Those field goal percentage numbers on the Carroll boys basketball stat sheet are not a misprint.
Sophomore guard Jarin Bush leads the area in field goal percentage at 73.6. Senior forward Ryan Spesard (69.4) and sophomore forward Brandon Dillon (64.8) are in the top five.
First-year Carroll coach Matt Weaver says those numbers come from playing to the Cougars’ strengths in the post. Carroll will try to use that execution to end a 12-game losing streak to Class A No. 8 Central Catholic, known for defensive intensity and quickness.
“They have a lot of quickness and athleticism overall,” Weaver said. “They apply a lot of pressure and get up and down the floor really well. Controlling the tempo of the game is important for us.”
Carroll will, as usual, enjoy a size advantage tonight. Senior forward Eric Miller stands 6-foot-7, while Bush, Dillon, Spesard and senior forward Jay Hodson are all 6-5.
The Knights have dealt with that sort of size disadvantage.
“We’ll try to man them early and see if we can handle it,” CC coach Dave Barrett said. “If we happen to go zone, we have to know where Miller’s at, because he’s been lighting it up.”
Home sweet home
The Red Devils allow 40.4 points per game at home and have won eight games there by an average of 19.9 points.
“Our crowds have been great,” West Lafayette coach Dave Wood said. “We have been pretty consistently ready to play at home.”
The Hornets are playing their second Tippecanoe County team in eight days after losing to Central Catholic 58-52 last Friday. Other Rossville opponents since Jan. 19 have included Harrison, Class A No. 4 Pioneer and Lebanon.
“They’re probably going to help us with weaknesses we might have,” Rossville coach Dave Mosson said of ending against West Lafayette. “They’re a top opponent on our schedule.”
Though none of Tippecanoe County’s three Hoosier Crossroads Conference teams factored into the league championship this season, all three have something at stake in Friday’s conference finales.
Lafayette Jeff junior forward Tyler Buchanan returned to practice this week. The Bronchos’ leading scorer and rebounder missed two games due to concussion symptoms.
Friday’s game against Class 4A No. 6 Hamilton Southeastern and Michigan recruit Zak Irvin gives Buchanan to return to game play before the sectional. The Bronchos are also trying to stop a four-game losing streak.
“We’ve been talking to the kids about doing the things we do,” Jeff coach Scott Radeker said. “I don’t feel we’ve done that the last few games as far as competing for a full 32 minutes: on the boards, getting the 50-50 balls.”
Jeff coach Scott Radeker said Keaton Hamilton stepped up in Buchanan’s absence, and freshman Deonte Billups played some point guard to aid the Bronchos’ depth.
McCutcheon takes a four-game winning streak to Zionsville. The Mavericks can reach their second five-game winning streak of the season after not having had one since 2007-08.
McCutcheon can also secure a winning HCC record and a top-five finish in the conference.
“That’s the first thing we talked to the kids about on Monday,” McCutcheon coach Rick Peckinpaugh said. “The goal right now is what it’s been all year — to finish in the top half of the conference. If we win on Friday, we’ll do that.”
Harrison wants to bounce back from Tuesday’s loss to Twin Lakes with a senior night victory over Fishers. The Raiders can also improve on last year’s conference record and head into the sectional with a winning record.
“We need to play well again,” Harrison coach Mark Rinehart said. “We certainly didn’t do that (Tuesday) night, so I think that’s important to us. For our whole program, it’s the last time our seven seniors get to play at home, so as a group we owe it to them to go out with a good performance.”
Benton Central (6-14) had won three straight before Thursday’s 60-44 loss at Attica.
After allowing 61.5 points per game over its first 17 contests, BC held three straight teams to an average of 39. Other than Brandon Rooze and Tyler Souligne, the lineup has turned over since the start of the year.
“We finally figured out some good rotations,” first-year Bison coach Kyle Marlatt said. “The hardest part is figuring out the chemistry of what boys work well together what boys trust each other. We have a core group now that can play together and win some ballgames.”
Mounties junior Devon Burton scored 34 in a loss to Class 3A No. 9 Frankfort last Saturday. Mustangs junior Ethan Woodrow has already posted seven double-doubles.
Five on one?
Burton isn’t the first opposing player to have a big game against Frankfort. Others include Tipton’s Mike Crawford (38 points on Feb. 15), West Lafayette’s Justus Stanback (30 on Jan. 26), Logansport’s Antonio Penny (25 on Dec. 7), Danville’s Ian Asher (31 on Feb. 1) and North Montgomery’s Nathan Rogers (29 on Feb. 7).
Yet Frankfort won all of those games. The more balanced Hot Dogs utilize five players who average between 9.0 (Nathan Wissman) and 14.1 (Dakota Isgrigg) points.
“That comes down to team,” Frankfort coach Tom Weeks said. “We have three guys in double figures and two more with nine. If you do that, you have a chance to win on any given night.”