You’re not going to win all 162 games. That’s a given. For a team who struggled last year, starting 4-0 was huge. This team was a 76-86 last year and 4th in the NL Central. The Chicago Cubs were only worse (sorry Cubs fans). It hurts how they lost and who they lost to. You stranded six base runners. The St. Louis Cardinals beat the Cincinnati Reds 4-1 to even their record to 2-2 on the year while dropping the Reds to 4-1.
It was a battle of aces with Johnny Cueto pitching for Cincinnati and Michael Wacha going for St Louis. The scoring began in the bottom of the 1st with a solo shot from Reds 3B Todd Frazier that just sneaked over the left field fence. The sellout crowd loved it. However the very next inning the Cardinals answered. Kolton Wong tied up the ballgame with a sacrifice fly to deep right field scoring Johnny Peralta. St Louis took the lead for good in the 4th off a solo homer from Matt Adams (his first hit of the season). St Louis would add two more in the top of the 9th to give breathing room for closer Trevor Rosenthal to shut the door. Cueto gave the Reds 7 strong innings allowing 4 hits, 2 runs (1 earned), 1 walk, and 4 strikeouts on 89 pitches. Todd Frazier went 2-4 with his 3rd home run in 5 games this season along with his 6th RBI this season. Zach Cozart also had a 2-hit day.
The moral of the story is when you have base runners you have to convert. There’s more failure than success in baseball, yes. However, Cincinnati was 0 for 9 with runners in scoring position while St. Louis 3-6 with a sacrifice fly. That was the difference. Your starter went 7 strong only allowed two and your offense couldn’t get the necessary run or two to keep him in the game. Cueto is an ace, but he does half the job. The offense has to do their part. The biggest positive? Defense was phenomenal all day long. Hamilton and Byrd both made dazzling catches to deny base runners. Frazier and Phillips made big infield plays. Historically, defensive teams prove to play more in October…with good pitching.
The final game of the 3-game set is Sunday. Rookie Raisel Iglesias will make his Major League debut for Cincinnati. He will be opposed by hurler Carlos Martinez for St. Louis.
Guts. Resiliency. Want. All three of these important words embodied the way Yorktown played in their Sectional Final loss to Hamilton Heights 55-52 in double overtime. The latter of those three words was the message wanted to send to its opposition. They relayed that message well. That wasn’t the reason for their defeat. If anything, no one wanted it more than this group. Quite frankly there was no reason for their defeat. A couple plays here and there, yes you could argue that. This group could not have played any harder and as one team on the floor. Sometimes in sports you have a couple individuals carry the way. For Yorktown, their entire starting five was the engine the last two years. They left everything out on the court.
Each time Hamilton Heights thought they had buried the Tigers, Yorktown had an answer. Heights led by 9 at points in the 3rd quarter. They led by 5 going into the 4th quarter. Yorktown didn’t go away quietly. Caleb Morey hit 1 of his 2 threes with 3 minutes left in the 4th quarter. At that moment, you thought just maybe Yorktown would find a way. Then maybe the most heart wrenching moment was the ball in Purdue basketball commit Grant Weatherford’s hands with 10 seconds to play. He passed up a shot for his brother who then met the right hand of Riley Neal in defense. Neal extended the game defensively when all night his offense was what kept Yorktown hanging around. We headed to a first overtime.
The first overtime started with Hamilton Heights jumping out to a 4-point cushion. However the momentum changed in about 30 seconds. A blocked shot by Riley Neal led to a Yorktown rebound. Caleb Morey pushed the ball up court, passed left for Riley Miller who spotted up in the left hand corner and connected on a three ball. It was only a 1 point game. Hunter Crist for Hamilton Heights was then fouled for Hamilton Heights with about 20 seconds to play. He hit both. It was still a one possession game. You might have thought in this situation Morey, Miller, Moore would all be viable options to take the 3 point shot. Nope. Jacob Preston got a look from the top of the key, took it, and made it. A missed attempt by Hamilton Heights ended the first overtime. There was another overtime to be had.
It started just as the first overtime did. Hamilton Heights jumped to a 4 point lead again. Then even stretched it to a 6 point lead. Yorktown was finally sunk right? No. A couple easy buckets traded for missed free throws made it just a 4 point game with under a minute to play. Riley Miller had just gotten a rebound and trotted down the floor. Yorktown worked an offensive set then wasted a little clock. It came back to Riley on the perimeter. He launched a three and drilled it. It was only a one point game again with about 25 seconds to play. Hamilton Heights hit a free throw then missed one. Yorktown had the ball and couldn’t convert. They fouled Hamilton Heights who hit 1 of 2 free throws again. The second of which was missed, came to Riley Miller who then missed a long heave with time expiring. A heartbreaking loss but Yorktown could not have possibly played any harder.
