TERRE HAUTE —
Heading into the 2011-12 boys high school basketball season, expectations were high for the Linton Miners.
But to the disappointment of their supporters, they compiled a modest 12-10 record and lost their first game in the Class 2A sectional.
Many of the same players returned for this season, including senior standouts Dess Fougerousse and Austin Karazsia. Both plan to play college basketball next season, although neither is sure where yet.
So far, disappointments have been minimal for the Miners as they went 18-3 in the regular season. Coach Joey Hart’s crew captured the SouthWestern Indiana Athletic Conference championship outright for the first time ever, won the Greene County Invitational title and retained possession of the Greene County Keg.
“Every season is different,” Hart told the Tribune-Star. “I’ve loved coaching these guys. It’s been a lot of fun. Our kids have handled the pressure great. It’s been a blast.”
Hart mentioned that the 6-foot-5 Fougerousse and the 6-8 Karazsia are each averaging 20.5 points per game, while Fougerousse is grabbing 8.8 rebounds and Karazsia 8.6 boards per outing.
On top of that, Fougerousse became the school’s all-time leading scorer with 1,322 points and counting as well as its all-time leading rebounder with 752.
Fougerousse also became Linton’s all-time leading assist man with 288, while Karazsia climbed into third place in scoring with 1,182 points so far and second in rebounds with 713.
“It all came together this year,” Karazsia admitted. “If you look at our point totals, they’re nearly identical.”
Ask members of the Miners what changed so much between seasons and you’re likely to get several different answers.
“Maturity, first and foremost,” Hart assessed. “Dess and Austin improved, not just offensively but defensively. They’ve been our leaders all year.
“They both gave a tremendous amount of effort. They really worked to make their senior year a special season. I feel like this year we have a lot more togetherness and a lot more trust in each other. These guys have played extremely well together.”
“This year compared to last year, we really had a commitment over the summer,” Karazsia said. “We just came together as a team. We knew what we had to do this year. There was no reason for us not to do well. We knew expectations were high and we just needed to perform.”
“Last year’s team had a little bit of lack of focus, mainly on my part,” Fougerousse added. “But this year, we’ve got seven guys who are all on the same page working toward one goal.”
Yes, the Miners won’t consider this campaign a success unless they fare better in the state tournament, which begins for them at 6 p.m. Wednesday when they face South Knox — which they defeated 58-49 in a regular-season clash Jan. 26 — in the Class 2A North Knox Sectional.
In addition to Fougerousse and Karazsia, Linton’s starters are seniors Jackson Bohnert and Keith Fulk and junior Bryant Jackson.
“Bryant Jackson has been hot for us lately,” Hart pointed out. “He’s been shooting the ball well. All three of those guys are exceptional defenders … and Keith Fulk had 14 assists a week ago Friday against North Central.”
“A lot of our role players have stepped up big,” Fougerousse noted. “Keith Fulk, who didn’t see much [playing] time last year, has been huge this year. He’s excellent at not turning the ball over and getting the ball in the right hands at the right time. Bryant Jackson is our best defender and he also does a lot of little things well.”
Key contributors off the bench include 5-9 junior guard Ryan Woodward and 5-9 freshman guard Joe Dieball.
There are seven seniors total, although one of them — former starting point guard Sam Dyar — tore his anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in the first minute against Sullivan in the Pizza Hut Wabash Valley Classic at Terre Haute South back in December. He’s out for the season.
“For us to lose him and have the team success that we’ve enjoyed,” Hart said, “it’s been a testament to these guys’ togetherness and versatility.”
“Those are some great kids,” he continued about the seniors. “They’re exceptional kids. They’re what’s right with the program. … They’ve definitely done their job in building the foundation for the program.”
Looking ahead, Hart hopes these seniors get to add several more games to their high school careers, but he knows that won’t be easy in the North Knox Sectional.
“It’s very balanced,” the Miners’ coach explained. “People on paper are looking at us and Sullivan [as favorites]. … It should be a very competitive sectional.”
Meanwhile, Karazsia and Fougerousse sound like they’ve bought into the “one game at a time” approach that most coaches preach before the state tournament.
“We want to win seven games [which would be enough to win the state championship],” Karazsia mentioned. “If we win one game at a time, everything will take care of itself.”
