By GREG MENGELT
> SOUTHERN INDIANA —
When Charlestown and New Washington were scheduled to play in late November, there were a lot of questions about the Pirates and Mustangs.
Little was expected of either.
Charlestown had nice players returning in Chris Braun and Aaron Daniel, but had little experience otherwise. Braun and Daniel have been outstanding this season. I’m not sure anyone outside of coach Sean Smith and the Braun and Daniel families expected either to be as good as they have become as seniors.
Both are making serious cases to be News and Tribune All-Area first-teamers.
Then there’s New Wash. The Mustangs won only one game a year ago. They were beaten by at least 19 points on 14 occasions.
Last year’s 1-21 campaign came on the heels of 4-18 and 7-15 campaigns.
Sure, New Wash had quite a few players returning, but they were the same players that looked outmatched most of last season.
So who would have predicted that both teams would enter their delayed matchup (because of Charlestown’s football success) at .500 or above?
No one, that’s who.
Yet, the Pirates are 9-7 and the Mustangs 9-9 and are entering Tuesday’s contest with a three-game winning streak that includes an impressive 61-51 win at Lanesville.
Who are these Mustangs?
Smith and New Wash coach Jonathan May have done outstanding jobs in 2012-13. There’s no doubt of that. Same goes for the Charlestown and New Washington players.
There was obviously a lot of time put in over the summer with both teams. The effort is obvious now. The fact that New Wash-Charlestown is the Game of the Week proves that.
GAME OF THE WEEK
New Washington (9-9) at Charlestown (9-7), 7:30 p.m., Tuesday.
• Series last 15 years: Charlestown 23-6.
• Last year: Charlestown 66, at New Washington 46
• Analysis: As well as New Wash has played, I don’t expect this to be close. And even if it is, outside of Jeffersonville’s Darryl Baker, no two players have been more clutch than Charlestown’s Chris Braun and Aaron Daniel this season. They are two players any coach would love to have at “winning time.”
• Greg’s Pick: Charlestown 70, New Washington 50.
North Harrison (12-5, 6-2 MSC) at Clarksville (13-4, 7-1 MSC), 7:30 p.m.
• Rankings: Clarksville — Class 2A No. 6 AP.
• Series last 15 years: North Harrison 8-7.
• Last year: Clarksville 69, at North Harrison 65 (OT).
• Analysis: Clarksville needs to win this game and hope for an Eastern upset of Brownstown on Friday to get a share of the Mid-Southern Conference title. The former is likely. Unfortunately for the Generals, the latter isn’t.
• Greg’s Pick: Clarksville 67, North Harrison 58.
Corydon Central (13-4) at Jeffersonville (15-3), 7:30 p.m.
• Rankings: Jeffersonville — Class 4A No. 14 AP; No. 17 IBCA.
• Series last 15 years: Jeffersonville 14-1. Jeff has won 36 of last 37 meetings.
• Series all-time: Jeffersonville 71-8. Series dates to 1918.
• Last year: Jeffersonville 85, at Corydon Central 51.
• Analysis: If the Panthers’ Bronson Kessinger has his way with the smaller Red Devils, Corydon could keep it close. That’s not likely to happen against a Chad Gilbert-coached team.
• Greg’s Pick: Jeffersonville 73, Corydon Central 56.
Rock Creek Academy (7-12) at Providence (14-3), 7:30 p.m.
• Rankings: Providence — Class 2A No. 4 AP.
• Series last 15 years: Providence 7-0.
• Last year: Providence 42, at Rock Creek 28.
• Analysis: Rock Creek is athletic but not highly skilled or experienced. That could make scoring awfully difficult for the Lions against Providence.
• Greg’s Pick: Providence 58, Rock Creek 32.
Austin (7-10, 2-6 MSC) at Silver Creek (7-10, 2-5 MSC), 7:30 p.m.
• Series last 15 years: Silver Creek 9-7.
