By Tony Hooker
Clawed by Eagles
Coach Dan Sappenfield knows that his team is going to be at a decided disadvantage on the glass in just about every contest without his most proven post player, Daelin Price, who is out with an injury sustained during football. Then, throw in the fact that Peyton Smith, an emerging 6’4” sophomore was in street clothes due to an injury suffered in practice and it all adds up to a “tall order” for them to be competitive. For Sappenfield, in his first year at the helm of the Boys’ basketball team after many years of coaching the girls cagers, his worst fears were confirmed in the Blue Devils first round loss to Rantoul JV. The Eagles, who boast several players in the 6’2”-6’4” range, had 22 offensive rebounds in a 58-50 win over the Blue Devils. For Sappenfield, however, the stat that stuck out the most to him was turnovers, as VG turned it over 26 times. “We’re young,” Sappenfield said. “We don’t value the ball enough.” The Blue Devils were glacially cold from deep, hitting just three of 19 attempts from beyond the arc. Ashton Harrison hit two bombs to lead VG in scoring with ten points, a number that Layne Rund equaled. “We had good looks; we had open shots, but we just didn’t make enough,” Sappenfield stated.
“The problem is that when we don’t make a few shots, it affects our defense.” In addition to his ten points, Rund had a game-high six steals. Robert Fancher chipped in five points, five rebounds, three steals and a come from behind blocked shot that quelled an RTHS layup attempt and sent the VG faithful into a frenzy. Outsized post presence Brady Clodfelder, battling foul trouble the entire contest, worked his way to six points and four rebounds in just 15 minutes of play.
Unsaddled by Knights
The Blue Devils were outscored 26-4 in the fourth quarter of a 61-48 loss to the Indiana Math and Science Academy. Seven players scored for VGHS in a balanced offensive effort, but Blue Devil turnovers led to 36 Knights points, which spelled the difference in the game. Robert Fancher was the lone VG scorer in double figures, hitting three of five three-pointers and adding three free throws on four attempts for 12 points. Ashton Harrison added eight points, Parker Stevens chipped in seven and Brady Clodfelder and Luke Zimmerman had six points each for the Blue Devils. Zimmerman powered his way to 12 rebounds, including three off the offensive glass, and Fancher pulled down seven caroms as the Blue Devils enjoyed a 30-28 advantage on the boards.
Bedeviled by BHRA
Villa Grove was outscored 58-22 in the paint as they dropped a 78-39 decision to the host BHRA Blue Devils. Layne Rund had seven points to lead the way, while Robert Fancher and Luke Zimmerman had six points a piece. Villa Grove, who could only manage 15 rebounds in the contest, were led by Zimmerman’s five caroms.
Bitten by Bearcats
30 Blue Devil turnovers led to 29 Milford points as VGHS fell to Milford 72-31 on December 28. The Bearcats enjoyed a 48-10 advantage on points in the paint, as well. Layne Rund had nine points, Liam Barr added seven, and Parker Stevens chipped in six for the Blue Devils. Rund also had six rebounds to lead the team, while Alex Jensen came off the bench to snag 4 caroms. Stevens also pilfered a pair of steals to lead the defensive cause.
Defeat BHRA JV in 11th place game
Ashton Harrison hit five of nine three-pointers on his way to a 19-point evening, and backcourt running mate Layne Rund hit five three-pointers of his own on his way to an 18-point game, as the Blue Devils defeated the BHRA JV squad 48-45. VGHS outscored the other Blue Devils 19-9 in the fourth stanza to pull out the win. Brady Clodfelder pulled down a game-high 11 rebounds, and Harrison collected nine boards of his own to lead the way on the glass. Clodfelder and Parker Stevens each dished out three assists to ignite the VG offense.
The VGHS team went winless in the BSN tournament, but for Coach Jeff Carleton, the results of the games took a back seat to the effort his cagers put forth in overcoming unbelievable circumstances. “Because of COVID-19, we started the tournament with very little practice. We began with nine available players and lost two players to injury (broken thumb and sprained ankle) in our first game. The team wanted to fight on, and so we did. Monday night, one of our players’ fathers passed away and this hit everyone hard. Even knowing we were outmatched, we continued to fight hard. What these girls have done through so much adversity was and continues to be amazing.” Emma Buesing twice hit double figures for the Blue Devils in the tournament, and Vanessa Wright came off the injured list to hit for ten points in VG’s 52-28 loss to Oakwood in the tourney finale.