Patriots, Braves stage Hulman Center doubleheader

Jan. 11—The Crown and The Shoe will be making their way from Terre Haute North to Hulman Center again Friday night as the biggest gym in Vigo County hosts the annual high school basketball doubleheader between the Patriots and Terre Haute South.

That's about all the traveling the two traveling trophies have made in awhile.

The Patriot girls, who will tip off against the Braves at 6 p.m., haven't given up The Crown since getting it back in January 2021. South's last win in the series came Dec. 13, 2019.

North's boys have a long tenure with The Shoe, but their winning streak against the Braves is a little shorter. South's last win to acquire the trophy was Jan. 31, 2018, but the Braves beat the Patriots 13 months ago in the First Financial Wabash Valley Classic (surprisingly enough, given the Patriots' history in that tournament) before losing the regular-season game two weeks later.

It's been exactly two weeks since the two boys teams have played last, North winning the Classic championship 49-35 on Dec. 29, and two of the principal players in that contest agreed this week that the earlier game won't affect Friday night's outcome.

"Both teams have made a lot of adjustments [since then]," said North's Kavish Reddy, named the Classic's Most Outstanding Player two weeks ago. "It will be a completely different game."

"We've put that in the past," said South's Zay Baker, who would almost certainly have been the Classic MOP if the Braves had won that night. "It was a struggle ... but we've grown from that game."

North enters the game with a 10-3 record while South is 7-4, and both coaches appreciate what the two senior guards — who were travel basketball teammates a few years ago — have contributed to those marks.

Reddy, North coach Todd Woelfle said, "has battled through a lot of adversity. He had ankle injuries in the summer going into his junior year [after an outstanding sophomore season on North's junior varsity team] and again going into his senior year, but he worked hard to rehab from those injuries.

"He's always been a vocal leader," Woelfle added, "and he's an excellent student who really cares about his teammates and Terre Haute North."

"[Baker] has been a regular for three years and is a critical piece for us," South coach Maynard Lewis pointed out. "I'm extremely proud of him for leading his team back to the standards, the winning seasons we expect at Terre Haute South."

Although Baker had a brilliant fourth quarter in a losing effort last Saturday at Indianapolis Lutheran, his coach hopes that won't be necessary in Friday's game.

"He's valuable for his leadership on the floor," the coach said. "Getting a lot of guys involved is when the team is at its best, and that's when he's at his best."

Both players expect a good outcome Friday.

"I'm excited," Reddy said. "There are a lot of different ways this game will be played [in contrast to the Classic game]. I think it will be a good rematch.

"Taking care of the basketball and playing with pace [will be important for us]. When we play our game, we can beat just about anybody."

"We're ready and we're prepared," said Baker. "This is my last year, and I'm really looking forward to winning The Shoe.

"If we can hit our shots and limit second-chance points [by the Patriots], we'll be all right."

The girls game will have a different vibe, considering that South is 2-18 for the season and North is 6-15 — although the Patriots have won three of their last four and four of their last six. But its winner will be just as happy as the winner of the boys game will be.

"We're excited for sure," said North coach Nathan Dillion, who will be unavailable for the second straight game on Friday. "This is always a fun, big-game atmosphere and it means a lot to the girls and our school community.

"[The North girls] are proud to have held The Crown and excited at the opportunity to defend it."

"We're playing our crosstown rivals on Friday night in Hulman Center. Who wouldn't be excited for that opportunity," said Jason Setliff, who took the coaching reins for South after the midseason resignation of former coach Cole Berry. "Our girls are working hard daily and continuing to improve, but I'm sure there's some extra motivation there.

"We're well aware of North and what [the Patriots] bring to the table," Setliff continued. "But our girls know [the Patriots] beyond basketball, and that is what makes this game so special."

Elsewhere around the Wabash Valley:

Other Friday boys

Sullivan at West Vigo, approximately 7:30 p.m.

South Putnam at Northview, approximately 7:30 p.m.

South Vermillion at Fountain Central, 7:30 p.m.

Clay City at Eastern Greene, 7:30 p.m.

Linton at Bloomfield, 7:30 p.m.

Covington at Parke Heritage, 7:30 p.m.

Riverton Parke at Attica, approximately 7:30 p.m.

Shakamak at North Daviess, 7:30 p.m.

Marshall at Casey, 8:30 p.m., 7:30 p.m. CST

North Central at Paris, 8:30 p.m., 7:30 p.m. CST

Other Friday girls

Sullivan at West Vigo, 6 p.m.

South Putnam at Northview, 6 p.m.

Riverton Parke at Attica, 6 p.m.

Saturday boys

Martinsville at Chrisman, 7 p.m., 6 p.m. CST

Plainfield at Northview, 7:30 p.m.

Sullivan at Vincennes Lincoln, 7:30 p.m.

Vincennes Rivet at North Central, 7:30 p.m.

Clay City at Owen Valley, 7:30 p.m.

Cloverdale at Parke Heritage, 7:30 p.m.

Southmont at Riverton Parke, 7:30 p.m.

Saturday girls

Clay City at South Vermillion, 12:30 p.m.

Linton at Evansville Memorial, 2:30 p.m., 1:30 p.m. CST

Dugger Union at Crothersville, 3 p.m.

Paris vs. Casey at Lawrenceville, Little Illini Conference Tournament, 4:30 p.m., 3:30 p.m. CST

Robinson vs. Marshall at Lawrenceville, Little Illini Conference Tournament, 6 p.m., 5 p.m. CST

Lighthouse Christian at Shakamak, 6 p.m.