For Yorktown this is not just about losing 8 out of 10 basketball players. You lose 8 student athletes who combined for 56 varsity letters at Yorktown. You will not be able to replenish next year or maybe even the year after. However, this group will forever be the top mark to reach as a school. It’s incredible all that they’ve accomplished. Many of them will go on to play collegiately but some won’t. One thing is for sure. They will always be in the history books of Yorktown High School Athletics.
It was to be a great battle between the unknown of the Muncie Sectional Hamilton Heights and Muncie Central. It was until Hamilton Heights pulled away. The Huskies eliminated the Bearcats 75-58 to move on in the Muncie Sectional. The Bearcats were the defending Sectional Champions spoiled the dream to be repeat champions. The Huskies got 28 points from Purdue commit Grant Weatherford and his brother Sterling Weatherford added 16 points to the cause. The strength and depth of Hamilton Heights was the difference.
When a player scores 14 out of a team’s first 16 points, you know you’re in for a tough game. Especially when that player averages just 12 points per game. That’s how the game started for Muncie Central. Grant Weatherford took over and never let off the gas pedal. No matter what the Bearcats did defensively, Weatherford was able to make plays in the lane. Before long, Hamilton Heights built a double-digit lead. They never let that lead get below 9 in the second half. It was an impressive performance by Hamilton Heights and cemented themselves as the favorite of the Sectional.
For Muncie Central there is some good and bad news. The good news is they return their three best players (Phillip Corthen, Andre Jones, and Donald Allen). Other good news is Trenton Hatfield and Duane Clemens both took major strides this season. That’s a very confident starting five. The bad news is Muncie Central is likely to move up to 4A. Their regular season schedule will stay the same. If the move to 4A, Muncie Central would be placed in the New Castle sectional gauntlet that includes Richmond, Pendleton Heights, among others. That’s a difficult task. However, with the core coming back there is no reason Muncie Central should not compete for the sectional. They have one of the shooters in the state along with one of the best big man combinations in Indiana. That spells success for Muncie Central next year. It’s going to be a show. No doubt about it.
The motto was taking care of business. That’s what Yorktown did to an overmatched Blackford team 69-20 to move on the Sectional Championship. It was a mismatch from the opening tip. Yorktown was up 21-2 in the first quarter. Both Riley Miller and Riley Neal were jumping out of the gym and making ridiculous plays in the open court. Yorktown never overlooks an opponent and didn’t in this one. Coach Greg Miller and his crew would have the same focus if it was the Indiana Pacers or the Blackford Bruins.
Riley Neal had 17 points to lead the charge including a couple of sensational dunks to get the Yorktown fans out of their seats. The speed and talent of the Yorktown Tigers was overwhelming for its opponent. The more important fact is Yorktown gets back to where they wanted to be this year…the Sectional Final. Last year they fell short to Muncie Central. This year is about finishing the job as seniors. A good majority of this group experienced the same experience in football. Now it’s time for basketball. They face Hamilton Heights for the Sectional Championship on Saturday evening.
Step one was taken by the Muncie Central Bearcats on Tuesday night. They defeated the Delta Eagles 55-40 to face Hamilton Heights in the Semi-Finals of the Muncie Sectional. The tough schedule all year prepared the Bearcats for this moment and they completed their first task. Ten out of the eleven losses for Muncie Central this season have been to 4A teams. That experience and grind of a schedule helps them when the tournament hits (aka NOW).
It started well for Muncie Central. They pulled in front to an 11-4 lead and led all the way until halftime. Central is know for their shooting from the perimeter but this game, their offense was different. They used their speed to get into the lane, force the defense to collapse on one side, and then exploit the weak side. The Bearcats found this to work in the first 16 minutes. It wasn’t just Phillip Corthen producing. Trenton Hatfield, Donald Allen, and Andre Jones all helped the cause in the first half. However Delta , as they have all season, faught back. They opened up with a 10-0 run to pull in front early in the 3rd quarter 25-24. That would be the last Delta lead. Muncie Central possession by possession began to pull away thanks in large part to Phillip Corthen. He scored 13 out of his 21 points in the second half. In the tournament, it’s all about thinking a game at a time. Muncie Central did that on Tuesday night. They face Hamilton Heights on Friday in the second game of the semi-final doubleheader.
For Delta it was a hard fought season. The two words to describe the team this year was resiliency and development. Most times they were overmatched on the floor but had will power to stay in games. When they got down, they found ways to come back in games. Development wise, there is much to look forward to. Coach Ryan VanSkyock was in his first season this year. That means bringing in a new system and way of doing things. It takes a couple years for something to work. Next year expect Delta to be a contender. You have starters Tanner Lambert, Matt Norris, and Kaleb Slaven all back. You have Maurice Richardson, Adam Haynes, and Ryan Sullivan all back. There is no reason but to look up for this team. Congratulations on a great season. The best is yet to come Delta Eagle fans!
