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Raiders, Clovers make return trips to Greenfield Regional

Shenandoah’s Evan Coers (32) protects the ball against a Union County defender as teammate Joe Huff (5) waits for a pass and the Patriots’ Joey Weller (32) watches during their boys basketball game Feb. 3 at Shenandoah. The Raiders defeated the Patriots 56-45 and the two teams could meet again in the Class 2A Regional 11 championship game Saturday night at Greenfield-Central High School if both teams win their semifinal games.

By DAVID RISLEY - drisley@thecouriertimes.com

Last season, the Shenandoah and Cloverdale High School boys basketball teams played in Class 2A Regional 11at Greenfield-Central and both lost in the semifinals. The Clovers fell to Northeastern and the Raiders lost to Heritage Christian.

Shenandoah (21-4) and Cloverdale (20-6) are making repeat visits to this year’s regional at the same venue and will face each other in Saturday’s second semifinal game after Union County (18-6) tangles with Indianapolis Scecina (17-9) in the opener at 10 a.m.

Actually, the Clovers have won four consecutive sectional titles, but haven’t reached the regional championship game after doing so. The Knights stopped them the past two years and Indianapolis Attucks the year before those two.

Cloverdale averages 65.4 ppg while giving up 58 ppg. The Clovers play in the Western indiana Conference in which they finished 4-1. Four of the teams in the WIC are Class 3A schools and two are in 2A. Cloverdale beat a good Class 3A Greencastle team twice this year by double digits.

The key to stopping the Clovers is to contain senior guard Jalen Moore, who is the state’s leading scorer by a bunch. Moore averages 37.0 ppg while IU recruit Robert Phinisee from McCutcheon comes in a distant second at 29.3 ppg.

Indiana All-Star Cooper Neese was Cloverdale’s heralded player a season ago, but Moore was the better performer for the Clovers against Northeastern in last year’s regional. But Moore isn’t just a scorer this season, as he averages 4.3 rpg, 3.3 apg, and 3.4 spg.

Jake Wilkes, a junior, also scores in double figures for Cloverdale at 10.5 ppg, and is the leading rebounder for the Clovers at 6.1 rpg. Wilkes also averages 1.3 spg. Senior Nick Winders provides 3.7 ppg, 4.7 rpg, 1.5 apg, and 1.1 spg.

Most other scoring for Cloverdale comes from junior Parker Watts (4.7 ppg), freshman Nolan Kelly (4.3 ppg), and junior Jake Kelly (4.3 ppg).

Clovers Coach Patrick Rady is 60-21 in three seasons at the school. Because of the distance between the two schools, Cloverdale and Shenandoah did not have any common opponents this season.

Shenandoah has gone about quietly putting another very good season together. The Raiders graduated C-T All-Area Player of the Year Gavin Griggs and tough rebounder Wayde Stiers, plugged the holes, and have essentially the same record going into the regional that they had a year ago.

Shenandoah averages 60.9 ppg and gives up 45.8 ppg. The Raiders shared the Mid-Eastern Conference title with Eastern Hancock (both with 8-1 records), won the Henry County Tournament for the third straight year, and defeated the champions of the Randolph, Wayne, and Delaware County Tournaments during the regular season. Shenandoah owns victories over two other 2A sectional champions, Union County and Lapel.

The Raiders win by playing tough defense and scoring by committee on offense. Two seniors lead the way for Shenandoah. Chase Kinsey averages 14.5 ppg, 3.2 rpg, 2.7 apg, and 2.6 spg, and Braydin Myers produces 10.1 ppg, 4.9 rpg, 4.5 apg, and 1.1 spg. Both are four-year lettermen.

The other players who have been starters for the Raiders in recent games are senior Joe Huff (3.1 ppg, 1.2 apg), senior Jordan Starks (5.2 ppg, 3.5 rpg, 2.4 apg, 1.5 spg), freshman Andrew Bennett (8.9 ppg, 3.1 rpg, 2.7 apg, 1.5 spg), and sophomore Peyton Starks (7.6 ppg, 3.7 rpg). Freshman Kaden McCollough comes in off the bench to produce 5.3 ppg and 1.4 apg.

Shenandoah comes into the regional on a 10-game winning streak and with wins in 15 of its past 16 games. The only loss was at Eastern Hancock 55-47 on Jan. 20, a defeat the Raiders avenged 53-40 in the sectional opener.

Shenandoah Coach Dave McCollough is 62-12 in three seasons at the school after having a long coaching stint at Noblesville.

Completely stopping Moore is almost impossible, but limiting Moore some is definitely a possibility. If the Raiders can do that, and can shoot better than they did in last year’s regional, expect Shenandoah to play for the regional championship Saturday night.

In Saturday’s first semifinal game, Union County makes its first regional appearance since 2013. Northeastern was the major obstacle the Patriots and other teams from Sectional 41 had to overcome, and did not, the past four seasons.

The Patriots, co-champions of the Tri-Eastern Conference with Hagerstown at 7-1 apiece, average 53.3 ppg and give up 46.8 ppg. Union County had an eight-game winning streak snapped by Shenandoah on Feb. 3, and two more double-digit losses followed, but the Patriots have won four straight contests coming into the regional.

Union County has not kept the individual statistics of its players up-to-date on the MaxPreps website, but have a bevy of good seniors. In the Patriots’ 56-45 loss to Shenandoah, Cameron Donovan had 14 points and seven rebounds, Mason Miller had 13 points, and Cameron Sanford had eight points.

The Patriots did not shoot well against the Raiders, but some of that could be attributed to Shenandoah’s tight defense. Jesse Moses is in his first year as coach of the Patriots.

Like many smaller private schools in central Indiana, Indianapolis Scecina loads its schedule with Indy metro teams. One impressive win for the Crusaders has been 68-60 against Beech Grove, a team that handed Class 3A No. 1 New Castle one of its two losses.

Scecina is a member of the Indiana Crossroads Conference, in which it had a record of 5-2 this season. The Crusaders average 65.8 ppg and give up 56.8 ppg. This is Scecina’s first sectional championship since 2013, although it has been runner-up three times since then.

Like a lot of Indianapolis area teams, the Crusaders do not place the individual statistics of their players on the MaxPreps website.  Coach Rob New is 94-56 in his sixth year at Scecina.

In looking at a potential winner of this matchup, strength of schedule would seem to give the Crusaders a slight edge over the Patriots, but it is a small edge.

Shenandoah never has played Scecina in basketball, but it did so in the 2013 football sectional, losing 46-14. of course that had no bearing now in the hardwood sport.

If the Raiders get by Cloverdale and Union County is their opponent Saturday night, Shenandoah has confidence from beating it the first time. However, they shouldn’t expect the Patriots’ shooting to be as chilly this time, and that first game was at Von Jameson Gymnasium on a Saturday afternoon.