The Rising Sun Shiners (4-18) will play number four ranked Oldenburg Academy Twisters (17-2) in the third game of the Class A Sectional 60 at South Decatur on Wednesday, March 1st.
Sectional play opens on Tuesday with defending sectional champ Southwestern (Shelby) against Waldron with the winner playing Hauser on Friday at 6 p.m.
Action continues on Wednesday with host South Decatur against Jac-Cen-Del followed by the Rising Sun/Oldenburg match up
Wednesday’s winners play in the second game on Friday with the championship at 7:30 p.m. Saturday.
The Shiners lost 41-30 at Oldenburg on December 17th. The Twisters are led by Ben Kirker 6’7″ senior, Mike Wanstradt 6’5″ senior and Owen Sporleder 6’3″ along with 5’11” senior Nick Moorman.
Shiner coach Chris Jones started the season after the loss of six seniors and seven players with the only experience coming from senior Tristan Brown and junior Brent Turner.
Jones admitted his team went through some rough patches early and before Christmas were tested at Graber Post Tournament against some really good teams.
“We played pretty good for three quarters against Lawrenceburg (in the River Town Classic),” noted Jones, whose Shiners went on to lose to South Dearborn in the consolation game. “That was our first throw away game, that we should have got.”
The Shiners got their first win at Shawe without starter Noah Pflum
The Shiners got back to back wins over conference foe Milan and sectional foe Southwestern (Shelby).
Their fourth win came at home against Jac-Cen-Del for its first home win.
They’ve won two of last four and hope to build momentum to sectional with a season finale at Trinity Lutheran Friday.
“We’re no longer a young team. Our seniors are advanced, juniors are close to being seniors, the inexperience factor is gone other than sectional environment. Getting their nerves out will be one the biggest things we’ll have to work on.
“We need to hang our hat defensively. When we really buy in and defend, good things happens.
“Offensively we need to continue to move and cut and use our quickness… We’ve been better at free throw line than last year.
“They are a confident group bounced back in practice (after a loss to South Ripley). If we just play our basketball game we can put ourselves in position to win a sectional game. We can’t control the draw.”
The 13 member sectional squad includes:
Tristan Brown, 5’8″ senior point guard, who has been “the rock” for coach Chris Jones. “He has been at top of our defense which has made us better.” He is averaging 5.6 ppg while shooting 38 percent from both two point and three point range. He has 41 assists and 32 steals
Senior Angelo Gallegos, also 5’8″ guard, is averaging 2.3 ppg, leads the team with 61 assists and has 22 steals. “He doesn’t have to score for us to be successful but he can score.. He is long and active causing deflections and is coming off recent sickness.
Six-foot senior Brandon Benning has given the Shiners really good minutes especially against Jac-Cen-Del. He can help with the right match-ups, says Jones. “He always works hard and is a bench leader, trying to keep morale positive.”
Junior Brent Turner leads the team in rebounding with 7.3 rebounds (161) at 6’2″. He averages over 10 points per game while shooting 48 percent from the field and 68 percent at the line. He is the most consistent player.
Classmate Jason McClellan brings plenty of energy and is relentless. The slim 6’2″ forward averages 3.9 rebounds and 4.5 points. “Whether it shows in the boxscore or not he gives us energy on both ends of the court.”
Junior Trenton Gridley is the tallest Shiner at 6’5″ and has seen action in 20 games. “He has been patient, biding his time to see success. I think the fruit of his labors are showing at the right time.” He averages 2.7 points and 2 rebounds
Jones credited coach Scott Chipman for his work with big guys.
Sophomore Noah Pflum, 5’9″ guard, is the team’s best outside shooter at 43 percent while averaging 9.7 points, two rebounds and a team best 88 percent at the line. He has 35 3-pointers at a 37 percent clip.
He has been more aggressive offensive, better defensively and more vocal.
Another sophomore starter has been 6’1″ guard Nick Koons. He is second in free throws with 81 percent, shoots 41 percent from the field and is third in rebounding with 79.
While having the best midrange jumper, Jones says “he can be hindrance defensively. He is very instinctive. Nick had a double double this season and has that capability,”
Jacob Bovard, 5’7″ sophomore, has seen action in 17 games in late game situations. “He is calm under control and he was in at end of games to shoot free throws, including the one to solidify the win against Milan.”
Jones said Bovard had a statement game against Oldenburg He saw action knowing he would be needed in the Graber Post tourney as senior Angelo Gallegos was with family for the holidays.
Moving up from reserves for the sectional are freshmen Steve Jimenez (5’7″ guard), Marc McClellan and T.J. Manifold (both 6’1″ front liners).