January 31, 2014

Cass travels to Maconaquah; Caston hosts Pioneer

Cass travels to Maconaquah; Caston hosts Pioneer

By Beau Wicker Pharos-Tribune

---- — Lewis Cass’ boys basketball team doesn’t have much time to revel in its big win over Logansport.

The Kings (7-2, 1-1 Mid-Indiana Conference) are back in action tonight when they travel to Maconaquah (3-5, 0-2) for a league game.

The Braves have an experienced and proud group.

“They sure do,” Cass coach Jon Kitchel said. “The Harts kid has played a lot of basketball and he’ll be a handful for us. The Hagan kid is quick. The Walton kid is one of the most athletic kids we’ve seen. They have a nice team. If we continue to celebrate the win last night, they’ll put one on us.”

A win over Logansport is always big for the Kings. It was their first win over the Berries since 2008, the last year of the Basil Mawbey era. Mawbey went 4-4 against the Berries in his eight-year run, which included a win during the state championship season of 2003.

Those were certainly golden years for the Kings, as were the days when the Kitchel boys ruled the court. Kitchel, who graduated in 1978, said he never played Logansport.

“I don’t remember my sophomore year. My junior year at the sectional Peru beat us. My senior year, Peru beat Logan and we beat Peru,” he said.

The ‘70s were certainly a heyday for hoops in the area.

“There was a lot of good basketball played back then. You had several guys go on to play Division I. Lozier and Williams, Peru had Macy and Garrett,” Kitchel said.

Things are again looking bright in the area, including in Kings country.

“You’ve gotta get the winning tradition back, get the fans excited. It’s a process and we’re headed in the right direction,” Kitchel said.

Cass, ranked 14th in this week’s Class 2A poll, probably raised some eyebrows across the state with its 18-point win over Logan, which has received votes in the Class 4A poll several weeks this season. The Kings have won five games in a row and haven’t suffered a loss since Dec. 13 against Hamilton Heights.

Maconaquah has lost three straight, twice to Peru, and hasn’t tasted victory since Dec. 27 against Whitko.

The Kings host Clinton Central (2-8) Saturday night.

Pioneer (1-9, 0-2 MWC) at Caston (7-6, 2-1 MWC)

The game always has big implications in the Midwest Conference and is a rematch from Caston’s 44-38 win in county tournament play back on Dec. 4.

The Comets have won five of seven but are coming off a loss at Rochester 10 days ago.

“We’re anxious to play,” Comets coach J.R. Howell said. “We’ve only practiced two days this week. They’re probably our biggest rival and we need to be ready to play. I’d like for us to come out and compete more than we did our last showing against Rochester. They will come with a lot of energy and be ready to compete.”

Quentin Douglass leads the Comets with 18 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists and 4 steals per game this season. Brayton Jellison is averaging 7 points and 7 rebounds per contest. Dustin Offenberger is at 7 ppg and Eli Douglass is shooting 45 percent from 3.

The Panthers are seeking their first win since North Miami on Dec. 16. The first Caston game went down to the wire.

“It’s a chance for us to get some revenge from the first game,” Pioneer coach Austin Cowley said. “It’s a chance to see how tough and how much better we’ve gotten. They’ve gotten better and have won a lot of games and they’re not going to give anything to us, we’re going to have to go there and take it. Caston is always a tough place to go play. Scouting them, they’re very good and we’ll have to play our best game of the year to beat them.”

The Panthers are led in scoring by Caleb Kindley (9.6 ppg), Sam Kiser (8.8) and Brad Biggs (7.6).

The Panthers host Rossville (7-3) Saturday night, while the Comets host Lafayette Faith Christian (2-7) Saturday night.