“We plan on beating South Knox on Wednesday, beating Eastern Greene on Friday and Sullivan on Saturday,” Fougerousse emphasized. “That’s our only goals for now. If you go in not focused, any team can beat you.”
TERRE HAUTE —
Heading into the 2011-12 boys high school basketball season, expectations were high for the Linton Miners.
- High School
Seibert returns from injury to win three events as Braves win sectional crown
His baseball equivalent might be Rick Sutcliffe of the 1984 Chicago Cubs.
When Tyler Seibert returned to the Terre Haute South track and field lineup Thursday for sectional action at Terre Haute North, it was like the midseason trade the Cubs made for Sutcliffe that earned them a playoff spot.
South switches up lineup to defeat North in tennis sectional
Terre Haute South coach Bill Blankenbaker said two weeks ago that he would change the Braves’ lineup after the 3-2 dual-meet loss to Terre Haute North.
The Patriots knew it was coming, but they couldn’t do anything to stop it.
PREP ROUNDUP: North slips past Northview in eight-inning baseball game
Colton Pittman drew a bases-loaded walk to score Zach Milam with the winning run in the bottom of the eighth inning as host Terre Haute North edged Northview 8-7 in high school baseball Thursday at Jennings Field.
PREP ROUNDUP: North and South to face off for tennis sectional title
The winner of the Terre Haute sectional for girls high school tennis will come down to Terre Haute North and Terre Haute South.
Terre Haute North gets 10 event victories to claim 12th straight sectional crown
Terre Haute North won 10 events Tuesday night while winning the Indiana High School Athletic Association girls track and field section at South Putnam High School for the 12th straight year.
North, South to meet in first round of baseball sectional
The Indiana High School Athletic Association announced pairings for the baseball state tournament Tuesday and the draw offered up a Vigo County battle in the opening game.
PREP ROUNDUP: West Vigo softball clinches share of WIC title
West Vigo clinched at least a share of the Western Indiana Conference softball title with a 6-4 victory over Edgewood on Tuesday.
Jacy McClain and Bailee Waters had RBI singles in the fourth inning to break the game open for the Vikings.
Track sectional titles on the line
Expect one heck of a high school dual track meet Thursday night when Wabash Valley boys visit Terre Haute North for sectional action.
Prep report: Patriots, Braves favored to advance from tennis sectional 1st round
Persons attending this week’s girls tennis sectional championship match at Terre Haute North might want to pack a lunch.
Local ADs happy to see spring come to a close
Brian Mancuso is the most experienced of the high school athletic directors in Vigo County — and that’s a very relative term — but even he wasn’t quite ready for the headaches that have accompanied spring sports the last few weeks thanks to rain, rain and more rain.
South baseball remains in first-place tie with Center Grove
Heading into Saturday’s Metropolitan Interscholastic Conference baseball doubleheader against Center Grove, coach Kyle Kraemer of Terre Haute South wasn’t completely optimistic.
Kehrt Award goes to Emily Bell, Lee Davis
Emily Bell of Terre Haute South and Lee Davis of Terre Haute North are the 2013 recipients of the Willard M. Kehrt Mental Attitude Award.
Bell and Davis were nominated by their schools and chosen in a vote by the Kehrt Award panel. Both will be recognized at awards assemblies later in the month at the schools.
Bell played varsity basketball four years at South and is competing in track this season, running the 800 and two relays. “I wanted something to do my senior year,” Bell said.
She plans to attend DePauw University and play basketball. DePauw is the reigning NCAA Division III champ in women's basketball.
Bell tore an AÇL playing in a basketball tournament the summer after her sophomore season. She missed most of her junior season but came back to play her senior year and was second leading scorer and leading rebounder her final season.
Bell also was leading rebounder her sophomore year.
South softball's power display earns Braves share of MIC
The fun that the Terre Haute South high school softball team had Saturday — including those five home runs — was all the result of the hard work the Braves had put in before the game, coach Dwayne Stout said after the game.
Pirtle takes medalist, leads Sullivan to WIC title
Sullivan took team and individual honors in the Western Indiana Conference boys high school golf championships played Saturday at Idle Creek.
Prep roundup: Patriots drop doubleheader to Carmel baseball
Host Terre Haute North saw its Metropolitan Interscholastic Conference baseball championship hopes suffer what was probably a fatal blow on Saturday as the Patriots lost a doubleheader to Carmel by scores of 8-7 and 11-8.