Schedule coming up in Muncie Sectional:
Friday: Game 1 Yorktown vs. Blackford (6:00PM)
Game 2 Muncie Central vs. Hamilton Heights (8:00PM)
Saturday: Championship Game (8:00PM)
60 to 11. Yes, you read that right. 60 to 11. That was the final score from Delta High School Friday night as the Delta Eagles hammered a winless Blackford Bruins basketball team. Both teams have 4 Seniors. Both teams play in class 3A. Both teams have a tough road ahead of them in the Muncie Central Sectional. What went oh so wrong for Blackford and oh so right for Delta?
Well for starters it was Senior night at Delta High School. A good crowd came to watch and honor the Seniors which helped to turn Delta’s gym into a very intimidating place to play for a young Blackford team. Yes, Blackford has 4 seniors, but other than a few Juniors, the rest of the team and the entire JV team are Freshmen. Young and inexperienced, that’s probably the best way to describe the Bruins as they were only able to hit one field goal and two free throws in the first quarter, and a field goal and free throw in the 2nd. It wasn’t that the Bruins weren’t taking shots, it just that the shots wouldn’t hit. Bad looks, bad shots, and sloppy basketball were the aliments of the first half, and the second wasn’t much better. Blackford did not score a single point in the third quarter. Let that sink in for a moment. Nothing in the third. No field goals, no 3s, and no free throws. Many were attempted but nothing hit. Was Delta just that good? More on them later. In the fourth , Austin Felver attempted to ignite the Blackford offense by scoring a three, but just like a like rain soaked firewood there was no fire to result from that spark. One more free throw and you have the entire 11 points from the Bruins.
So based on the score did the Eagles play perfect? Have they become unstoppable? Let’s not get too excited. Delta by no means played perfect. Some sloppy ball handling, silly turnovers, and a miscommunication on defense to allow the only 3 scored by Blackford, lessened the cut to the Bruin jugular. Impressively, while the Eagle defense was acceptable in the first half, the Eagles toughened up and really smashed the Bruins into submission. What was so different? Asking Coach VanSkyock after the game he said Delta played the second half “to beat Muncie Central.” And with the defense they used, other than a small blown coverage, the Bearcats will have their work cut out for them tomorrow night to open sectionals.
All in all a very impressive victory for the Eagles and what a game to have on Senior night. The guys have their work cut out for them on Tuesday, but if they play with the same fire and intensity, the game will come down to the wire. For Blackford? Well they face one of the better teams in the sectional with Yorktown. The outcome of that game could be much, much worse. You can hear all of the action right here on Fox Sports Radio. The first game will be Muncie Central vs. Delta to open sectionals tomorrow night with the pregame show at 6:45 and the tip at 7pm. The next game will be Yorktown taking on Blackford, Friday night with pregame at 5:45 and the tip at 6pm, and the winner of Muncie Central/Delta taking on Hamilton Heights following that game. Saturday is the Championship. And, while it may not look like it outside with all of the snow, March Madness is here my friends… at least here in the state of Indiana.
(Listen to highlights and interviews below)
Without their best player, Richmond bested the Yorktown Tigers 48-47 last night. It was only the 2nd loss for the Tigers in the last 14 games they’ve played. Richmond was without point guard Joel Okafor who will attend Wisconsin-Green Bay next year. He was injured in practice the day before. Richmond was led by Tommy Luce who had 4 triples in route to 12 points. Auntonio Brown had 9 while Adrion Burns added 11.
On Yorktown’s side, they never led #10 Richmond get too far ahead. Richmond never had a lead larger than 9 in the game. Yorktown’s Caleb Morey had 11 points, Riley Miller had 8 points, and Riley Neal added 12 points. It was a huge learning lesson for the experienced team. One they needed after their recent streak of success. Coach Greg Miller said, “We could never get this type of experience in practice.” The positive? Yorktown was step for step with one of the better teams in the state. The negatives? The Tigers let opportunities slip away and turned over the ball way too much.
All in all, Yorktown enters next week as favorites to win the sectional along with Hamilton Heights. There is no question this team is destined to make a run in the month of March.
(Highlights and Interviews below)
Of he three area teams we cover, there is one difference about the Yorktown Tigers. That is experience. Yes, Muncie Central and Delta have seniors but not like Yorktown. On their roster is eight seniors, five of which start. Between those five seniors, they have over 50 varsity levels between all the sports they play. This senior class for Yorktown is historic.
The game itself took a backseat to senior night. 67 to 30 was the win for Yorktown over Wapahani. It was a 27-10 Yorktown at the half but it would get worse. Yorktown opened up the 3rd quarter with a 15-0 run on Wapahani. Carson Moore had 9 of those 15 points with three straight triples. Four players were in double figures for the Tigers. There was no way better to perform on senior night.
The most impressive part of the night? That was the reaction when each starter checked out of the game for a sub. There was no emotion on their faces. Why you ask? Their asperations are much bigger than having another 15-win season. They want to make a run in the tournament. With the five starters this team has, they have all the fire-power needed in order to do just that.