• Last year: Silver Creek 56, at Austin 44.
• Analysis: Both teams are better than their records and have proven they can compete with and even defeat really good teams. Silver Creek’s improvement throughout the season has been very impressive. Brandon Hoffman may be doing his best job yet on the Dragon bench.
• Greg’s Pick: Silver Creek 59, Austin 51.
Indianapolis International (0-16) at Henryville (0-15), 7:30 p.m.
• Series last 15 years: No meetings.
• Last year: Did not play.
• Analysis: Good pickup for both teams. One of them will leave the gym with a win. I’m not supposed to be bias, but I’m really hoping for a Hornet victory. I think it will be so.
• Greg’s Pick: Henryville 63, International 55.
Floyd Central (4-15) at Brownstown Central (17-1), 7:30 p.m.
• Rankings: Brownstown Central — Class 3A No. 4 AP; receiving votes IBCA.
• Series last 15 years: Brownstown 2-0.
• Last year: Brownstown Central 63, at Floyd Central 62.
• Analysis: On paper, this looks like a mismatch. It isn’t. Floyd will keep it close and has a small shot at pulling an upset. If this was in the Knobs, I may have had the courage to take the Highlanders.
• Greg’s Pick: Brownstown Central 59, Floyd Central 50.
GIRLS’ PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Ashley Johnson, New Washington
Johnson led the Mustangs with 16 points in their big 56-43 sectional-opening win over Borden. She followed that up with a game-high 23 points in Saturday’s 69-39 New Washington Sectional championship game. She also finished with eight points in a half in Friday’s 73-20 win over Rock Creek. Johnson was named most valuable player of the sectional as the Mustangs won their first sectional crown since 2007.
• Madison Kaiser, Floyd Central: game-high 21 points on 7-of-14 shooting in Tuesday’s New Albany Sectional quarterfinal win over Jeffersonville; 19 points in Friday’s sectional semifinal 52-46 victory over Jennings County; 14 points in Saturday’s 54-34 sectional championship loss to Bedford North Lawrence.
• Alex Tinsley, Silver Creek: 13 points in Wednesday’s 51-38 victory over Charlestown; 15 points in Friday’s 43-42 loss to Scottsburg.
• Kriston Sarver, New Washington: game-high 15 points in Friday’s 73-20 win over Rock Creek; 17 points in Saturday’s sectional championship win over South Central.
• Katie Ernstberger, Eastern: 15 points in the Musketeers’ 44-32 Paoli Sectional semifinal win over Henryville on Friday; four points and four assists in Eastern’s 57-38 loss to Paoli in Saturday’s Paoli Sectional championship game.
• Emily Hollis, Henryville: 13 points in Tuesday’s 52-40 Paoli Sectional quarterfinal victory over Crawford County; 10 points in Friday’s loss to Eastern.
• Krista Roberts: 14 points in Friday’s win over Henryville; 10 points and eight rebounds in the Musketeers’ loss to Paoli in Saturday’s sectional final.
• Alexis McFarland, Silver Creek: 17 points in Wednesday’s 51-38 win over Charlestown; 10 points in Friday’s loss to Scottsburg.
• Caroline Ricks, New Washington: 19 points, 10 rebounds with an injured ankle in New Wash’s sectional title win over South Central.
• Gabby Evans, Clarksville: team-high 15 points in Tuesday’s 74-38 loss to Paoli.
• Haley Vogen, Jeffersonville: 15 points on 6-of-9 shooting in Tuesday’s 62-48 loss to Floyd Central.
FINAL GIRLS’ POWER POLL
Team Record Last
1. New Washington 20-2 1
2. Silver Creek 16-7 2
3. Borden 13-7 3
4. Floyd Central 12-12 8
5. Charlestown 10-11 4
6. New Albany 9-12 5
7. Eastern 10-13 —
8. Henryville 14-10 7
9. Jeffersonville 7-14 6
10. Providence 11-11 9