Timely hits: After slow start, Terre Haute North rallies to beat Mooresville
No-hit through three innings, Terre Haute North’s bats came alive — especially Sam Wolf’s — just in time to rally for a 4-2 home victory over Mooresville in high school baseball Friday evening at Jennings Field.
Linton’s Weber to coach at BNL
Bedford North Lawrence High School has announced that Steve Weber will be the Stars’ head coach for the 2013 season.
Freshman group adds to Big Four teams' baseball tradition
The Terre Haute North-Terre Haute South high school baseball series wasn’t an inning old last week before T.J. Collett of the Patriots lashed a run-scoring single.
That hit helped the Patriots take a 2-0 lead, but in the top of the second inning a three-run double by Justin Jenkins sparked the visiting Braves to a four-run inning.
North tied the score in the bottom of the second inning, Collett driving in another run. And just before rain caused the game to be suspended, South called Logan Ames in from its bullpen for some solid pitching.
Not bad for a trio of freshmen. And the weekend hadn’t even started yet.
Pairings drawn for high school softball sectionals
The IHSAA announced Thursday its pairings for the 2013 sectional softball tournament slated for May 20-25.
Regionals will take place May 28.
North boys make it three consecutive Vigo County golf titles
Terre Haute North made it three in a row in Vigo County boys high school golf championship action Wednesday at Hulman Links.
The Patriots shot 161 to edge Terre Haute South with 165. West Vigo carded 222.
PREP ROUNDUP: Wolf homers as North baseball wins 16th game
Terre Haute North erupted for seven runs in the third inning on its way to routing visiting White River Valley 14-1 in 41⁄2 innings of high school baseball Wednesday afternoon at Don Jennings Field.
Northview's Carter strikes out 19 in 10-inning win against South Vermillion
Northview’s Taylor Carter and South Vermillion’s Daphne Dunegan locked into a 10-inning all-star softball pitching duel Tuesday night at Northview High School.
Unfortunately, one of them had to lose.
PREP BASEBALL ROUNDUP: South Vermillion 4-0 in WIC after 4-3 win at Northview
Jordan Branz won his ninth game of the season, scattering six hits over eight innings to lead South Vermillion to a 4-3 victory at Northview in a Western Indiana Conference battle.
Thompson going into Indiana High School Football Hall of Fame
Former Terre Haute North High School standout Anthony Thompson is the newest member of the Indiana High School Football Hall of Fame.
PREP ROUNDUP: South tennis wins against Oldenburg Academy
Playing on Ben Davis’ courts, Terre Haute South pulled out a 4-1 victory over Oldenburg Academy in girls high school tennis Tuesday.
Multiple records fall in Big Four track meet
Terre Haute North dominated the girls competition, as expected, and Terre Haute South’s boys edged the host Patriots in what turned out to be a rain-soaked Big Four Classic high school track and field meet Saturday at North.
Despite the less-than-ideal weather, North’s girls set four meet records in compiling 132.5 points, outdistancing the runner-up Braves, who had 63.5.
Four teams still in running for Big Four baseball crown
The 2013 Big Four baseball tournament was going to last longer than Saturday anyway, thanks to a schedule change this season.
Thanks to steady rain at Terre Haute North, it will last even longer than planned.
Terre Haute South beat West Vigo 2-0 in Saturday morning’s first game, and the second contest between Northview and the host Patriots was halted in the top of the third inning as the field became unplayable.
South takes Big Four softball title as field gets sloppy
Terre Haute South captured the water-logged Big Four high school softball championship Saturday with a 1-1-1 record. That’s right, there is a tie.
With the Terre Haute North JV field getting slicker and dangerous by the inning, the final game of the tournament was called after seven complete innings with South and Northview tied 8-8.
PREP ROUNDUP: North, South finish in middle of MIC pack at tennis championships
Terre Haute South finished fourth and Terre Haute North fifth Saturday at Ben Davis in the Metropolitan Interscholastic Conference girls high school tennis tournament.
Hicks shuts down South to salvage split for North
The longer the high school baseball games went Friday night at Terre Haute South, the clearer one fact became.
Austin Hicks was not coming off the mound for Terre Haute North.
- More High School Headlines
- Seibert returns from injury to win three events as Braves win sectional crown