2016-01-05 / Front Page

Cloverdale Clovers One Of Ten Teams Bound For ‘The Really Big Basketball Show’ In Indianapolis

Staff Report


Members of the varsity boys’ basketball team at Cloverdale High School include, front row, left to right: student-manager Tori Foster, Jalen Moore, Robert Nally, Jake Wilkes, Seth Pfaff, Caleb Camacho (no longer with team), student-manager Cheyenne Gaston, and student-manager Elaina Gaston. Back row: assistant coach Daniel Varnes, head coach Patrick Rady, Cooper Nees, Brenan Hall, Nick Winders, assistant coach Greg Thomas, and assistant coach Chad Chrisman. (Staff Photo) Members of the varsity boys’ basketball team at Cloverdale High School include, front row, left to right: student-manager Tori Foster, Jalen Moore, Robert Nally, Jake Wilkes, Seth Pfaff, Caleb Camacho (no longer with team), student-manager Cheyenne Gaston, and student-manager Elaina Gaston. Back row: assistant coach Daniel Varnes, head coach Patrick Rady, Cooper Nees, Brenan Hall, Nick Winders, assistant coach Greg Thomas, and assistant coach Chad Chrisman. (Staff Photo) With 2015 and early season tests in the rear view mirror, high school basketball teams across the state of Indiana begin their new year’s march to the season-ending IHSAA tournament with hopes of reaching the pinnacle State Finals at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. But before that March Madness plays out, 10 teams will get the opportunity to play in the Big House as part of The Really Big Basketball Show on Saturday, January 9 at Bankers Life.

“The Pacers’ goal is to be NBA champions, but also champions of all things that reflect the great game of Indiana basketball,” said Bill Benner, senior vice president of corporate, community and public relations for the Pacers organization. “And that includes the ability to allow young people the unmatched experience of playing in what we like to refer to as the world’s greatest basketball arena, Bankers Life Fieldhouse.

“While we are proud to host the IHSAA boys and girls state tournament finals every year, those include only 16 teams. Thus, The Really Big Basketball Show allows us to extend our reach to a much greater degree. We hope this underscores that Bankers Life is not just our building, but belongs to all of us who love the great Hoosier game.”

This will be Compton Strategies’ second basketball extravaganza at the fieldhouse in 10 days, following the four-game Hoosier Invitational on December 30. And like that first event in which 4A girls powerhouses Homestead and Roncalli collided, this one leads off with another interesting match between a pair of strong girls’ teams, 11-3 Greenfield-Central and seventh-ranked and 13-1 Westfield in the 12:30 p.m. opener.

The boys’ lineup includes:

•2:15 p.m. – Cloverdale (8-4) vs. Covenant Christian (5-3)

•4:00 p.m. – Eastern Hancock (2-4) vs. North Decatur (5-4)

•5:45 p.m. – Shelbyville (3-6) vs. Columbus East (3- 4)

•7:30 p.m. – Lebanon (5- 4) vs. Brebeuf (5-2)

In the first boys’ game, the Cloverdale-Covenant Christian match-up features Butler University’s first Class of 2017 recruit, 6-4 Cooper Neese. After averaging 17.1 ppg as a sophomore on last year’s 22-6 sectional winner, Neese averages 28 points this season. He’s already over 1,000 career points. Patrick Rady is in his first year at Cloverdale, taking over for his dad, Pat, who guided the Clovers for the previous 11 years. The senior Rady retired last fall after 51 seasons of coaching. His 761 victory total is only second in the state to Loogootee’s Jake Butcher (806).

Meanwhile, Scott Flatt is in his 11th season at Covenant and is hoping to recapture that magic that took his team to a pair of sectional championships over that span. Flatt’s team is paced by a pair of underclassmen, six-foot sophomore guard Jordan Webb, who averages 18.2 points, 4.2 assists and 4.2 rebounds per game, and 6-4 Kierson Watts, who averages 13.6 points and 7.2 rebounds a contest.

In the middle game of the bill, North Decatur coach Kyle Nobbe is hoping two seasons of using mostly freshmen and sophomores – who were 10-34, including a 67-point loss to rival Greensburg – continues paying dividends. The now-seasoned Chargers return seven seniors and all five starters from last year’s 14-8 team, including three-sport star Evan Wallpe, a 6-5, 245-pound post player, who paced North Decatur in scoring, 16.6 ppg, and rebounding, 9.2 rpg. Wallpe was named all-state in football and holds the school record in the discus throw.

Eastern Hancock’s Royals are led by 5-9 sophomore Addison True, whose impressive averages include 16 points, 6.8 rebounds, 2.8 assists and 2.5 steals per game.

Shelbyville’s Golden Bears return one lone starter, 6-1 guard John Lux, from last year’s 11-12 team. Lux, also the Bears’ football quarterback, averaged 6.8 points, 3.4 rebounds and 3.4 assists last winter.

Meanwhile, Columbus East coach Brent Chitty will be depending on someone very dear to his heart – his son, junior point guard Parker – to help his Bulldogs. Last year, the young Chitty averaged 13 points, six assists, four rebounds and 1.9 steals, while shooting 42 percent from beyond the arc, enough to earn him a spot on the Indiana Junior All-Stars and an invitation to participate in the Indiana Basketball Coaches Association/Indiana High School Athletic Association Top 100 Showcase in Indianapolis. He is one of four key players returning from last year’s 14-9 team that started to come together in the second half of the season.

The nightcap will feature Lebanon, a defending sectional champion looking to advance to the next step, and Brebeuf, whose coach played college basketball for a Hall of Fame coach, was instrumental in building a Division I basketball program from the ground up and helped coach an NBA first-round draft pick.

A graduate of the University of Louisville, Brebeuf coach Todd Howard played under Denny Crum and later served 16 years as an assistant to Ron Hunter at IUPUI before taking over the head coaching job in 2011. He also had a hand in recruiting and developing George Hill, a 2008 first-round draft pick of the San Antonio Spurs and current star for the Indiana Pacers.

The Braves are led by 6-8 Matt Broderick, who averages 11.9 points and 5.7 rebounds a game and 6-foot junior guard, Kobie McNeal, 10.6 points per game.

Despite ending last year with a 9-16 record, Lebanon earned a section title. The Tigers lost in the regional opener to eventual Class 3A state champion Guerin Catholic.

With no seniors on this year’s squad, Hendrix will rely on a younger group of players that have bonded and overcome the woes that come with inexperience. Trevor Lakes led the Tigers last season as a sophomore with 17.8-point scoring and 5.9 rebounding averages.

Tickets for this event are $12 for adults, $8 for youths and free for ages two and younger, available at the participating schools. Tickets also are available at the Bankers Life Fieldhouse box office the day of the event for $14.

Bankers Life Fieldhouse is located at 125 South Pennsylvania Street in Indianapolis.

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