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December 3, 2013

HARDWOOD AFTERMATH: Local teams giving hope to fanbases

McBirth, Rauck named Players of the Week

> SOUTHERN INDIANA — The boys’ basketball season in young, but there are already signs of hope for several local teams.

New Albany, Silver Creek, Clarksville, Rock Creek and Borden all earned impressive wins — albeit in different ways — over the past seven days.

Here’s a look back at last week’s hardwood action:

BOYS’ BASKETBALL

• The pessimist can look at New Albany’s 64-60 win over Bloomington South and point to the fact that the Bulldogs beat South a year ago, only to go on to a 15-8 campaign.

There’s no comparison. Last year’s victory was on the road. This year’s win was against a far superior Panther squad that many believe is a regional contender in 2014. While Jeffersonville is still the Hoosier Hills Conference and sectional frontrunner, there’s no longer any doubt the Devils’ rival should be mentioned in the conversation. The Bulldogs are probably the only other team in that category, in fact.

• Rock Creek went to Loogootee and handed the host and ninth-ranked Lions their first Loogootee Tournament loss ever.

That’s right. Ever.

In fact, the Rock Creek Lions beat two ranked teams in the tournament. Before beating the Loogootee by double-figures, they thrashed then-No. Attica 66-41.

“Everybody wanted to know where we stand [last Tuesday’s loss to Clarksville],” Rock Creek coach Chris Brown said. “To come out and beat two ranked teams is a nice way to rebound.”

Junior Gedeon Nzombi was the MVP after an 11-10 double-double in the opener and a game-high 17 points in the championship game win.

• In the preseason, everyone tabbed Rock Creek as the favorite in the local Class A sectional, even against defending state champion Borden.

While Rock Creek may be athletically superior and will have a huge size advantage, it would be foolish to count out the Braves.

Even after losing four starters from last year’s team, the Braves haven’t appeared to skip a beat in two wins — by a 67-47 average — to open the season.

Doc Nash is an incredible coach and 2014 may turn out to be one of his better coaching jobs.

• OK, Henryville hasn’t won in over a year and Charlestown is in a rebuilding process, but Silver Creek fans have to be excited about the Dragons’ 2-0 start.

Last year’s finish with a strong group of sophomores showed potential for a program that has spent most of the past half-decade mired in mediocrity. Victories by 51 and 28 points to open the season shows that the Dragons appear to be closer to fulfilling their promise.

However, a road game at Clarksville on Friday and a home game against Floyd Central on Saturday will tell more of a story than wins over Henryville and Charlestown did.

• Similarly, going to Rock Creek and beating the Lions 68-59 after digging an early hole is a good sign for Clarksville.

Whether the Generals have sufficiently filled the hole left by Aidan McEwen still haven’t been answered. Friday’s tilt with Creek will tell more.

Read more about that matchup in Thursday’s News and Tribune sports section.

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