Pharos-Tribune

December 20, 2013

Berries open NCC play

Logan travels to Anderson; Lewis Cass visits Taylor

by Beau Wicker
Pharos-Tribune

— Logansport boys basketball coach Pat Skaggs is set to go up against his alma mater tonight when the Berries travel to Anderson for their North Central Conference opener.

Skaggs, who was a star player on the 1979 state runner-up Indians team, last coached against Anderson when he was at Anderson Highland. He also faced the Indians when he was at Benton Central.

He said it won’t quite be the same without the game being held at the Wigwam, the 9,000 seat arena that has been closed down as a cost-cutting move.

“I’ve never coached a game in that other gym,” said Skaggs, referring to the old Madison Heights gym that the Indians now use.

The gym Skaggs coached in up at Highland seats upwards of 5,000 people and is now being used as the middle school gym in Anderson.

The Berries (5-0) received the 21st most votes in Class 4A in this week’s AP poll. Thus far they’re ahead of schedule in Year 1 of the Skaggs era.

“That’s a nice compliment to the kids after a big win over Frankfort,” Skaggs said, “but really in all honesty we have a long ways to go on both ends of the floor in trying to get where we want to go. We’ve got a long ways to go.”

Carter Skaggs had 22 points and nine rebounds in the win over Frankfort last Friday. Andrew Wamsley scored a career-high 18 points. A.J. Smith had eight points and five assists. Jalen Adaway added seven blocks and nine rebounds.

According to MaxPreps.com, Carter Skaggs is third in Class 4A and 11th overall in scoring at 26.6 points per game to lead the Berries. He has made 46 percent of his 3-points attempts (19 of 41) and 89 percent of his free throws (40 of 45). He adds 9.6 rebounds and 3.8 assists per contest.

Wamsley averages 11.0 ppg and 6.2 rpg. Smith averages 10.8 ppg, Matt Jennings is at 9.8 ppg and Adaway adds 8.6 ppg, 6.8 rpg and 3.0 blocks per contest.

Smith is out this weekend with a sprained ankle.

“Obviously that’s a big loss,” Pat Skaggs said. “He sprained his ankle Tuesday at practice. It’s a pretty bad sprain. It’s not good timing. Things like that happen. Somebody else will have to step up. In the long run hopefully it can make the team better.

“It’ll be a tall task without him. He brings a great deal to the team as far as assists, points and rebounds. It’s an opportunity for somebody else to step up and fill in.”

Anderson (1-3) won its season opener at Lapel but has dropped three straight to Fort Wayne Snider, Class 3A No. 3 Guerin Catholic and No. 6 Batesville.

Kenya Wilkerson scored 18 points against both Guerin and Batesville. Kobe Clay had a season-high 14 against Batesville.

“They obviously look like a very athletic basketball team,” Pat Skaggs said. “They look like they have some solid perimeter players, led by the Wilkerson kid, their senior point guard. He’ll be a handful for us. They gave Guerin Catholic a great game and Guerin Catholic has a chance to win state in 3A. They’re really solid.

“They have some size inside but most of their scoring comes from the perimeter.”

The game at Anderson will be Logan’s first game away from the Berry Bowl this season. The Berries will be back there Saturday night when they host McCutcheon (4-0), which has the 17th most votes in Class 4A.

Tre’Shon Heard, who hit a fullcourt shot to knock out the Berries in sectional play a year ago, leads the Mavericks averaging 16.8 ppg. Trevor Lockwood, a 6-8 center who has signed to play at Huntington, adds 13.5 ppg and 9 rebounds per contest. Mark Neill averages 9.8 ppg and Darnell Butler adds 9.5 ppg.

McCutcheon recently won its second straight J&C Classic title and Lockwood was the MVP, recording 17 points, 15 rebounds and eight blocked shots in the championship game against Lafayette Central Catholic.

“They have a solid, solid team,” Pat Skaggs said. “They have a lot of experience back. They’ve got a legit 6-8 post player and excellent backcourt play with speed and quickness. They’ll be the best team we’ve played to date.”

