve learned a lot from him. The thing about Casey is he’s all business.

“When we go on the road, we have a lot of fun, but every ‘I’ is dotted and every ‘T’ is crossed. He’s there to do his job, and he’s made me a much better official because of his approach. You better bring your ‘A’ game, or he’s going to let you know about it. His focus for the whole basketball game, he’s always on.”

Gaynor has no precise timetable regarding when he’ll hang up his black- and white-striped official’s shirt. Still healthy and enjoying the weekly interaction he has with players, coaches, administrators – and, yes, even fans – Gaynor plans to finish out this basketball season and looks forward to those ahead.

“I want to make 30 years, then see how my body feels,” said Gaynor. “My first licensed high school year was the 1998-1999 season. I’ve seen too many guys who are hanging on way too long. I promise, I won’t be that guy.”

Cloverdale boy's hoops looks for consistency

While the record may not be where Cloverdale boy's basketball coach Karl Turk would want at 1-9, he has seen growth this season from the Clovers. 

"The 2023 portion of this season was trying. As a team, we only registered one win as far as our record is concerned, which doesn't attest to the multiple areas in which we have improved and have experienced growth," Turk told The Putnam County Post. 

Of the nine losses, three have come by a combined 10 points. 

"We anticipated the early portion of the season would be difficult, as we were acclimating six new varsity players into the roster; four of which did not play at all last season and the other two were predominantly junior varsity players," Turk said. 

Turk said as of late, there has been "marked growth across the board." 

"Trey Schabel is emerging as a lead guard, making tremendous strides as a freshman. Over Christmas break he registered three starts and was able to score in double figures. Levi Johnson has also come on as of late. He has been hampered by a hand injury suffered during football season; yet over the break was able to score 17 points vs Greencastle," Turk said. 

While he admits he did not anticipate having only one win at this point in the season, Turk said he could see themes that can be expected when putting a relatively new team on the floor, especially when it comes to mental lapses and closing out games. 

"We have been in some close games in which inexperience has been a factor as well as unfortunate injuries. We are optimistic that through the 2023 portion of the schedule we have gained the needed experience and certainly are hoping for greater health during the new year," Turk said. 

The Clovers open the 2024 portion of the season Friday when they roll out the red carpet for Owen Valley, who is 3-6. 

And, when they do so, they will have a focus on consistency, according to Turk. 

"At the root of consistency, we feel a noted need to improve our mental focus. Physical exertion typically is not the issue when things don't go our way; instead it is a loss of mental focus spurred on by adversity (injury, the other team's play, etc). The game of basketball is one of runs and often one run determines the victor in a game. We are looking to stay focused to a greater extent in order to produce more of those game changing runs ourselves; and mitigate those produced by our opposition," Turk said. 

Indiana State names new athletic director

Indiana State University has announced Angie Lansing as the Interim Director of Sycamore Athletics.

A seasoned collegiate athletics administrator and member of ISU's Athletics Hall of Fame, Lansing brings 17 years of experience within Indiana State's Athletics Department. She currently serves as the Senior Associate Athletics Director and Senior Woman Administrator.
"Indiana State University is very fortunate to have an administrator of Angie's caliber on staff who can fill this important role. Indiana State has the utmost confidence and given her experience and vision for the Sycamores; she is the ideal candidate for this position. At this time, the University's priority is to continue to elevate the tremendous work being done by our student-athletes, coaches, administrators, and staff in Sycamore Athletics," said Dr. Deborah Curtis, President of Indiana State University.
 Lansing previously served as Interim Director of Athletics in 2016. In her current role, Lansing oversees Indiana State's women's basketball, women's soccer, women's golf, volleyball, track and field, and cross country. She is actively involved with various Missouri Valley Conference committees, including Conference Relations and Finance, and as the sport liaison for track and field and cross-country coaches. Additionally, within the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), she held the position of NCAA Division I Track & Field and Cross-Country Sport Committee Chair for three years of a four-year term.
"It's a privilege to serve as Indiana State University's Interim Director of Athletics. Sycamore Athletics has a rich history that I will continue to uphold. Our staff works hard every day to support our student-athletes and coaches. I plan to maintain the momentum of our competitive seasons," expressed Lansing. "I look forward to working with the University community and the Terre Haute community as we continue to support our student-athletes and athletic programs."
 Lansing's connection to Indiana State is deeply rooted, having been a former track and field and cross-country athlete and an alumna, earning her degree in accounting in 1998. During her four years as a student-athlete, Lansing achieved numerous accolades, including four consecutive years of earning All-Conference honors, Academic All-American recognition, and holding the titles of ISU Indoor Mile Record Holder and outdoor 1500m record holder.

ISU announced Tuesday that Sherard Clinkscales had stepped down as Director of Athletics “has decided to step down from his role to pursue other opportunities.”

His departure was effective December 31.

Clinkscales' contract had been extended through June 2025.

 

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