Logan’s game against Lafayette Jeff that was postponed last Saturday has been rescheduled for Friday, Jan. 3 with a 6 p.m. JV start.

Cass (2-2, 0-1 MIC) at Taylor (1-2, 0-1 MIC)

Cass visits Taylor tonight for a matchup of teams coming off narrow losses in their Mid-Indiana Conference openers last week. The Kings fell 73-70 in overtime to Hamilton Heights. The Titans dropped a 57-51 decision to Northwestern.

Guards Austin Keisling and Blake Hadley lead Cass in scoring. Keisling is scoring 17.3 points per game and Hadley follows at 15.5 ppg. Guard Calvin Wheeler leads Taylor at 12.3 ppg.

Cass beat Taylor 64-47 last season for its third straight win in the series. Previously, the Titans had won three straight.

“They’ll come out and play hard,” Cass coach Jon Kitchel said. “We’ve watched film on them and they’re an aggressive team. We have to bounce back. We probably got a good deal when the Carroll game got canceled because the Heights game took so much out of us. But we had a good week of practice and we’re ready to play ball again.”

Cass hosts Rochester (1-2) Saturday. The Zebras are coming off their first win of the season, a 53-34 win over Winamac 10 days ago. They travel to North Miami tonight.

Pioneer (1-4) at Whiting (2-3)

The Panthers, coming off a win over North Miami Monday, are facing their road trip weekend. They travel to Whiting tonight and Argos (2-1) Saturday night.

“Whiting has had a good, tough schedule so far,” Pioneer coach Austin Cowley said. “Their last game they lost to Calumet by 1 and had the lead the whole game until the end against a big, athletic Calumet team.

“Whiting is very, very athletic. They’re not too patient on offense. They get shots up quick.”

Argos has wins over Bremen and LaVille to start the season.

“Argos does look very good,” Cowley said. “They have a lot of guys who have been playing since they were sophomores and they have gotten bigger and they have gotten better and are much more experienced.

“We’re trying to get more and more mentally tough and are trying to come together as a team.”

Caleb Kindley averages 12.6 points per game, Brad Biggs averages 12.0 ppg and 6.8 rpg, Sam Kiser averages 8 ppg and 4.4 apg and Zach Mason adds 6.4 ppg to lead the Panthers.

Freshman guard Keith Nies has returned to practice for Pioneer from a broken collarbone suffered in football. He won’t be able to play this weekend but will make his debut after that, Cowley said.

Argos (2-1) at Winamac (0-2)

The Warriors jumped out to a 23-10 lead after one quarter at Culver Tuesday but couldn’t hold on in a 60-54 loss. It was the same Culver team that had defeated Rochester by 15, while the Zebras had defeated the Warriors by 19 later in the year.

The Warriors, still looking for their first win after a late start due to football, are hosting an Argos team that has wins over Bremen and LaVille and a loss to Tippecanoe Valley.

It doesn’t get any easier for the Warriors when they host Rossville (3-2) Saturday night. The Hornets recorded wins over Sheridan, Western Boone and North White before having back-to-back losses to Tri-County and Delphi. The Hornets host Carroll tonight.

Caston (2-2) at Frontier (1-3), Sat.

The Comets open Midwest Conference play against the Falcons in the second game of a girls-boys doubleheader. Tipoff is set for 5 p.m. Saturday.

The Falcons haven’t played since Dec. 7, which was a 19-point loss to Carroll. They travel to West Central tonight.

“It’ll be a battle,” Caston coach J.R. Howell said. “Frontier has a couple good kids. Brandon Gallinger at guard is very quick and a capable player. He’s a good player that could cause some problems. Jordan Zarse is 6-5, 6-6 and could cause some problems for us as well. They have good role players as well. They’re a good matchup for us. It’ll be a tough game on the road.”

The Comets lost to Carroll by 16 last Friday. Their game against Taylor has been rescheduled for Feb. 18.

“We’ve had five days of practice where we’ve been able to fine tune some things and get better,” Howell said. “We’re getting more and more confident with our offense.”

Quentin Douglass averaged 16 ppg and 6.5 rpg to lead the Comets.